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Gua Bao is a Vietnamese street food that I discovered one day whilst on the internet searching for new and exciting food to make. I wanted to make these as sourdough buns, so developed the following recipe.

I am very pleased how they turned out, and the entire family enjoyed these buns, so I will definitely be making these frequently!

If you give these buns a go, I would love to see a picture!

Step 1: The Ingredients

To make the dough you will need:

  • 400 g Flour
  • 80 g Sourdough Starter (You can find instructions for this in the first part of this instructable How to make Sourdough Bread)
  • 125 g Water
  • 25 g Milk

This is enough to make 8 buns.

Step 2: The Dough

Mix all the ingredients together until it starts to clump together. At this stage the mixture will seem very dry. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO ADD MORE WATER!!!! It is a dry dough, just accept it :)

Step 3: Knead

Dump the dough out onto a counter top and knead together for about 15 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and put in a warm place to rise for about 3 hours or until doubled in size.

Step 4: Punch, Roll and Roll

Punch down the dough, then using a rolling pin, roll it out in a long rectangle.

Rolling the dough up, rolling flat, then rolling back up apparently helps with the breads structure, so.... Roll up into a roll, then with the spiral facing you, roll out again to form another rectangle, then roll back up into a roll! Do this about three times.

Step 5: The Great Divide

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes or so.

Step 6: Paper Squares, Shaping and Rising

Meanwhile, while the dough portions are resting, prepare the paper squares! cut out 16 9cmx9cm pieces of greased baking paper.

To shape the buns, take one piece of dough and with your hands pat it into and oval shape, then with a rolling pin roll out until the buns are roughly 8 cm wide and 16 cm long. Place one square of paper over half of the bun, then fold over sandwiching the paper. Place all the buns in a warm place to rise for another hour, covered in plastic wrap ideally in the steamer, but other wise on plate wrapped with plastic.

I have set up my steamer in the last photo. I have a large pot in which I boiled the water, and sitting on top I have the stainless steel steaming basket. I also used a glass lid to cover so I could see how the buns were cooking.

Step 7: Heat the Water, Steam the Buns

Fill the pot about one third of the way up with water and bring to the boil. Place the steamer basket over top with the buns in and the lid on. Don't crowd the buns as they do expand a bit.

On medium heat, steam the buns for 10 minutes. About every 3-4 minutes, momentarily take the lid off to allow some of the steam to escape. This allows the temperature to cool down a little.

Step 8: Let Cool

As the buns were very hot, I put them on a cooling rack to cool.

And they are ready to fill!

I filled mine with seasoned roast beef and a mesculun salad.

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