Cheeseburger Steamed Buns (Bao)

(See Video Recipe Below)

Bao’s – or steamed buns if you will – have already made their victory lap across the globe, years ago now. But they still manage to amaze where ever you get them. The light fluffy buns often filled with fatty pork, pickled veggies and other asian inspired condiments and toppings, are delicious – and I always seem to search out bao’s where ever i go.

For this recipe I’ve taken the bao’s in a different direction. The buns are the same – the filling not. Why not use the delicate and airy dough pillows of goodness, the same way you’d use a burger bun? Stuffing them with beef patties and what you’d normally find on a good burger.

I’ve made to variations – one Classic – with lettuce, onion, cheddar, and spicy ketchup mayo, and one Blue Cheese/Bacon – with blue cheese, bacon, red onion and apricot jam.

Makes about 6-10 buns
Dough:
1 cup (250g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1/4 cup (50 ml.) milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil
½ cup lukewarm water
pinch of salt

Burgers:
1.1 pounds (500g) minced beef
1 pack bacon slices
4 tbsp abricot jam
4 – 6 slices blue cheese or ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 onion thinly sliced
1 red onion thinly sliced
½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
½ cup pickles (slices)
salt and cracked black pepper
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Spicy Ketchup Mayo:
2 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh red chilli (de-seeded)

For the dough – put all the dry ingredients into a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Pour in milk, oil and water and work the dough for about 10 minutes. You can knead the dough by hand, in the same way. When the dough is smooth and elastic, transfer to a oiled bowl covered by a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise to about double size (1 hour).
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a sausage shape. Cut the sausage into 6-10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll each bun out into an oval. Lightly smear oil to each one, then fold them over a greased chopstick or skewer and place on a lightly oiled baking tray to rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Remove the chopstick or skewer before steaming.
Steam the buns, when ready, in a bamboo steamer or similar, for 10 minutes over boiling water. Place the buns on parchment paper so they don’t stick to the steamer.

Put all ingredients for the spicy ketchup mayo into a small bowl, and stir until well combined.

Form the minced beef into small balls, and then flatten them into thin patties. Lighty sprinkle with salt (and cracked black pepper for the Blue Cheese bao). Sear in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes on each side. Add the cheese to the patty after you’ve flipped it.

For the Classic – When the bun comes out of the steamer, lightly smear oil to the top fold, and dip it in sesame seeds. Fold out the bun and smear it with ketchup mayo, add in the patty, the cheese, lettuce, onion and pickles and top with more ketchup mayo.

For the Blue Cheese/Bacon – Fold out the bun, smear it with apricot jam, add in the patty, blue cheese, bacon, red onion and top with more jam.

See video below, for how-to:

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