Chinese steamed wheat buns relatively are healthier than traditional white buns and thus they are quite popular in China now. Back to the tough times, white flour is considered to be a rarer and valuable than the common whole wheat flour. But nowadays, we just need more raw foods. Chinese steamed buns have many types and shapes. I will introduce them a little bit. Firstly of all, there are knife cut white buns (the most common buns available) and then there are round buns some with the inner filling while others are not. Besides, there are also flavored buns named as HuaJuan (花卷), which usually have more shapes and different tastes.
Top left: white knife cut buns--Chinese steamed buns
Top Right: Chinese pork steamed buns with char siu as filling--Chinese BBQ Pork Buns
Bottom left: Sweet red bean paste buns--Homemade sweet red bean buns
Bottom right: purple sweet potato buns--Purple sweet potato buns.
The steamed wheat buns introduced today can be made to other shapes if you like. I have decided to make it as a lotus leaf. We name this as lotus leaf burger bread. Surely it can be made with all-purpose flour exclude the whole wheat flour.
And for the tool, I am using a bamboo steamer which can be healthier and more suitable for making traditional Chinese steamed buns. If you love to make steamed buns at home or have a plan to, this is a must for you: Joyce Chen 26-0013, 10-Inch Bamboo Steamer Set from Amazon. Or try to find some if you can in local stores.
Firstly we begin to make the dough. Mix all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and yeast. And then stir the water in slowly. During the process, mix the flour with a chopstick. Grasp all the flocculent flour chunks together and then knead to a smoothie ball. Cover with wet cloth or plastic wrap for fermentation. In hot summer days, only 40 minutes is needed for the fermentation process.Take the dough out when it doubles in size or have rich honeycomb texture. Keep kneading to punch the air out. Roll the dough into a long log and then cut into eight small sections. Roll each section to an oval piece. Pile it up and shape into a lotus leaf or whatever shape you like. Then make some decoration with a fork. Steam for around 15 minutes and then enjoy with whatever filling you like. For example stir-fried minced beef or other filling. I am matching the buns with Chinese grandmother dish but the ingredients are really hard to find in western countries. So show your skills.
Chinese Steamed Wheat Buns
- All-purpose flour required for kneading
- oil for brushing , if you are using wood mat for your steamer
For the basic dough
- 200 g all-purpose flour , around 2 cups
- 60 g whole wheat flour , around 1 and ¼ cup
- 154 g water , around 154 ml
- 3 g instant yeast
- Mix all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and yeast. And then stir the water in slowly. During the process, mix the flour with a chopstick.
- Grasp all the flocculent flour chunks together and then knead to a smoothie ball. Cover with wet cloth or plastic wrap for fermentation. In hot summer days, only 40 minutes is needed for the fermentation process.
- Take the dough out when it doubles in size or have rich honeycomb texture. Keep kneading to punch the air out.
- Roll the dough into a long log and then cut into eight small sections. Roll each section to an oval piece. Pile it up and shape into a lotus leaf or whatever shape you like. Then make some decoration with a fork.
- Brush some oil on the bottom and place the buns on your steamer. Please do leave some space between each one because during the process, they will become intumescent. Cover the lid and rest the buns for 15 to 20 minutes until the buns becomes fluffy again.
- Steam for around 20 minutes after the water boils. After stopping the fire, wait for around 5 minutes before moving out and enjoying.
Holly | Beyond Kimchee
Mu daughter loves Chinese BBQ pork buns. And I always wondered how the buns need to be made. These whole wheat buns look even better. I love the sea shell shaped look.
We eat wheat buns from time to time because it is believed to be healthier in China. And recently I am quite interested in different shapes of steamed buns.
You have such an awesome recipes in your website. A great reference to Chinese cooking. Recently, I made steamed bun out of whole wheat flour only plus yeast and mashed sweet potato but I don't understand why the bun was slightly dense and after leaving out for 1 hr, changed its texture even denser. I didn't follow your recipe but created my own. I hate using all purpose flour or baking powder, can I use pure whole wheat flour only? . Please advice on this. Below is my recipe :
Whole wheat flour/ atta flour : 1 cup
Instant dry yeast : 1/2 tsp
Steamed and mashed sweet potato (orange color) : 1/4 cup
Salt : a pinch
Sugar :1/4 tsp
Olive oil : 1 tbsp
Warm water : as needed
Thanks in advance
Usually we need to add some all-purpose flour with wheat flour to increase the tenacity of the dough. If you do not like to use wheat flour, try to make buns without smashed sweet potato. Both the wheat flour and sweet potato have stronger water-absorbing quality but are lack of tenacity. I guess that's the reason why it becomes dense. You can try to re-steam it again before eating so that the buns can absorb the vapour.
Did you put 60 g or 1 and 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour in your recipe? Cause they are not equal and don't add up.
60 g and 5/4 cups of flour do NOT have the same weight!! Which one is the right amount to produce light fluffy steam bread?
Thank you for helping.
If you have a kitchen scale, please use 60g flour.
Hi Elaine. Once again, your recipes deliver such beautiful results. I am not clear on the naming of the naming of the steamed wheat bun (folded in half). Is it called the HuaJuan?
Fold over buns in mainland China is called lotus leaf buns (荷叶包) and in Taiwan area called Gua
Thank you so much Elaine! I tried this recipe and it comes out good. I just learn baking few weeks ago. haha...
Elaine, may i ask if i like to substitute water with milk, how much milk should i substitute with? Have you ever experiment putting a little bit of raw oats (麦片)? if you do, how much do you think we can put without breaking the recipe.
Again, thank you so much! i am very grateful i have found your website.
If you want to use milk, the amount should be around 125g to 135g depending on your weather and flour if no raw oats added.
You can add some raw ots. For this recipe, I would suggest you using 60g raw oats and increase the milk to 150g.
Have you ever tried spelt sourdough? Because we are gluten intolerant, there are not many recipes to be found. Maybe you have tried it before.
Sourdough buns are quite traditional. I will list it on and introduce the Chinese version soon.