Introduction: Mini Bapao From the Oven

About: When things don't go the way I want, I still hear my father say: ‘There is no such word as can’t.’ The things I make, I make thanks to him. He taught me how to bake and paint and everything in between, I got h…

bapao as a snack
New Year's Eve is always a fun evening. Often it is all day baking, ‘oliebollen’ (a Dutch speciality which doesn’t have a good translation if translate you get oil balls or deep fried doughnut balls which both isn’t an oliebol) apple fritters and many other tasty snacks to enjoy the whole evening. I always buy the ‘oliebollen’ and apple fritters, otherwise the house will smell days of frying fat. One of the snacks that will be on the table this year is Bapao but in mini version. This is how I make them and if you do not have a steam oven or an oven with a cleaning function with steam, you can also make them in a steamer. Also no steamer? With a pan and a sieve it also works!

Step 1: What You Need

1 leek
1 bunch of spring onion
1 snack sweet pepper or a tiny paprika
1 slice of pineapple
2 cloves of garlic
8 sprigs of flat parsley
350 gr ground beef
1 chicken broth cube
Boiling water
Sweet soy sauce

250 gr Bapaoflour (Bapaoflour is wheat flour but extra finely ground, bleached white and it has lower gluten content, making the buns much lighter and fluffy than with ordinary flour.) If you can’t get Bapaoflour then use regular flour, the result will be a bit less fluffier.)
1 sachet of yeast (7 gr)
60 ml lukewarm water
100 ml lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
Pinch of salt

Steam oven or oven with steam function (steam cooker also works but is more work because you can only do a few at one time)
Garlic press
Cutting board
Storage box or dish
Baking paper
Stir spoon

Step 2: The Filling Preparation:

Wash and cut the spring onions and peppers into small pieces. Cut the leek in the length and then cut into small pieces. Use only the white and the light green part of the leek, the green part is too tough. Wash the leek by using the sieve. Cut the pineapple and sweet pepper into small pieces. Chop the parsley and clean the cloves of garlic.

Step 3: Make the Filling

Heat a tablespoon of oil in the wok and fry the leek and minced meat until the minced meat is light brown and the moisture evaporates. Now add the sweet pepper, pineapple and garlic (use the garlic press) and let it simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add the spring onion and sweet soy sauce and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile dissolve the chicken broth cube in a mug with hot water. Then make a paste of cornstarch by dissolving two spoons of cornstarch in three tablespoons of broth and add to the mixture together with the parsley. Let everything boil for a few more minutes and turn off the heat source. Allow the filling to cool down and, after cooling, dab away any moisture or oil with kitchen cloth. Once the filling has cooled completely, place it in a bowl or box in the refrigerator.

Step 4: Making the Dough for the Buns

Dissolve the sachet of yeast in 60 ml of lukewarm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Sieve 250 grams of bapao flour in a large bowl and make a hole in the middle. Pour the yeast solution into the hole and cover with some flour. Spread a tablespoon of caster sugar and a pinch of salt along the edge of the bowl on the flour but avoid the middle. Let the flour rest until the flour starts to tear on the yeast. In the meantime, heat 100 ml of milk to lukewarm in a pan. As soon as the flour tears, add the milk to the flour and knead everything into a homogeneous mass. The dough should feel a bit like chewing gum when ready. Add some water if the dough is too dry or some flour if the dough is too wet. Do not over knead the dough. Cover the bowl with foil and put away in a warm draft-free place. Let the dough rise until the volume has doubled.

Step 5: Forming the Buns

Fold a sheet of baking paper in half lengthwise and open it. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it in the middle on the baking paper. Close the baking paper and roll the dough between the baking paper. Make a roll of about 4 cm diameter. The dough can easily roll between the baking paper and you get a nice smooth roll. It is a bit like making sushi. Now cut the roll into slices of about 2 cm. About 14 slices should go out.

Make balls from all the slices:
Now flatten a ball and form a circle of about 10 cm. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the middle and fold the circle till closed. If necessary, use a little water to stick the dough. Roll the dough between your handpalms into a nice ball and place it on an oven rack that is covered with baking paper. Form all the buns. Let the buns rise for about 30 minutes.

Step 6: The Baking

In case of a steam oven, follow the instructions of the oven. For an electric oven with the possibility of cleaning with steam: fill the water tank in the bottom of the oven. Set the oven to 120 ° Celsius and preheat. Place the grate in the middle of the oven as soon as it is at temperature and cook in 15 to 20 minutes, but be careful for the steam is very hot! Only 12 buns fit on my grate and because I wanted to finish everything all at once, I steamed the last two in a steamer. Because the basket does not fit in the pan and I do not have a lid that fits, I closed the pan with aluminum foil. This same principle also works with a sieve. Steaming in the pan in 10 to 15 minutes covered with aluminum foil to keep the steam in. Serve hot, delicious with hot chili sauce.

Warm up:
I made the bapao ahead so that I have less work on New Years Eve. Bapao is easy to freeze. Just before serving: heat the frozen Bapao for 90 seconds covered, so that they stay soft, in the microwave.
Bon appetite and Happy New Year!

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