Steam Bread Recipe: How to Make Chinese Steamed Buns

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If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant, you’ve probably had the pleasure of biting into a soft, fluffy piece of steam bread. These delicious buns, also known as bao, are a staple in many Asian cuisines. Today, we’re going to delve into the steam bread recipe and show you how to make these delightful Chinese steamed buns at home!

Understanding the Steam Bread Recipe

Before we start, it’s important to understand what goes into a steam bread recipe. The basic ingredients include purpose flour, active dry yeast, warm water, a pinch of salt, baking powder, and vegetable oil.

These ingredients work together to give the buns their signature fluffy texture and savory flavor. Additionally, using a bamboo steamer is essential for the best results.

A bamboo steamer filled with freshly made steamed buns.

Choosing the Right Type of Flour

The type of flour you use can drastically affect the outcome of your steam bread recipe.

While you can use white flour, cake flour is often the perfect choice for making bao buns. This flour has a lower protein content, which results in a softer and fluffier bun.

However, whole wheat or brown bread flour can also be used for a healthier, denser bun. It’s really a matter of personal preference!

Preparing the Dough

The first step in the steam bread recipe is preparing the dough. This involves combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl before adding the warm water and oil.

The dough should then be kneaded until it forms a smooth ball. You can do this by hand, but using a stand mixer with a dough hook can save you a lot of time and effort.

Once the dough is ready, it needs to be left in a warm place for a first rise.

Shaping the Steam Bread

After the first rise, the dough should be punched down and divided into equal pieces. These pieces can then be rolled out and shaped into buns.

There are different shapes you can experiment with, but the classic round shape is the most common.

Each bun should be placed on a piece of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the steamer basket.

Steaming the Buns

The next step in the steam bread recipe is steaming the buns. This can be done in a bamboo steamer, metal steamer, or even a large pot or Dutch oven with a steamer insert.

The important thing is to make sure there’s enough steam to cook the buns thoroughly.

The buns should be placed in the steamer with about two inches of space between them to allow for expansion. Once the water boils, reduce to medium heat and steam for about 15 minutes.

Cooling and Storing the Steam Bread

After the steaming process, the buns should be cooled on a wire rack.

If not consumed immediately, they can be stored in a plastic bag to maintain their moisture and softness.

The great thing about this steam bread recipe is that the buns can be frozen and reheated in a steamer when ready to consume.

You can enjoy these buns with a variety of savory fillings or just plain, depending on your preference.

Experimenting with the Steam Bread Recipe

Once you’ve mastered the basic steam bread recipe, you can start experimenting with different variations.

Try using different types of flour for a different texture or adding different fillings like pork, cream cheese, or even sweet fillings like red bean paste.

There’s no limit to the tasty variations you can create!

A variety of steamed buns with different fillings.


Now that you have a better understanding of the steam bread recipe, it’s time to try making these delicious buns at home.

Don’t be intimidated by the process – with a little bit of patience and practice, you’ll be making perfect buns in no time.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to dive into the world of homemade steamed buns!

Perfectly Fluffy Steamed Bread Recipe

Perfectly Fluffy Steamed Bread Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

This is a simple, yet delicious, recipe for homemade steamed bread. The bread is light, fluffy, and can be paired with almost anything, making it a perfect addition to any meal.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Additional flour for dusting


  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and oil.
  5. Stir the ingredients together until a rough dough begins to form.
  6. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm space for about 1.5-2 hours.
  8. After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it for another minute.
  9. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape each piece into a round ball.
  10. Place each ball on a piece of baking paper.
  11. Prepare your steamer by filling it with water and bringing it to a boil.
  12. Place the dough balls into the steamer, leaving enough space for each to expand.
  13. Allow the bread to steam for about 20 minutes.
  14. Carefully remove the bread from the steamer and let them cool on a wire rack.


The steamed bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for longer storage.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 62gNet Carbohydrates: 59gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 8g
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