Why You Should Try This Steamed Bread Recipe

Steamed Bread Recipe for Beginners and Experts Alike

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Updated on February 25, 2024

Struggling to master the art of perfectly steamed bread? Fear not; we, too, have found ourselves in that same sticky position. After countless efforts and copious amounts of research, it dawned on us—producing mouth-watering steamed bread is actually less complex than it appears. This post unveils our delicately honed recipe for soft-as-a-cloud Chinese-style steamed bread alongside tips for clinching a consistently top-notch result each time around.

So dust off your steamers, chaps—it’s high time we got our aprons on and started cooking!

Key Takeaways

  • Steamed bread, also known as Mantou, is a traditional Chinese treat that is soft, fluffy, and perfect for customising with different fillings or spreads.
  • Key tips for making perfect steamed bread include using the right type of yeast, allowing proper proofing and resting time, and consistently shaping the dough to help it grow tall during steaming.
  • The step-by-step process of making steamed bread involves mixing and kneading the dough until smooth and elastic, proofing it to develop flavour and create a soft texture, and then steaming it to achieve a crispy crust and glossy shine.
  • To enjoy steamed bread, you can get creative with various fillings or spreads, such as sweet red bean paste or pork belly slices.

Why You Should Try This Steamed Bread Recipe

The soft and fluffy texture of this steamed bread recipe makes it a delightful treat that you won’t be able to resist. Plus, it’s a traditional Chinese dish that will suddenly transport your taste buds to the streets of China. And the best part is you can customise it with your favourite fillings or spreads for a personalised touch.

Close-up of steamed bread basket surrounded by traditional Chinese decorations.

Soft and Fluffy Texture

You will definitely love the soft and fluffy texture of this steamed bread. We prepare it from a lean dough using plain white flour, water, yeast, baking powder and sugar. Every bite melts in your mouth. It feels like eating a cloud. This recipe gives you buns that are not just light but also full of taste. Stuff them with sweet red bean paste for a tasty treat. Enjoy the fluffiness with every bite of these buns.

Traditional Chinese Treat

Steamed bread, also called Mantou, is a gem in Chinese cuisine. It carries the charm of tradition right into your kitchen. This fine treat has a long history in China and holds a special place at meal times. The steamed food recipe for making Mantou uses only five key things: flour, instant yeast, oil for cooking, sugar and salt.

Mantou boasts a fluffy texture that sets it apart from other types of bread. It isn’t like the soft milky bread you often find at stores. No, it’s denser yet so delightfully plain-tasting. That’s why you can enjoy it with different fillings or spreads, including kaya jam and butter, without overwhelming your taste buds.

You see, this traditional treat allows great room for creativity; you can adjust it to fit any taste preference.

Versatile and Customisable

You’ll love this steamed bread recipe. It’s so versatile! With just a few tweaks, you can make it your own. Want something sweet? Add in some sugar or fruits. Or, if you fancy savoury, try adding herbs and spices to the dough mix.

You can even shape the dough into cute animals for kids. This adjustable recipe is also perfect for making traditional Chinese treats like mantou or baozi. All with the same soft and fluffy texture that melts in your mouth. Play around with it and create a bread dish tailor-made just for you.

Key Tips for Making Perfect Steamed Bread

To ensure perfect steamed bread, use the right type of yeast, allow proper proofing and resting time, and consistently shape the dough.

Freshly baked steamed bread on a wooden platter surrounded by ingredients.

Use the Right Type of Yeast

Picking the right type of yeast is a big part of making great steamed bread. For this recipe, you need instant yeast. Mix it with some warm milk and sugar to wake it up. This makes a foamy mix that’s ready to use! Some bread recipes also use baking powder along with yeast.

Be sure not to forget to weigh your ingredients correctly. The amount of yeast used matters for the perfect bread texture.

Proper Proofing and Resting Time

Letting the dough rest is a must for tasty steamed bread. After kneading, the dough needs to sit warm for 1 to 4 hours or cool overnight in the fridge. This process is called proofing and helps the yeast make your bread fluffy.

You can tell if it’s ready by poking it gently. If it springs back slowly and leaves an indention, then it’s good to go. The total rest time should be around 1-2 hours, depending on how hot your room is.

Sometimes, during kneading, you might need to stop and let the dough rest, too. Once your dough proves well, you need to score or cut patterns into its surface before baking. This step lets steam escape so that our bread opens up fully while cooking.

Consistent Dough Shaping

Shaping the dough right helps it grow tall during steaming. This leads to fluffy buns that everyone loves. Getting a smooth, tall shape every time is key. A foolproof plan can make all the difference in your Bao Bun making. Enjoy perfect steamed bread every time with these tips on shaping!


Step-by-Step Guide to Making Steamed Bread

Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making this delicious steamed bread recipe. Get ready for a culinary adventure! Read more to uncover the secrets behind creating soft and fluffy steamed bread.

Ingredients and Measurements

For a tasty steamed bread, you need five key items. You’ll require flour, quick-acting yeast, cooking oil, sugar and salt for your dough. If you fancy the Chinese-style buns, use all-purpose flour along with warm water.

Also, add active dry yeast and white sugar into it. For tempting Vietnamese Banh Bao variety of steamed pork buns, include some extra things like ground pork. Add wood-ear mushrooms to it for an earthy flavour. Don’t forget hard-boiled quail eggs and Chinese sausage as well. But be careful in your measures because each recipe needs its own amounts for the best outcome.

Mixing and Kneading the Dough

When making steamed bread, one important step is mixing and kneading the dough. This helps develop gluten and give the bread its soft and fluffy texture. To make things easier, we recommend using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. It will do most of the work for you. First, add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer – flour, yeast, baking powder, and salt. Give it a quick mix to combine everything together.

Then, slowly pour in the wet ingredients – warm water or milk, oil or melted butter – while the mixer is running on low speed until a sticky dough forms. Once everything comes together, increase the speed to medium and let it mix for about 5-7 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough.

Proofing and Steaming Process

To make the perfect steamed bread, the proofing and steaming process is crucial. It helps to create that soft and airy texture we all love. During the proofing stage, the dough rises and develops flavour, making your bread taste even better.

When it’s time to steam, this is what gives your bread a crispy crust and a beautiful shine. To add steam to your oven, spray warm water on the loaf or use a steam oven. This steam also plays an important role during the proving stage, helping to create that glossy crust on your bread. So don’t skip these steps if you want fluffy and delicious steamed bread!


Serving and Storage Suggestions

To enjoy the steamed bread, you can get creative with various fillings or spreads such as sweet red bean paste, pork belly slices, or even Nutella. Leftover steamed bread can be kept at room temperature inside any airtight container for up to two days or frozen for a longer shelf life.

Enjoying Steamed Bread With Various Fillings or Spreads

We love steamed bread because it can be enjoyed with so many different fillings or spreads. Whether you prefer savoury or sweet, there are endless possibilities for delicious combinations.

You can try classic fillings like pork or chicken or get creative with vegetarian options like mushrooms or tofu. For those with a sweet tooth, you can use chocolate spread, fruit jams, or even custard as a filling. The soft texture of the bread pairs perfectly with these flavourful fillings, making every bite a delight. So go ahead and experiment with different combinations to find your favourite!

Storing Leftover Steamed Bread for Later Use.

After you’ve enjoyed your steamed bread, it’s important to store any leftovers properly to keep them fresh for later. The best way to do this is by placing the leftover steamed bread in an airtight container or a freezer-safe ziplock bag.

This will help maintain its soft and fluffy texture. When reheating the leftovers, make sure to heat them to a safe temperature for food safety reasons. You can use methods like microwaving or using an oven to warm up the bread again. By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy your leftover steamed bread just as much as when it was freshly made.


In conclusion, this steamed bread recipe is a must-try for anyone looking to enjoy soft and fluffy bread with a unique Chinese twist. With its versatile nature and customisable fillings, it’s sure to satisfy your cravings.

Follow the key tips and step-by-step guide provided for perfect results every time. So go ahead, give this traditional treat a try and indulge in the delightfully light and flavourful experience of homemade steamed bread!


1. How long does it take to steam the bread?

Steaming the bread usually takes around 20-30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the dough.

2. Can I use self-rising flour for steamed bread?

Yes, you can use self-rising flour for steamed bread by omitting or reducing the amount of yeast in the recipe.

3. Can I add flavours or fillings to my steamed bread?

Yes, you can add flavours like herbs or spices to your dough before steaming. You can also incorporate fillings like sweet or savoury ingredients between layers of dough.

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