Saturday, 9 October 2010

Baked Char Siu Buns, 叉燒餐包

Hot, fresh out of the oven.

I had intended to bake these buns at the beginning of the week after being inspired from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders blog on sweet bread dough.  However, I delayed until yesterday evening/this morning.

The recipe I used is an Alex Goh recipe from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.  It's unusual as 1/5 of the flour content in the dough is made with boiling water, then refrigerated for 12 hours.  This gelatinised dough allows the starch grains to swell and absorb more water resulting in a softer, moist bread.  SeaDragon talks about this in his Corner Cafe blog too.

Sweet bread dough made with first prove - ready for dividing, shaping & filling.
The recipe for the sweet bun dough is here and here is a slightly different version.  I used the former.

With char siu given to me from my mother, I set about in making a filling for my buns.  I didn't think to weigh the char siu first but I had 1 & 1/2 strips of meat.  I chopped a red onion and fried in oil until soft before adding the sliced char siu.  I continued to fry gently and when the edges of the meat began to brown I added about 75ml of water and 1 dessertspoon of Lee Kum Kee's Char Siu Sauce.  I thickened with cornflour paste and set aside to cool.  The prepared filling was 475g.

Trying to show how I 'walk' the dough with my fingers bringing it to the thumb to be pinched together.

My dough came to 950g so I divided this into 10 x 95g balls.  I flattened each ball with my fingers to a 3 inch circle (approx) and placed 45-50g filling before pinching the edges together to pleat and seal the dough.  The filled dough ball was placed seam side down on waxed paper.  As I didn't start making the sweet bun dough until quite late in the evening, I decided I would place the shaped and filled buns in the fridge overnight to prove.  

Night-night buns, time to tuck you into bed (fridge to prove).

The buns were all filled and placed in the fridge by 1am.  Sleep time for me now!

The first batch has been 'painted' with it's tan & bake (egg wash) & ready for baking!

I was unfortunate enough to have my baby son wake me several times in the night (2:30am, 4:00am, 6:00am) and after getting up for the third time, I decided it was time to bake the buns!  By this stage, they'd been left to prove for five hours and despite being put into a cold environment, the yeasted dough had done its magic and the buns had swollen up nicely.  I brushed with egg wash and baked at gas 5 for 25 minutes on the middle shelf.  The middle of my oven isn't as hot as the top and I cooked longer than suggested as I fear uncooked dough.

The buns puffed further during baking and I was rewarded with the sight of shiny, golden brown buns!

Shiny and golden ready to be eaten!

I'm not sure how they taste yet as I'm waiting for hubbs to see them first before they get demolished eaten!  For now, I think I may go back to bed!


  1. Wowee! Your breads look so tempting, you have a flaire for baking breads and cakes really! I will try to post more recipes of sweet bread dough so u can make more for ur family! :D

  2. Hmmmm...dreaming of what fillings to make. Shame portions are always so large - you only want to make a few of different flavours for variety!
    Am thinking, custard filled buns - haven't made them. Oh, and have promised hubbs to make a Matcha Green Tea with Red Bean Filling. Might have to try Alex Goh's recipe for that one as his bread was so good! :0)

  3. They look as good as, if not better, bakery bread. Was the cha siu that your mom gave you homemade? Also, I have always been curious, but the "wet" filling won't cause the bread to be soggy in the middle will it? How did the bread taste like? Can't wait to read about it. :)

  4. Mmmm....your buns look so glossy and yummy!! The char siew filling looks really yummy too! I've always wanted to make bread buns with a char siew filling but whenever we make char siew, we never end up with any leftovers- even when we purposely make more!! haha...

  5. When I look at my blog name being mentioned in your post, it was so long and made me sound like I am from outer space, hahaha. I never realise my blog name is so long until now, I should just call myself EEWIF. :P Jokes aside, You can try banana filling, just wrap a piece of banana inside the dough, and sprinkle some almond flakes. Or sausage roll, roll the dough out into long rectangular shape, and roll it around the sausage.

  6. Wow...I want to make this too: I am hungry just drooling at them :p you really surprised much better rest more :) or momsie will nag at you again :)

  7. x3 : they are home-made char siu. Well homemade at the chinese takeaway & mum sometimes takes 2 pieces home. Don't know why, but hubbs never eats it when we have it at home, but at mum's he eats it. If I make my own from seasoning in a packet - he eats it.
    Oh, & he didn't like the bun filling. Two bites & left the bun!
    You need a little bit of 'sauce' or bun is too dry to eat. Thicken sauce with cornflour and make sure sauce isn't runny - the filling will then be juicy when eating.

    Von: it's only 'cos hubbs doesn't eat the char siu from the takeaway I have some for fillings! When I make char siu at home, any extras are in hubbs ricebox for tomorrow's lunch!

    EEWIF: banana & almond sounds like a good combo. So would chocolate spread & banana. Chocolate spread & hazlenut. I could have fun here!

    Elin: I will have to take a photo of the inside of the bun so you can see the juicy, salty, sweet, savoury filling. Oh, maybe I can take one with the steam coming out of the filling! Am I making your tummy rumble yet? Kehkehkeh! :0p I will tell the mixer off for making all this lovely bread dough & making me work so hard! :0)

  8. are so funny...I came back to drool again....working at the moment but stop just to drop by to drool again.....noooooo please dont take a picture of the inside...I will salivate all over....I have to continue my work...have dateline :p

    You better tell that to yourself not the mixer ! LOL!

  9. Oh they look so tasty! I've heard of that method before but never tried it. I must give it a go. And I am so super impressed with you - your son is so little and you're still able to bake ?! Great work. Btw, thanks for all the great info you left for me :)

  10. Thankyou Shaz! Recipe credit to EEWIF, I saw it on her blog & had to give it a go. I made the sweet bun dough again on Monday morning to take buns to my mum. Haven't blogged that yet but will do. My tip is to leave the mixer to knead the dough after you've added the butter until it is a beautifully smooth, glossy, stretchy dough. I should take a photo of what I mean. It's wonderfully soft, not too sticky and makes fabulous buns! Tuna buns are what I'll be baking next!
    You can be preparing fillings whilst dough is kneading or in my case, washing & sterilising baby bottles!
    They say sleep when baby sleeps - me, I bake when baby sleeps!