This homemade dough recipe of mine always gets such great feedback from you guys. And, while these mantou bun knots look intricate, it’s actually a lot easier than you think. Use them for mopping up a sweet dip, a savoury sauce like Singapore chilli crab, or slice them in half and use them like a bao.
2 hours 45 minutes
360g (12 oz) plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
20g (0.7 oz) skim milk powder
4g (0.14 oz) baking powder
5g (0.18 oz) instant dry yeast
35g (1 oz) sugar
35g (1 oz) vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing the dough
200g (7 oz) warm water
14 squares of baking paper, about 10x10cm (or 4×4”)
sweetened condensed milk, for dipping
Place the flour, milk powder, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the vegetable oil and water. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Stir with a spoon and then use your hands to knead until the dough comes together. Empty out onto your benchtop and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth, adding extra flour a teaspoon at a time if the dough sticks to the palm of your hand. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover and rest in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Once risen, transfer the dough to your benchtop and dust with flour. ‘Punch down’ the dough by kneading it for 5 to 10 minutes. The aim here is to remove as many air bubbles as possible. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll a portion out into a thick cylinder and divide that into 6 pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough portions so that you have 24 equal portions of dough.
Take 1 piece of dough and roll it out into a thin rope about 30cm (roughly 12”) long. Take another piece and roll that out into an identical thin rope. Loosely place the two ropes side by side and then fold into a loose knot. Bring one end up and over the knot and tuck underneath. Do the same with the final end (watch the video for the technique here). Place on a square of baking paper. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have 12 mantou knots. Cover the knots with a damp tea towel. Set aside to prove for 30 minutes.
Fill a wok one-third full with water and place over high heat. When the water is boiling, place a bamboo steamer over the wok and steam buns for 12 minutes. Serve the buns warm with sweetened condensed milk for dipping.
– As this recipe requires a degree of precision, I prefer to weigh out these ingredients rather than use cups or spoons. It’s also why I haven’t provided any weight conversions. In short, you should definitely use kitchen scales!