Bao Dough

Char Siu (Chinese barbecued pork) and red bean paste are the traditional fillings for bao, but the possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting.

Serves: 10Hands-on: 15 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 10


  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 3⁄4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil


  • Proof the yeast in water with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the baking powder, and the flour. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Once the dough begins to form into a ball, add the oil. Using your fingers, gather up the dough and knead in the oil. Transfer the dough to a work surface and continue kneading about 5 minutes, until it is smooth and slightly elastic.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat completely. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Punch down the dough. Knead again gently until it is in one smooth ball again. It is now ready for use.