Baked Korean Pork Bao
By Tory Miller - Winter 2017 Issue
In Asian cuisine, the filled buns called bao are typically steamed, and the preparation can be a tad fussy. But this baked version is easy to prepare and has a slightly more filling, breadier texture.
Recipe Detail Serves: 12 90 minutes Prep Time, 20 minutes Cook Time
Start the dough: Mix the yeast gently with the warm water and canola oil. After about 5 minutes there should be some light frothy bubbles on top. Add sugar, baking powder, and flour and knead for 10 minutes. (If you have a mixer with a dough hook, that’s great; otherwise, do it by hand.) Let rest for 35 to 45 minutes under a damp kitchen towel.
Make the filling: While the dough is resting, place all filling ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to fill the buns.
Make the bao: Cut off pieces of dough that weigh approximately 18 grams. (See note regarding size of buns.) Roll each into a ball and press into a flat circle around 4 inches wide. Place a tablespoon or so of pork filling into the center of the dough. To seal, hold circle in your palm. Pinch the right side together to start the folds, then in a counter-clockwise motion, pinch the remaining in a circle to seal the top of the bun. (For these, the decorative seal, or pleat, is not super important because of the next step. The key is to get all the filling inside with no holes in the dough.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place each bao onto a greased sheet pan or baking dish, sealed side down. Cover lightly with plastic wrap to proof. Keep in a warm place for about 20 minutes, until they have risen slightly.
Brush each bao with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake for 10 minutes more, depending on the oven. You should reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees.