Photo above by Steve Lebeau

Yields 30 mini bao



1 1⁄3 cup warm water (142°F)

4 tsp. dry yeast

4 Tbl sugar

2 cups bread flour

1 cup cake flour

2 Tbl salt

½ tsp baking soda

2 Tbl neutral oil


  1. Whisk together the warm water, dry yeast, and sugar until the sugar and yeast are complete dissolved. Wait for 5-10 minutes until bubbly, which indicates that the yeast is active.
  2. Sift together the bread flour, cake flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the yeast mixture. Use a silicone spatula to mix the dry and liquid ingredients together. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
    Bao Dough
  3. Lightly flour your hands with bread flour and knead the dough until it is well-combined and pushes back on your hands slightly. If the dough became too sticky to work, add more bread flour.
  4. Form the dough into a ball. Place it in a container that has room for the dough to double in bulk. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth to prevent the dough from drying out. Find a warm spot in your kitchen to rest the dough for at least 1 ½ hours.
  5. Note: During winter, preheat your oven to 200º F. Once heated, turn the oven off and place the covered bowl with the dough inside the oven to rise.

  6. When the dough has doubled in bulk, it is ready to be shaped and filled.
    Bao Dough

Cabbage and Pork Filling


12 oz. shredded cabbage (use a hand grater for the best texture)

3/4 Tbl salt

12 oz. ground pork (50% lean, 50% fat is ideal)

1/2 tsp white pepper

2 Tbl white parts of scallions, minced

1/2 Tbl grated ginger

3/4 Tbl sugar

1 Tbl sesame oil


  1. Sprinkle salt over the shredded the cabbage. After 15 minutes, squeeze out excess water from cabbage.
    Draining cabbage
  2. Mix the pork and cabbage together, using your hands to knead the mixture.
  3. Add white pepper, scallion, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil to the filling. Continue to knead the filling until it has a sticky, paste-like consistency.
  4. Chill the filling in the refrigerator until you are ready to make bao.
    Note: Jeng recommends popping the filling in the freezer while you work on portioning and shaping the dough.

Garlic Chive, Tofu, and Glass Noodle Filling


1 bundle garlic chives

1–2 bundles dry mung bean threads, or “glass noodles”

Glass noodles

3 pieces extra-firm tofu
Phoenix Bean Smoked Five-Spice Tofu is highly recommended

1 ½ Tbl salt

1 Tbl sugar

2 Tbl sesame oil


  1. Clean and slice the garlic chives into ½-inch pieces. You should have about 1 cup of chopped chives.
  2. Soak the noodles in warm water until they soften. Drain and gently squeeze out the extra water. Cut the noodles, like the chives, into ½-inch pieces. You should have about 1 cup of chopped noodles.
  3. Finely dice the tofu. You should have about 1 cup.
  4. Mix chives, noodles, tofu, salt, sugar, and sesame oil together.
    Bao filling
  5. Chill the filling until you are ready to make bao.
    Note: Jeng recommends popping the filling in the freezer while you work on portioning and shaping the dough.

Filling and Pan Frying Bao

Optional garnish

White sesame seeds

Oyster sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce to accompany dumplings


  1. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a long rope about one inch thick.
  2. Divide each rope into 15 pieces to get a total of 30 pieces from the two ropes.
    Remember: the bao will be at least 1 ½ times larger after cooking.
    Bao dough
  3. Lightly flour the bottom of the dough with bread flour so it does not stick to your hand or to the rolling pin.
  4. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball. Flatten the ball with your palm. Using your hands or a small rolling pin, press thin the edges of each flattened round of dough. This ensures that when you fold in the edges to form the bao, the top will not be too heavy nor too thick.
  5. Lightly flour your hands, especially the thumbs, to help you fold the filling into the dough.
  6. Gently stretch the dough or use the rolling pin until each piece is almost doubled in diameter.
  7. Place about a tablespoon of filling on top of the dough. Using your thumb and index finger, fold the dough over the filling, and pleat the edges to seal the filling inside.
    Filling bao
    Filling bao
    Filling bao
  8. Preheat a large sauté pan with 3 tablespoons of oil over high heat. When oil is shimmering, place the baos in the pan. Leave space between each bao so they can expand.
  9. Add a pinch of bread flour and 1 cup of water to the pan. The dissolved bread flour will create a lacy bottom that sticks to the bao, giving a crunch to the finished dumpling.
    Frying bao
    Frying bao
  10. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan with a lid for 7-10 minutes.
  11. Optional: After 5 minutes, sprinkle white sesame seeds on top of the bao. Cover pan again.
  12. The bao are done when the water in the pan has evaporated and you can see a nice crispy lace lifting up from the bottom of the pan.
    Frying bao
  13. Serve immediately. Some people like to dab on oyster sauce, soy sauce, or hot sauce to the pan-fried bao.

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