Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beijing Baked Breads

This recipe comes from the Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo. We had these buns last summer. They were a little bit crispy on the outside but soft and chewy in the inside. Make sure to top the buns with black sesame seeds for some decoration. These buns go well alongside meat such as beef or lamb.

  • 1 package of dry yeast (1/4 ounce) 
  • 1/3 cup of sugar 
  • 1/2 cup of warm water 
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder 
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten) 
  • 7 tablespoons of lard or peanut oil 
For the tops of the buns: 
  • 1 large egg with one tablespoon of water for an egg ssh 
  • 1/4 cup of white or black sesame seeds 
  • 3 tablespoons of scallion oil 
  • Mix the yeast and sugar in warm water in order to dissolve them inside a large bowl. Set the mixture in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour. A brownish foam should appear on the surface. The cooler the outdoor temperature the longer the time. 
  • Add the flour, baking powder, egg and large to the mixture. Stir the mixture and then knead in the bowl for about five minutes. A elastic dough should form. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and set it in a warm place. The dough should rise for 2 to 4 hours and should triple in size. 
  • Cut sixteen 3 inch squares of wax paper and place the squares in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remove the dough from the bowl and sprinkle it with flour. Knead it for about 10 minutes. 
  • Roll the dough into a log (16 inches long) and then cut it into 1-inch pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place each ball on a waxed-paper square. Let the balls rise, uncovered in a warm place for about 1 hour. They should increase in size by about one third. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. 
  • Spray each ball with a little bit of warm water, then brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
  • Bake them for about 15 minutes until the breads become browner. About 7.5 minutes in, rotate the baking sheet front to bake to get an evenness in coloring. 
  • When they are finished remove them from the oven. To keep the breads soft, add some faint flavor, brush them with the scallion oil. They cool quickly and their crust will harden. 

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