Steamed Scallion Buns 香葱花卷

Steamed chinese buns twirled wth a savoury filling of fragrant chopped scallions. 

I had a pack of Hong Kong flour in my cupboard for a super looong time and I today decided it would be time to finally use it. 

I was so surprised how easy it is to make my own pau dough. Paus, or 包子 are usually filled with a pork and cabbage filling, chicken and hard boiled eggs or Char siew, but can also have sweet fillings like red bean paste or lotus seed paste. My favourite way to eat it though is actually deep fried mantou, which have no filling, dipped in a decadent bowl of chilli crab gravy. 

But anyway, back to these buns. These steamed scallion buns are more of a Taiwanese take on steamed buns. A basic pau dough is rolled out into a large rectangle, lightly brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and white pepper, and sprinkled with a generous amount of chopped scallions. The dough is then folded into thirds, cut and twirled. The twirling method I used is a little more complicated! If you prefer not to follow the method as stated, feel free to just roll it up like a cinnamon roll, it will taste just as delicious. 

The pau dough is actually much easier to make than you think it is. It is even easier than making a classic bread dough. All you need is low protein flour, sugar, yeast and water! The best type of flour to use is Hong Kong flour or pau flour, which is highly refined and will give your buns a whiter colour, but cake flour or all purpose flour would work as well! Since we are using low protein flour, you won't be able to knead it till it reaches a windowpane stage like you would in bread dough, but just knead it till its smooth and springy, about 5-10 minutes. 

The proving time for these buns are quite short too, with only 5 minutes rest during the first rise and 20 minutes for the second rise. Like making crusty artisan bread, these buns get a nice "oven spring" once they hit the oven, where they get most of their volume and air. So do remember to leave some space between the buns! 

Steamed Scallion Buns 
135g water 
3g yeast (3/4 tsp) 
250g Hong Kong flour 
15g caster sugar 
5g oil 

2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp salt 
White pepper 
40g scallions 

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dough and knead it until smooth and springy, about 5-10 minutes. 
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. 
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Chop up the scallions into thin rounds. 
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle and brush with the 2 tsp oil. Sprinkle with salt, white pepper and scallions. 
Fold the dough into 3 like a letter. 
Cut the dough into 14 pieces. 
Take 2 pieces of dough, stack them up one on top of the other, and using a skewer, make a deep indent into the centre of the dough.
Stretch the 2 pieces of dough, which would have now been pressed into one piece, as long as possible. 
Place the centre of the dough strip around a skewer. 
Holding the skewer with your left hand and the 2 ends of the dough strip on your right, twist the skewer such that the 2 ends of the dough strip intertwine to form a ball. 
Slide the ball of dough out of the skewer and placed on a parchment lined steamer basket. 
Repeat for the rest of the dough. 
Let the buns rest, covered, for 20 minutes. 
Steam in a preheated steamer for 12 minutes. 

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