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Bāozi (aka Bāo) Dough

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Bao in a steamer basket

This dough can be used for both steamed and pan-fried/steamed baozi.

Active Time: 5-15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 24 small bao or 8 large bao


  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons warm water | 165g
  • 3½ teaspoons instant yeast | 11g
  • ¼ cup sugar | 56g
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour | 255g
  • 4½ tablespoons cornstarch | 45g
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder | 6g
  • 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter | 14g


  1. You can use all flour and no corn starch for a slightly firmer bao. Additionally, you can use self-raising flour which is typically a lower protein flour without the corn starch, and without the baking power. 


  1. In a small bowl, add yeast, sugar, water. Whisk to combine and fully dissolve the yeast The water should be about 100-110°F (38-43°C). Too hot (>120°F/49°C) and you could kill the yeast.
  2. Add the flour, corn starch, and baking powder to the bowl of your /food processor/mixer.

Food Processor with the dough blade or cutting blade

  1. With the motor running, slowly drizzle the water/yeast/sugar mixture into the work bowl. Process for about 30-45 seconds. The dough should for itself into a ball.
  2. Add the butter and process for another 30-45 seconds.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover. Rest for 40 minutes. In this time, the dough should double.

Stand Mixer with the dough hook

  1. Run the motor on low for 10 seconds to distribute the cornstarch and baking power. Then slowly add the water/yeast/sugar mixture until the liquid is absorbed (~1 minute) and then knead the dough at medium-low speed for about 8 minutes, then add the softened butter and continue to knead until the butter is fully incorporated and you have a smooth dough. It will likely still tear a little if you try and do a window pane test. The dough will improve as it rests.
  2. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover. Rest for 40 minutes. In this time, the dough should double.

More information about cooking pan fried baozi.


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