Birthday Bao Buns

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided half
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (use bleached flour if you want complete white buns)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Combine warm water, milk, active yeast, sugar and oil. Whisk to let yeast and sugar to dissolve then let it sit until yeast activates, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer. You could make with your hand too if you prefer.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients to dry ingredients mixture. Mix then kneed by hand for about 5 min. The dough will turn shaggy first. Then should become elastic and very soft but not stick to your fingers or on the mixing bowl.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until it becomes triple size, about 2 hours. Let it sit longer if needed.
  5. Place the raised dough on a working surface. Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough 3 1/2-inch circle with a ring mold or glass. This recipe will make 14 o 16 baos.
  6. Lightly spray or paint oil on one surface of the baos and fold in half as a half moon shape. Gently press each bao with a roller and place on a parchment paper or coffee filter lined steamer. Cover with a lid and let it rest for additional 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring water to boil on a wok or steamer pot. Carefully place the steamer with the baos on top of boiling water wok/pot. Make sure water is not touching the baos. Cover and steam for 10 minutes.  Spray some water on coffee filter to prevent the dough from sticking. You can serve this bao as a side or make sandwich! Enjoy!