Steamed hot cross buns are the twist from the traditional baked hot cross buns. They are soft, fluffy, and infused in with incredible pandan flavor or whatever flavor you like. Perfect for Easter celebration.
Yes, I know, traditionally, hot cross buns are not steamed like steamed buns. These easy steamed hot cross buns are really a twist from the traditional baked hot cross buns, which we happen to love a lot. The kids thought they were fun, not to mention ultra soft and fluffy steamed buns. I infused it with Pandan flavor and stuffed it with sweet grated coconut filling like the one I made for Chinese Steamed Buns with Coconut Filling. It’s a little unorthodox for an Easter celebration, but I can assure you they are so good!
FLAVORS AND FILLINGS IDEAS
PLAIN WITHOUT FILLING: You can leave them plain unfilled and added toppings like: raisins, cranberries, red dates to the dough
FLAVORS: Matcha powder, red beets powder, or juice from any fruit to give you a natural color
SWEET FILLING IDEAS: dou sha (sweet bean paste), mung bean paste, sweet custard (nai wong)
SAVORY FILLING IDEAS: Char siu (Chinese bbq pork), salted egg yolk custard, pork and scallion
WHY YOU WILL LIKE THIS RECIPE
1. SOFT AND FLUFFY BUNS
These steamed buns are ultra soft and fluffy. I’ve tested the steamed buns recipe for at least 10 times and confident to say that you will love them.
2. SMOOTH AND NO WRINKLE ON THE STEAMED BUNS
Most steamed buns you see on the internet have burnt spots or wrinkles. I have gotten those problems sorted out from tons of experiments.
3. RECIPE IS QUICK AND EASY
You only need to proof the dough once. Unlike many steamed buns recipes out there that requires two rounds of proofings (which is part of the overproofing problem). Making steamed buns are faster than ever.
HOW TO MAKE HOT CROSS ON STEAMED BUNS
1. Start with the basic soft and fluffy steamed buns dough
2. Pinch off about 30 grams of small dough (for the hot crosses) and then divide the large dough into 15 equal portions. Divide the small dough into 30 small doughs
3. Flatten the dough and roll it out into about 4-5 inch circle. Place the filling (whatever you choose) in the middle
4. Gather the edge around the filling to enclose and pinch to seal
5. Place the seam-side down
6. Roll 2 small doughs into a long strip (long enough to go across the buns)
7. Place on parchment paper, cover with a clean towel and let it proof until about 50% of its original size (may take about 15-20 minutes, depending on how warm it is)
8. Bring water in a steamer to a boil. The shaped buns are ready to be steamed. Lower the heat to LOW
COOK’S TIPS YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO KNOW
1. Make sure the liquid you use to make the dough is cold or at least room temperature
Contrary to the usual practice where recipe asks for a warm liquid to activate the yeast, I like to shape my steamed buns while the yeast is not active yet. This part helps A LOT in producing smooth steamed buns (or you will be so busy pushing out air produced by the yeast!)
2. You may need to steam in batches
Which means the rest of the shaped steamed buns will continue to proof while waiting for the other batch to steam. This will overproof the dough and when you steamed them, they will expand to the side to be wide, instead of tall. They are also more prone to wrinkle. Here’s what you can do: Make sure the cover them with plastic wrap and then place them in the refrigerator to slow down the yeast activity or halt it all together until they are ready to be steamed
3. Wrap the lid of the steamer with a cloth
This is to ensure that the condensation won’t drip back on the buns creating that unsightly burn spots
4. Steam the buns over MEDIUM heat and leave about 1/4-inch gap to let steam escapes during steaming
Make sure it’s on medium heat. This will ensure your steamed buns come out smooth. Trust me on this one!
For baking/ kueh making: I highly encourage to weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.GRAMS TO CUPS CONVERSION (UNSIFTED)
- 300 gr all-purpose flour - plus more for dusting. See notes
- 60 gr Wheat starch - or use cornstarch
- 4 gr Instant yeast - About 1 1/4 tsp
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 150 ml pandan juice - make sure it's room temperature or cold. About 1/2 cup, you may need to add a bit more water if the dough is too dry
Preparing the dough:
- Place the flour, instant yeast, sugar, and cooking oil in a mixing bowl. If you are using a stand mixer, use a dough hook attachment. Gradually add in pandan juice (or water or milk, if you don't want pandan flavor). You may need more than 150 ml or not. Add more teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough comes together and continue to knead for 5 minutes. If you are kneading by hands, about 10 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky and smooth. Then add in the salt and continue to knead until the dough is smooth again
- Pinch of about 30 grams of the dough to make the cross later
- Lightly dust your work surface with cake flour. Not too much. If you use a silicon pastry mat, you may not even need to dust with flour. Divide the big dough into 15 equal portions and the little dough that you pinched off earlier into 30 little balls. Keeping the dough covered and work with one dough at a time
- Then roll the dough into a smooth round ball in between the palm of your hand or as I did in the video. REALLY make sure the dough is smooth. Flatten the dough with your palm and then use a rolling pin to roll it out to form a circle about 4-5 inches, with a slightly thicker middle part
- Place about 1 to 2 Tbsp of filling in the middle
- Gather the edge to enclose into a round ball and place the seam side down
- Cup the dough with both palms and move the dough in a circular motion to shape it taller. This part is important so your steamed buns come out tall instead of spreading to the side after steaming
- Place on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly dab the surface of the bun with some milk using your finger to smooth the surface. Loosely cover with a saran wrapper to prevent drying. Work with another dough and do the same
- Once you have all the buns shaped, work on the little dough balls. Each buns will need two to make a cross. Roll each little ball into long strips (long enough to go across the buns)
- Let the shaped buns proof until about 50% double its original size. They don't have to double in size. This may take about 15-20 minutes, but please don't go by the time, just observe to make sure the buns have puffed up to half its original size before steaming or the buns will be tough. Don't overproof them as well.
- Most likely your steamer won't be able to accommodate steaming all buns at one go. You may need to steam in 2-3 batches, which means, the rest of the batches will sit longer and continue to proof while waiting for the steamer. Not good for the buns! Here's what you can do: Make sure the cover them with plastic wrap and then place them in the refrigerator to slow down the yeast activity or halt it all together until they are ready to be steamed
- Bring water in the steamer to a boil. Lower the heat to medium. Wrap the lid of your steamer with a kitchen towel to prevent moisture dripping on your buns creating burn spots. Place the buns inside the steamer. Cover with the lid but leave about 1/4-inch gap to let some steam escapes. Steam for 15 minutes
- Turn off the heat. Do not open the lid of the steamer. Let the buns sit there for 5 minute like this. The buns will not sink or wrinkle due to the sudden change in temperature. Transfer to cooling rack to let them cool down so the bottom of the buns won't be wet and soggy
- If you make extra and plan to store them, once the steamed buns have cooled down, place them on a baking sheet not touching each other and put them inside the freezer for 1 hour then transfer to a freezer bag
- They can be reheated in the steamer without thawing. Steam over high heat for 5 minutes
Check out this Soft and Fluffy No-Yeast Chinese Steamed Buns. These are so good and super easy to make!