Another famous and great dim sum steamed bun recipe—Custard bun also named as milk yolk buns. Those little buns are also named as Lai Wong Bao.
This is the version with butter and egg for sweet teeth. Just a remanding, there is a sister bun of this milk yolk bun named as Liu Sa Bao which uses salted duck egg and thus providing a savory and salty filling. Those two versions are quite similar but different in tastes.
I do not like sweet food for the first 18 years in my life because my teeth was get used to spicy and savory foods. Sweet desserts were here but less appealing to me compared with real Sichuan style hot food. However after living in Guangdong province for around 5 years, I fall in love with sweet dessert slowly especially some of the Hong Kong style desserts, baked buns and cookies. The cities might looks similar from the appearance, but the foods are so different from the history background and geographic position.
Before start making those yummy buns at home, there are some key ingredients.
- Custard powder
To make the perfect custard filling, custard powder is necessary. It is firstly imported by some bakery stores in Hong Kong and now becomes a popular baking ingredient in Mainland China too. It can increase the milk aroma and add slightly yellow color to the filling.
- Wheat starch
Wheat starch is the main ingredient for another famous dim sum dessert-Har Gow. The reason why it is used to replace flour is because it is almost transparent, which further give the filling a perfect yellow color.
Start with the dough firstly. If you are not familiar with how to make a dough for Chinese buns, check Chinese steamed bun for some detailed guide.
And then the custard filling.
In a small pot, combine custard powder, wheat starch and sugar together.Heat over low heat and then add milk. Keep stirring until well mixed.Stir in beaten egg slowly and keep stirring during the process. Add butter in. Heat until well mixed. You can taste the filling for some adjustment if necessary at this step.
Remove off heat and turn the filling over and over again until it can form a smooth ball and everything is well incorporated. The left picture is before turning with a spatula and the right picture is after. There should be no particles in the filling dough.
To assemble the custard bun
1. It is quite necessary to shape the filling into balls before assembling the bun. This is make the process much easier especially for starters.
2. To get a uniform wrapper after sealed completely, the edges of the wrapper should be slightly thinner than the center.
3. After seal the buns, turn them over gently and then shape again for a better round shape.
How to set up the steamer: I use a bamboo steamer for all my buns, you can get it from Amazon Joyce Chen 26-0013, 10-Inch Bamboo Steamer Set
Here we are Now!
Custard Bun-Milk Yolk Buns
- 1.5 tbsp. custard powder
- ½ cup wheat starch
- 2 tbsp. cake flour
- 100 ml milk
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg+ another yolk , slightly beaten (around 100g)
For the bun wrapper
- 2 cups cake flour , or low-gluten flour
- 100 ml milk , or 20ml more if you are using all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup warm water , around 35℃
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
Custard filling recipe
- In a small pot, combine custard powder, wheat starch and sugar together.
- Heat over low heat and then add milk. Keep stirring until well mixed.
- Stir in beaten egg slowly and keep stirring during the process. Add butter in. Heat until well mixed. Remove off heat and turn the filling over and over again until it can form a smooth ball and everything is well incorporated.
- Set aside to cool down and then place the custard filling in fridge for at least 1 hour (depending on the temperature)or until hardened. So you can shape the fillings easily.
For the dough
- Add sugar and yeast to the warm water. Wait for around 10 minutes until the yeast is well activated.
- Mix other ingredients for the dough with the warm yeast water prepared in the previous step. Grasp everything together and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Brush some oil on a large bowl and transfer the dough for the proofing. Wait for 2-3 hours until the dough is doubled in size.
Assemble the custard buns
- When the dough is doubled in size, transfer to a slightly floured board and pinch the air out. Please knead forcefully for a smooth surface. And then roll into a long log; cut the log into 12 equal portions. At the same time, divide the custard filling into 12 equal portions and shape each one to a ball (make the assembling process much easier)
- Take one portion out, press down slightly and then roll to a around wrappers around 8 to 10 cm in diameter. Make the edges thinner than the center.
- Place on portion of the filling on the round wrapper and then seal completely. Repeat the process to finish all the buns.
- Set up the steamer and let the buns reset for around 10 to 15 minutes with lid covered.
- Steam on high heat for around 15 minute to 20 minutes. Turn off the fire, wait for 5 minutes before uncovering and enjoying.
Hello, thank you for the recipe. The dough turned out perfect however, the filling came out like a hard ball. I had used cornstarch instead of wheat starch - do you think that was the problem?
It should be caused by the amount of the starch (too much) or overcooking during the filling mixing process.
I just tried this and my dough didn't rise. I'm wondering if it's supposed to have the milk in the dough mixture as you list that as an ingredient above, but milk is not an ingredient in the Chinese Steamed Bun recipe you referenced. I incorporated the sugar with the 35C water, then added yeast and let activate for about 10 minutes. Then in my mixing bowl, I put in the cake flour, salt and milk, then slowly added the yeast mixture. Please let me know if the milk is not supposed to be in the ingredient list or not.
What can be replaced for wheat starch?
You can use cornstarch
How can I store the buns? Fridge? How far a head can I make this?
Cool the buns after steamed and then you can freeze them.
I am having an issue with my custard filling. It’s still very runny and doesn’t look like it will turn into a ball anytime soon. I used double the tapioca flour instead of wheat starch as I didn’t have any?
Tapioca flour is not a good substitute for wheat starch. You can use corn starch. Also if the filling is too runny, you either continue heating it to see whether it can wrap together or increase the amount of starch used.