Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flower buns 花捲

I love things that are made from flour. It doesn't matter how they are cooked, steamed, pan-fried, baked, they all taste good with a special flavor of flour. I followed Carol's recipe and made these flower buns, very puffy, soft steamed buns seasoned with green scallions and salt. They tasted great and made a wonderful traditional Chinese breakfast.

Steamed flower buns (makes 8):

Starter dough:
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 80 g water
  • 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 pinch of salt
Main dough:
  • 50 g the starter dough
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 100 g cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 15 g sugar
  • 15 g olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 160 cc water (or spinach juice)
Extra ingredients:
  • 15 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 green scallions, chopped
  • 8 pieces of 2.5" x 2.5" parchment paper


1. Make the starter dough the night before. Mix the flour, salt and water together first, then mix in the yeast. (I use a bread machine to make the dough.)

2. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Take 50 g of the starter dough and store the rest in the freezer. (Just thaw them in the refrigerator or room temperature before use next time. DO NOT thaw in a microwave, you might overheat and cook the dough.)

4. Mix all ingredients for the main dough together except the yeast. Let it comes together in the bread machine. Mix in the yeast. Let rise until the size doubles (about 1.5 hrs).

5. When the dough doubles in size, mix in 15 g of all-purpose flour. Let the dough rest for 10 min.

6. Roll it out into a rectangular about 1 ft by 1 ft in size.

7. Spread 2 Tbsp olive oil evenly over the rectangular, then spread 1 tsp salt evenly, then spread the chopped scallions.

8. Use the pizza cutter and cut the rectangular into half inch long thin stripes.

9. Evenly divide the stripes into 8 portions.

10. Take 1 portion of stripes and tie a knot, tucking the ends under the knot. Put a piece of parchment paper underneath the knot.

11. Fill the steamer with enough water. (Water level can't be above the steamer.) Line the knots on the steamer. Cover the lid and heat the water just until the steam forms on the lid. Turn off the heat, and let the buns rise inside for another 40 minutes until they are very soft to the touch.

12. Steam on medium heat for 15 min with lid on. During the final 5 minutes, open a small slit and let the steam out.

13. When the time is up, turn off the heat. Don't touch anything, and let the whole thing sits like that for 7-8 minutes.

14. Move the pot away from the stove, and let sit for another 3 minutes. Now remove the lid from the steamer. Step 12-14 is to let the temperature in the steamer gradually getting close to the room temperature, so that the buns won't shrink right away when they meet the cold air.

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