Like the latest bunch of food-reated words added to The Oxford Dictionary including Bibimbap, Banh mi, Eton mess, California roll, muffin top, doughnut hole plus a few less known words such as Taquito and Kleftiko. The word bao should be also be made into the dictionary. After all, it was in the Song Dynasty that the bao found its meaning - filled buns, to distinguishing itself from its plain sibling mantou which obviously refers to unfilled buns.That was definitely way long before the westernize sushi came about.
Good bao skin is critical for a delicious bao. I got to know that in commercial chinese kitchen, the bao masters add ingredients like ammonia, lard, double action baking powder and vinegar to get that quality baos. It's added to make the bao's texture soft, fluffy and white.
My recipe is not the standard but rather of my experimentations. However it is, it meets the quality of soft, fluffy and white. That is what that matters, isn't it?
This bao dough recipe can be enjoyed plainly as mantou (馒头) or like what I am posting here with the addition of spring onions simply twisted to a knots, huajuan (花卷) or flower knots, traditionally eaten plain for breakfast, snacks or to mainly as a vehicle to soak up the sauce in a dish. Before we start thinking of the variety of fillings, let us talk about the bao dough first.