When I’m planning what to cook for my next meal, I usually start with the carbs. Rice, noodles, oats. These are my go-to’s for a quick fix, but mantou (Chinese for steamed bun) is my definite favorite. It requires a little extra planning, but the satisfaction of nomming on a warm, springy loaf materialized from just a few simple ingredients gets me every time. As part of a complete meal, it’s an ideal sponge for sauces or as a partner for a thin soup. For the most basic mantou, flour, yeast, and milk are all you need, but there are plenty of ways to dress it up, too! Add a little sugar if you prefer them extra sweet. Wrap veggies and meat filling inside for savory baozi. Or like in this recipe, add a bit of buckwheat flour and roll in some scallions for yet another savory variety!
Scallion Steamed Buns 花卷
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour*
- ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp salt
*Or as pictured: 4 cups all-purpose flour + ½ cup buckwheat flour
- Combine flour and yeast in a 6-quart stockpot and mix with chopsticks.
- Add milk and continue mixing with chopsticks until ingredients start to come together.
- Using hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes. The final dough should be smooth and soft but not sticky (Adjust with milk/water or flour as needed; note: the buckwheat variety will need extra liquid). Cover and place in a warm place to rise for ~4 hours until the dough doubles in size. (If you’re short on time, add 1 tsp yeast instead of ½ tsp in step 1.)
- After the dough has risen, remove from the pot and place onto a lightly floured cutting board. Roll the dough out into a long rectangular sheet.
- Mix together scallions, oil, and salt. Distribute this mixture over the dough, leaving a 1″ margin at the top edge. From the bottom edge, roll the dough towards the top edge into a log.
- Cut the log into 10 even pieces. Leave the pieces on the cutting board to proof for 20 minutes. Steam for 20 minutes.