Chinese Steamed Buns(Mantou Recipe)

Chinese Steamed Buns also named as mantou(馒头) is a basic staple in northern part of China and served in every places of China not just the northern part.

Chinese Steamed Buns

In the other parts of China, Mantou is mostly served as breakfast in restaurants and food carts.

Mantou is made with flour usually all-purpose flour, yeast and water. There is no filling used. However baozi—Chinese steamed pork buns are also called as Mantou in some places of China especially in Northern China.

This is a basic recipe of homemade Chinese steamed buns. But now there are many variations about mantou in China for example wholemeal mantou, milk mantou and sweet potato mantou.

In the past days, people are making mantou totally by hand. But now we have mixer to help knead the dough. I introduce the hand-making way in case you may want to have a try.

Chinese Steamed Buns

How to make the basic dough for Chinese Steamed Buns

Prepare warm water around 35 ℃ and melt the sugar in. And mix the yeast with the water. Mix well and set aside for around 5 minutes. If you do not want sugar, just skip it.

I strongly recommend measure the water and flour firstly. And ratio should be around 1:2 for water :flour.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Prepare the flour in a large bowl. Pour the water with yeast slowly to the bowl with flour and stir with a chop sticker.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Then knead the flour into smooth and soft dough. At the very beginning, it might be a little bit sticky.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for around 1 hour or until the paste ball doubles in size. This process can be done by mixer. Since it is winter on my side, I put it in a oven and using fermentation function to shorten the time.

Preheat the oven to around 35 degree C for fermentation. After the oven works 5 minutes, turn it off. And leave the bowl in. Please note that  in summer, the oven is not needed. The high temperature will kill your yeast. Just place the bowl in a warm place and wait until the dough  double in size. 

Chinese Steamed Buns

Tips about how to judge the dough is fermented well? There are two ways.

Firstly the size should be doubled. Poke a hole with finger and the dough does not collapse.

Chinese Steamed Buns


Or you can see the honeycomb texture. Chinese Steamed Buns

When the dough is double in size, get paste ball out and punch the air out.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Then on a slightly floured kitchen board, roll the dough into a long log around 1 inch in diameter or any size you want.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Scatter some flour on your board and cut the log to small sections you like. Be quick during the process.

Chinese Steamed Buns

The process is quite similar to make bread with lower requirements.

Then brush some cooking oil on the bottom of the buns and begin to steam. Add cold water to your wok or steel steamer. Place the buns and then cover the lid and rest for 10 minutes in summer and around 20 minutes in winter or until the bun becomes fluffy again.  

Use high fire firstly and then lower the fire after you see the vapor coming out from the lid. Turn off the fire and wait for around 5 minutes before serving and enjoying. I highly recommend using a Bamboo Steamer to steam Chinese steamed buns or Chinese Baozi. They are much healthier than steel steamer and can bring a bamboo armoa to the food. You can try to find some in local stores or purchasing from Amazon Joyce Chen 26-0013, 10-Inch Bamboo Steamer Set.

Chinese Steamed Buns


If you get an excellent steamer, there are other Chinese steamed recipes to try.

1. Xiao Long Bao RecipeChinese Steamed Soup Dumplings   The dough for Xiao Long Bao does not need yeast and fermentation.

2. BBQ Pork Buns

3. Chinese Sugar Buns with sesame and brown sugar as filling.

4. Vegan Baozi with spicy tofu as filling.

5. Chinese sweet potato buns — to add some excellent purple color for your buns.

6. Healthywheat buns–mix flour with wheat flour.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: I have made around 12 small steamed buns with a total net weight around 420g. Adjust the ingredient amount if necessary.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Basice Chinese Steamed Buns


  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 150g water or 20ml more if needed


  1. Prepare warm water around 35 °C and melt the sugar in. And mix the yeast with the water. Mix well and set aside for around 5 minutes. If you do not want sugar, just skip it.
  2. Prepare the flour in a large bowl. Pour the water with yeast slowly to the bowl with flour and stir with a chop sticker.
  3. Then knead the flour into smooth and soft dough. At the very beginning, it might be a little bit sticky.
  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for around 1 hour or until the paste ball doubles in size. This process can be done by mixer.
  5. When the dough is double in size, get paste ball out and punch the air out.
  6. Then roll the dough into a long log around 1 inch in diameter or any size you want.
  7. Scatter some flour on your board and cut the log to small sections you like. Brush some oil on the bottom of each bun.
  8. Add cool water in wok and put the buns in the steamer to steam. Cover the lid and rest for around 10 minutes to 20 minutes (this is called second proofing and can let the bun softer.)
  9. Use high fire to bring the water to a boiling and continue to steam for around 20 to 25 minutes after the water boils depending on the size of your buns.
  10. Remove off the fire and wait for around 5 minutes before opening the lid.
  11. Serve with what ever you like.


When lifting the cover when the buns are steamed ready, do not drop any water on the buns.

I get lots of the feedback about this recipe. It turns out perfect for some of the readers,but there are also failed reports and request about figuring out what’s wrong. So I collect some of the top topics and share my own experience.

FAQ about perfect Chinese steamed bun 

1. What about the dough smells sour

Sour taste indicates that the dough is over fermented. This usually happens in hot summer days or if you add too much instant yeast. The best proofing temperature for steamed buns is around 28 degree C. So in hot summer days, place the dough in cooler places. For Chinese steamed buns, we only need to ferment the dough until double in size.

2. About how much water/milk should be added

Different flours may differ in absorbency. So adjust the water amount accordingly based on the 2:1 ratio. Usually higher gluten flour has stronger water absorbency capacity.  If milk is used to replace water, then you should increase the amount because the water content of milk is around 87%. Count before adding the ingredients. 

3. How to make the buns smooth in surface

Firstly, the dough should be well kneaded at the very beginning. So the yeast and flour in mixed well.
Secondly, make sure the dough is appropriately fermented just double in size. Avoid over-proofing for example the dough smells sour or like wine.
Thirdly, pinch the air out after the firstly fermentation forcefully to remove the air inside.
Lastly, control your fire during the steaming process. For steel steamer, use high fire all the time because there is no enough vapor. For bamboo steamer, low the fire to medium after boiling.  Adjust the steaming time if necessary, if your buns are quite big in size, steam f for 25 minutes. After steaming, remove your steamer off the fire and wait for around 5 minutes before lifting the cover, otherwise your bun might collapse and  present a bumpy surface.


Chinese Steamed Buns


    • Elaine Luo says

      Thanks Priya for the feedback. Usually I match those soft buns with soups and congee and serve for breakfast. I guess milk and soy milk are good match too.

    • Elaine Luo says


      300 grams is a little more than 2 cups. Here is the measurement for flour.
      Bread Flour
      Cups Grams Ounces
      1/4 cup 34 g 1.2 oz
      1/3 cup 45 g 1.6 oz
      1/2 cup 68 g 2.4 oz
      1 cup 136 g 4.8 oz

  1. Serdar says

    I’m making it right now. My son won’t eat in the morning, so I try to find out what be would eat. Hope the recipe works

    • Serdar says

      Just made these. They suck. There is no taste, nothing. It’s just empty calories without any taste. I could have eaten cupcakes and be more satisfied. Change the recipe. This is no good!

      • Elaine Luo says

        Hi Serdar,

        Thanks for stopping by and trying my recipe. Mantou is just a basic staple food which needing go with other things like soy milk, minced beef, minced pork, pickled vegetables or congee. Surely comparing with refined sugar in cupcakes, the faint fragrance is just too hard to feel. But it really exists. If you do not want to eat the plain mantou anymore, just enjoy cupcakes. However next time if you want to have a try again, match them with congee or soy milk along with some pickled vegetables. Thanks again for your feedback!

  2. Marie says

    I tried these twice but no luck :( I followed your instructions but the dough won’t rise. I have to say I never had luck with dough/breads in general lol. Any tips?

    @serdar I suggest you do some research before making comments like that. You obviously don’t have very good foudndation knowledge about Chinese cuisine.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Marie,
      If you follow all the steps but still the dough cannot rise, I suggest you checking with your yeast once more. The problem might exist in your yeast. You can melt them in a small bowl with room temperature water in summer and see there they are floating after 10 minutes and whether there are small bubbles on the surface. If yes, then continue the next steps. Otherwise, try to get another package of yeast.
      Secondly in the process, be patient with the dough. Give it more time. You can also increase the amount of yeast. In summer, we do not need oven for fermentation, too high temperature will kill the yeast. Just place the covered bowl in a warm place. I hope this can help and wish you good luck next time.
      And thanks for your lovely support again. I understand that Serdar might be not familiar with Chinese food since she is comparing cupcakes with those steamed buns.
      If you get any problem during the process, do let me know.

  3. Terry says

    Your recipe is great – Plain steamed buns just as I regularly purchased.
    Suggestion: Try breaking into bite size pieces and dipping partly into Sweet Soy Sauce (Ketchup Manis) – My favorite Breakfast with Tea/Coffee.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for your comment and lovely suggestion. I will update your suggestion to the post so that more readers can have this idea too.

  4. Marie says

    I ended up mixing up the yeast directly with the flour instead (we must have different types of yeast) and added more water than indicated in the recipe. It finally worked!! Thanks a bunch!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Glad to know that it finally works for you. Can you tell me the type of yeast you are using? I will check them and see whether we can provide some further information for the follow readers.

  5. Carol says

    I think this will be one of my next recipes to try. I look forward to making it. (The photography is lovely,too!)

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Vinea,

      Back to the old days, people use self raising flour. They usually use a old sour dough instead of yeast. The old sour dough can function similar to yeast. But the process requires a much longer time and usually you need to add soda to reduce the sour taste. Using yeast really is the quickest and easiest way.

  6. says

    Thank you very much for this recipe Elaine! I’ve loved eating these buns since I was little, but always bought them in chinatown or the store. I usually eat them with honey. I made them for the first time tonight and they were so good. Very easy and fun to make too! So happy. Thank you

    • Elaine Luo says

      You are welcome and I am really glad to hear that it works fine for you. Make Mantou in summer is easier in winter because the short fermentation time. Serve with honey sounds a yummy option too.

  7. Mimi says

    When I make this it’s all sticky and gooey… Not like soft or pillowy… Did I do anything wrong? :( and it has the honey comb texture it’s just that it’s all gooey like.. What do I doooo

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Mimi,
      In most cases, if the dough become very sticky and gooey and you even cannot keeping dough it after spreading some dried flour, then the dough might be over fermented. Does it smell sour? This happens when the room temperature is higher than 30 degree C. You can add some soda water with extra flour to see weather you can control the dough.

  8. Deep Pal says

    finally a recipe I know I can trust and get satisfying results . I had tried your sichuan hot pot and it was great ( although I consumed the oil part , and was quite a bit sick , but it was worth it :D) .
    Place where I live , there is only one place which sells it and I have to spend 400 rupees ( indian currency ) for transportation to get buns worth 100 rupees only 😛 .

    Now I can make my own and won’t need the trouble to go so far to go get the buns . I prefer the ones with meat filling though with just basic chinese red chilli paste / red chilli sauce . You are doing a great job , keep it up , and thanks again for the recipe . God bless .

    • Elaine Luo says

      Pal, Thanks so much for your trust and feedback. They are so warm! As long as you can make this basic buns successfully, then you are ready to make different fillings, different shapes. Good luck and just enjoy the process.

  9. Max Soh says

    Hey, thanks for putting up the recipe, just wondering is the recipe right when it says 150g of water/milk or is it supposed to be milliliters? Wasn’t sure if 6 cups of water/milk would be too much. :)

      • vikcie says

        its easier to measure fluids in grams, just set your scales to zero and add the water to the required amount, this is particularly helpful if you are using percentages to flour.

  10. Nayoung Lee says

    Hi I was wondering how many will come out cause it says serve 4 but does that mean 4 people or 4 buns? Sorry but I’m new to this

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Lee,
      That’s a good question. Mantou should be served with other dishes or porridge I made around 12 small buns with a total net weight around 420g, make serves 4 as breakfast. I have updated the recipe so that you can adjust the amount according to your own needs.

  11. Nathalie says

    Hi Eliane,

    I was so excited to find your website! So many recipes to try. I really like the fact that this recipe was really easy to make (not always the case for me), no need to purchase anything I didn’t have in my cupboard already … and most of all: tasting exactly as I hoped! China nostalgy… :)
    Thanks! You’re putting so much work in this, I can tell! All the best to you and your family.

      • Elaine Luo says

        Thanks for your lovely feedback and the warm words. They will encourage me to the feature recipes. I will try my best to make them accurate, yummy and accuracy authentic. Thanks again for your support and trust.
        All the best to you too.

  12. Charlie says

    These look fantastic. Going to try and make them soon. I was just wondering how long to knead the dough for? I am very new to making dough.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Charlie,
      Usually it takes around 10 ~20 minutes depending on your knead skill. But you are quite new, you can resort to mixer.

    • says

      This is an awesome reicpe. It is different than most bread machine reicpes because you put the yeast in and let it activate. Normally it is the last thing put into a bread machine. I also like to make croutons with it!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Susan,
      I would not suggest to do that because the first kneading part can mix the yeast well with the flour. So personally I think it is a must. Knead the dough is not that difficult as you think. Just grasp with hand together firstly and then knead like you are washing clothes until it is smooth. Just try this, I believe you can do it.

  13. Charling Cheung says

    I would like to make the steamed pork buns in my coursework so I only get 1hr to cook it.
    if I just leave the dough for half and hour will it still success?
    Thank you
    P.S. Yours recipes are so good

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Charling,
      Thanks for your trust. In that case, the better way is to prepare a semi-fermented dough before the coursework and make another one during the coursework. And use the pre-prepared dough to for the following steps after showing how to prepare another fresh dough during the coursework. Good Luck.

  14. Coco Chan says

    Hello, I would like to ask if there is any quicker way to make the dough be bigger, like within half hour instead of one hour? Thank you so much!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Coco,
      The time needed for rising the dough depending on many factors including the yeast and temperature. Personally I think half hour is not enough. Even in summer time, at least 40 minutes are needed. You can try to add a little bit more yeast and test to see what’s the texture after 30 minutes.

  15. Antoni says


    I’ve just found this web and it’s really nice the recipes I am seeing, I have to say that I am baker and .always I wanted to try with Asian recipes (bread recipes) and I think I’m gonna try it,thanks for inspiring me. Xxoooo from Spaim

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Antoni,
      Thanks for stopping by and dropping me such a warm note. Chinese breads are very different from western traditional breads. Hope you will love them too.

  16. John says

    It took me 3 tries to actually make them and then I lost track of time cleaning up my mess so they steamed too long. Even so, they taste just like I was hoping and once I get better at making them I will move on to more recipes. Thanks a bunch!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi John,
      Making those steamed buns at home is not a easy task. I am glad you tried to adventure. Cleaning up the flours can be quite boring and time-consuming. I have this problem too. I am always set up a kitchen alarm clock at the very beginning of the steaming process. I hope this tip is useful.

  17. Atenatany says

    Hi Elaine

    I wonder the remain sugar for the dough should be added before of after knead the flour (with warm water and dry yeast)?. I mean we just add a little sugar with water & yeast, so what’s about the remain sugar if I want to add it into the flour to make dough(2-2.5 tbsp)?

    Thank you. :)

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Atenatny,
      I would suggest melting the sugar with warm water. If the sugar is too much for the water, mix it with flour before kneading for uniformity of of sweetness.

  18. Annie says

    First of all I want to thank you for the recipe, second of all your step by step photos!
    I follow the steps but I don’t think I do it right, my dough turns out sour like wine smell before I steamed them.
    They still taste good but the look awful ugly. I don’t know how to control yeast or dough can you help me with it! I want to do a second time cause my kid and I love it so much, and I want to know how to make a good looking one, mine turn out sticky at the bottom and everything just look like dough itself before and after ….

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Annie,
      Firstly thanks for your lovely feedback.
      If the dough smells sour, then it is over fermented. You need to shorten the fermentation time.
      For a smooth surface, firstly make sure the dough is appropriately fermented.Then knead for a longer time so that the air is punched out completely and the dough becomes really smooth.
      Besides, lower the fire during the steaming process after the water is boiling.
      Let me know if there is any progress.

  19. Anam says

    Hi! I had these buns during a holiday in Singapore with chili crab sauce and thought they were amazing. Glad to have found the recipe. I’m going to try and make some over the weekend. Just had a question…can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast? If yes, how much yeast should I use? Thanks!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Sure Anam, you can use dry yeast to replace instant yeast. But the fermentation time will be quite longer. So if you prepare earlier, You can use the same amount or add a little bit more if your room temperature is relatively low.

  20. says

    I would like to make this a bit more healthy for my kids so I would like to know how to make it using whole wheat flour or semolina instead. Will the proportions and method be the same or can you guide me how to go about that.
    Thank you

    • Elaine Luo says

      Thanks Ala for your lovely feedback. And I am quite happy to hear that you like them the same as me too.
      Different flours have different water-absorbing quality. So usually we need to adjust the water a little bit.

  21. Theodre says

    Please help..mine comes out sticky&gooey and its not fluffy inside unlike yours which looks soft and fluffy both inside and outside. Is it because of the dough to water, 2:1 ratio…
    Also if I am using milk, what ration should I keep??
    I want to make them since its too expensive and not available as my culture cooks differently

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Theodre,
      If you are using milk, I have listed this problem in FAQ after the recipe. You need to add more milk based on how much flour you are using. Milk only contents around 87% water.
      Besides,you need to know some basic about your flour, high gluten flour needs more water. Make sure that the dough is not over-fermented (smell sour or like wine) and I would love to suggest you changing your flour for another try.
      If it is sticky, you need to check which part is sticky. I mean whether it is the bottom, surface or the middle. If the even the middle part is sticky, then they are not well steamed. You need to lengthen the steaming time. If the button is sticky, place a cloth or leaves or brushing some oil might help.

  22. Josh says

    I bought all of the ingredients especially for this recipe, but bought some ‘fast action’ yeast by mistake. How long should I leave the dough for using this yeast?
    Also, can I add some sesame oil for flavour? How much should I use if I can?

    Thank you, and what an amazing recipe! ~Josh
    (I bought a bamboo steamer with my Christmas money :D)

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Josh,
      I have not used fast action yeast yet so I cannot figure out the time needed. Anyway, I would suggest you to watch your dough carefully at the first trying to figure the time out. As long as the dough is around double in size, it is well-proofed.
      For sesame oil, I do not think that’s a great idea to add it directly in the dough because the oil will influence the texture. If you want to have more flavor, making a dipping sauce might be a better choice.
      Lastly, with your bamboo steamer, you are on board of a steamed bun journey. And welcome!

      • Josh says

        Well, ome sachet is 7g, but it says that one sachet is equivalent to 15g of normal yeast. But it is actually the same amount as a normal sachet! I’m really confused!
        About the sesame oil, could I brush the bottom of the bun with oil before i place it on greaseproof paper and put it in the steamer? I’ve heard that other recipes use this, but was wondering whether it would be suitable for this recipe.
        Thanks for the reply! ~Josh

        • Elaine Luo says

          Hi Josh,
          Brushing the oil on the bottom is mainly used to prevent the buns sticky to the steamer. If you use greaseproof paper, this step is not required. But you can brush some of course if you like.
          About the amount of the yeast, I am sorry that I have not used it before. But I suggest using a smaller amount and wait for a longer proofing time. I would recommend a 0.7% of the total amount of your flour.

  23. Choo says

    Hi Elaine, I fermented the dough for 45 Min. I steamed the mantou for 20 min using high heat started from cold water to became boiling. I used stainless steel steamer. The surface of the mantou was not smooth. Any idea which part that I did was not right. Thank you

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Choo,
      You need to knead the dough forcefully until smooth after fermentation. If there is any air within the dough, the surface will not smooth as expected.

  24. Skye says

    Hey there, i am making the dough now as we speak. Just a trial run, because i want to try to make the pork bunns this wednesday.. I only have a question about the steaming. I use a steel steaming pan. Do i add them when the water is still cold, wait for the water to boil and THEN 20 / 25 minutes? I know you explained it in your recipy, but to me its not quite clear (sorry about that, english is not my native language). And how long can you keep them? And how? Fridge or freezer?

    With love

    • Skye says

      Oh and i forgot to add, can you make the dough in advance? Like the leftover dough i made now, can i still use it wednesday if i refridgirate it?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Add the buns when the water is still cold and then steam for 20 to 25 minutes after boiling.
      I would not recommend making the dough much easier for the bun because even in fridge, it might be over-fermented. However you can prepare the dough in the previous night and then cover with plastic wrapper and place in a cool place. Besides, the proofing process also depends on how much yeast used in certain amount of flour. You can reduce the yeast slightly to lengthen the time.

  25. Amery says

    First thing I want to say is that: My family loves Chinese steamed buns, but unfortunately we do not live in an area that has a good Chinese market here. That said, I am so happy to find this website and see the steps to make this. I do have a couple of questions because I would love to make this for my family. Would regular flour or wheat flour be better for this recipe? Also, when you say to punch the air out, how do you know you took the air out after letting the dough rise? and my last question (I promise), what would you recommend for how long to knead the dough?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Amery,
      You can use regular flour for this recipe. No flour is much better than another one. It just depending on your own like. For example, if you use regular flour, the buns will be less fluffy but much chewier, I mean compared with low-gluten flour. It is the North Chinese style. And if you plan to add wheat flour, you can check this post
      For the second question, you can judge from the size and texture. When the air is punched out completely, the dough should be in similar size before rise and when separate the dough, there will be no small holes inside. The texture should be uniform and smooth.
      The time needed for knead the dough is depending on the skill greatly. However I would suggest 8-10 minutes, forcefully!

  26. Nikki G says

    Hi! I just tried this recipe and I’m using a bread maker. I noticed that the dough didn’t rise as much. Is it because there’s too little water or flour? Also, after steaming, they weren’t as soft and fluffy as I thought they would be but they tasted great though. What can I do to get soft and fluffy buns?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Nikki,
      If you are using all-purpose flour, the buns will be chewier.
      If you want the buns to be more soft and fluffy, you can start with low-gluten flour or add more water slightly.

  27. Jade says

    Hi Elaine,

    I LOVE your website. It is very beautiful! Your recopes are simple and easy to follow. I am coeliac and I miss chinese steamed buns from when I was a child. Have you had any experience with people who have used gluten free flour blends?

  28. jane says

    Hi Elaine, im planning to try these yummy looking buns soon but I was wondering if adding raisins after beating the air out and a little bit of cinnamon powder would be ok.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Yes totally fine Jane.
      I am introducing the very basic process of making soft steamed buns. You can add raisins and cinnamon for extra flavor. And thanks for that brilliant idea. I will try your idea when making my family buns next time.

  29. chile says

    im.trying.this.recepie however my.mantao come.out very elastic also.hiw can.i removed the.smell.of.yeast in the mantao? Thanks

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Chile,
      What yeast are you using for your bun? If the taste is really strong, I will recommend you changing the yeast for a try. If it is mild and you just do not love it, you can slightly increase sugar or add a small amount of beer in your dough. By the way, let the dough proof slowly.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Simona,
      By itself, steamed buns sometimes are really plain without no strong taste. However they are extremely amazing when matched with soups,chili sauces and pickles.

  30. Ruby says

    Hi! I’ve tried making the buns but mine were slightly yellow. Does using low-protein flour help? Are there any explanation for that?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Buby,
      The color of the buns actually depends on the flour. If you want the bun to be as white as possible, change your flour to Hong Kong flour.

  31. Shaw says

    My dough was wayy to sticky to knead. They were all stuck to my hands. I tried adding some flour as I kneaded but to no avail. I gave up and just let it rise then steamed them. They came out oddly shaped and grey-brownish in color. Where have I gone wrong?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Shaw,
      If you are using 300 gram flour and 150 gram water, the dough should be not that sticky. At the beginning, the dough might be slightly sticky, just add more flour and continue kneading for certain time until gluten comes out and the dough becomes smooth. This process might take 10-15 minutes depending on the kneading skill. If the dough is not well kneaded, the buns cannot come out smooth!

  32. titan says

    Hi Elaine,

    Thank you for sharing the steam bun recipe. The process of making the dough is very successful but it was spoiled during the steaming process. I am using steel steamer to steam the bun but not following your ways to steam the bun. I only place the bun inside the steamer after water start boiling on high heat, and created lot of water vapor within the steamer. Is it the problem that causing my bun doesn’t looks fluffy and smooth on the surface? Please advice!

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Titan,
      For buns, it is really important to steam with cold water because it will become fluffy again during the process! However, if you steam with boiling water, the yeast will be killed immediately. That’s why the bun is not so fluffy. And for the surface, I would recommend kneading for a longer time next time and do not lift the cover immediately after turning off the fire.

  33. Alicia says

    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I think you have an excellent website.

    I followed your steps closely and made Mantou and BBQ pork buns.

    Please see photos of my work here.

    I am very happy with my home made buns. I love Chinese steam buns, especially Cantonese Cha Shao Bao but I dislike the artificial taste of those buns bought outside.

    However my buns are not as smooth as yours. I wonder if it is because of the kneading?

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Alicia,
      Thanks for trying my recipes and give me this detailed feedback. You have done great work! Yes, from the pictures, the most possible reason is insufficient kneading. For example, in the first picture, the dough is not smooth enough. It might be slightly time-consuming if you do not knead dough by hand. If you have a stand mixer or bread making machine, you can restore to them for the firstly kneading process. Enjoy and good luck with your further kitchen adventure.

    • Elaine Luo says

      Hi Jason,
      Usually we use a ratio around 50:1 (flour: yeast). However the ratio might be adjusted slightly based on the room temperature and how long you hope the proofing process would be. For example, in winter, I will use more yeast to shorten the proofing process.

  34. Chris V says

    Hi Elaine,
    I’ve tried your recipe and they came out perfectly, friends and family loved these although (when you eat too much of them) we got pretty… gassy, so to say.
    I’m thinking of making a caramelized peanuts filling with brown sugar! Do you have any suggestions and/or a recipe of any kind? because I have a humongous amount of peanuts and too much time on my hands and a lot of friends/family waiting for the next batches :)

    • Elaine says

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the feedback of the recipe. And you can made caramelized peanuts filling of course and I believe it will be very yummy. I would love to firstly toast the peanuts and then make peanut sauce. And finally mix with brown sugar.

  35. Iris says

    Hi Elaine,

    My girl love mantao so much :) so i plan to make this for her … may i know can i use normal bao flour instead of all purposes flour ?

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