Ever had a bao bun? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. If you have, and you fancy making one yourself, you’re in luck! This recipe is perfect for my Beef Stir Fry in Bao Buns – give it a try!

Bao Buns

Ready in 30 minutes. Makes 16-18 buns


  • 4 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing and brushing
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


To make Bao Buns, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of salt in 3 tbsps. warm water, leave for 5 minutes. Mix together flour, sugar and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl. In a jug measure the milk, and add the oil, vinegar, yeast mix and 200ml warm water.

Mix the liquid into flour, mixing with hands to incorporate the wet into dry to make a soft dough. Add a little extra water if needed.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and flatten the dough with your hands, sprinkle over the baking powder and knead for 5 minutes.

Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18. In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes.

Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush with a little oil over a chopstick. Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.

Transfer the prepared buns to a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Heat a large bamboo steamer over a medium-high heat. Steam the buns for 8 minutes until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches). Remove hot buns with tongs and place on baking paper to cool. Before serving. Best on the day of making.