Custard Milk Baos (奶黄包)

These are one of my best Baos, very soft and fluffy. My tasters agree and wiped them out. The bao is all-milk recipe and tastes just great with the rich custard.

Many readers asked me about ‘pockmarked’ baos after steaming, this is usually due to uneven larger air pockets on the surface that collapsed after steaming. Here are some tips:

  • Follow the timings here for a warm tropical country, do not overproof.
  • You can skip the first proof of 30 min. What you lose is more fermented flavour in the baos, but it reduces the number of random air pockets. And since we have used milk and filled it with custard, there is enough flavour.
  • Knead really well after first proof to degas. Even after you have divided the dough, you can knead the small doughs first before rolling round.
  • Don’t open the wok cover immediately after steaming, the cold air will cause contraction to the surface. Follow the steps to keep covered for 5 mins more.
  • Some pockmarks are really due to dripping water from the lid, so watch out for that.

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Recipe (makes 14 baos)

Custard

  • 2 eggs
  • 100g milk
  • 50g sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 30g plain flour
  • 30g milk powder
  • 40g butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Bao

  • 140g fresh milk
  • 40g sugar (can adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 20g cooking oil
  • Pinch of salt

Method

Custard

1. Place milk, egg, sugar and salt. Stir well.

2. Add in flour and mix. There will be small lumps but that’s fine. Finally add in butter.

3. Place onto stove, low heat and stir continuously. The custard will slowly form. About 5-8 min.

4. When you can lift off some of the custard with hand whisk, custard is ready. Off heat, add in vanilla extract and stir.

5. Chill in the fridge to completely cool. Custard will firm up further. Roll into 20g balls. About 14 balls. Keep in fridge till ready to use.

Bao

1. Place all bao ingredients in stand mixer. Knead at low speed for 10 mins.

2. Knead till dough comes together and no longer sticky, about 10 min. There is no need for window pane. Cover and first proof for 30 min.

Optional: You can also do a quick rest of 5 min and skip first proof.

3. After resting or proofing, knead well to degas and to ensure dough is smooth and elastic with no air pocket on the surface.

4. Make a hole in the centre of dough and cut as shown. Roll the dough long and divide into 14 portions. Roll them round. Mine was about 32g each.

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5. Roll them out flat and round. Make sure edges are thinner than centre.

6. Wrap about 20g of custard into each dough and pinch tight to seal. Roll round.

7. Proof for 30 min in enclosed space with a cup of warm water.

8. After proofing, steam for 12 mins. I started with warm water. I used high heat at first and turn down towards the end when I saw a lot of steam escaping.

9. After 12 min, turn off heat, and open lid a little to let out steam with a chopstick, wait for another 5 min and do not remove the lid during this time.

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10. Serve warm immediately.

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