Barbecue Pork Buns
Makes 12 buns
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) canola oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves (10 grams), minced
  • 1½ teaspoons (8 grams) minced fresh ginger
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cooked pork*, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1½ tablespoons (27 grams) hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) oyster sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) rice vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons (48 grams) plus 1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (4 grams) finely chopped fresh chives
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
  • 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • Garnish: chopped fresh chives
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon (14 grams) oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pork, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chives. Let cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together ½ cup (120 grams) warm water, 1 tablespoon (12 grams) sugar, and yeast until combined. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch. Add flour mixture, milk, salt, remaining 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons (28 grams) oil to yeast mixture. Beat at medium-low speed just until combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until a smooth, elastic dough forms, 8 to 10 minutes. (Dough should pass the windowpane test; see Note.) Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  4. Poke 20 evenly spaced holes in bottom of 2 (9-inch round) foil cake pans. Place 1 cake pan, upside down, in a large Dutch oven*, and pour water to a depth of ½ inch in pot. Carefully flatten remaining cake pan to use as a steamer rack. Cut out 12 (4-inch) squares of parchment paper.
  5. Punch down dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead a few times to release air bubbles. Divide dough into 12 portions (about 59 grams each). Shape each portion, one at a time, into a ball, and press into a 3-inch disk. (Keep remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out.) Using a small rolling pin, such as a fondant rolling pin, roll edges of disks to ¼-inch thickness, creating a 4½-inch circle, keeping the center thicker than the edges. (The thinner edges will help your pleats have better definition.)
  6. Place a circle of dough in the palm of your hand. Place 1 rounded tablespoon filling (about 24 grams) in center. Using the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, pleat and pinch dough edges to enclose filling, rotating dough in your palm as you go. Tightly pinch together the top to seal, pulling dough up to a point and pinching off excess dough. (For best shape, place shaped bun on a work surface and gently cup with both hands to round it out.)
  7. Place each bun on a parchment square, and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. (It’s best to begin steaming buns about 30 minutes after shaping. If you need more time to shape your buns, loosely cover buns with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to keep them from overproofing.)
  8. Place 3 buns, still on parchment squares, on prepared steamer rack; place over inverted cake pan in prepared pot, and cover with lid. Bring water to a boil over high heat; immediately reduce heat to medium-high, and steam buns for 15 minutes. Immediately turn off heat, and let buns stand in the unopened pot for 2 minutes.
  9. Using two pairs of tongs, carefully remove buns by lifting steamer rack from pot. Remove buns from rack. Repeat with remaining buns, adding additional water to pot as needed. Garnish with chives, if desired.
*We used Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Pork Belly. Instead of a Dutch oven, a deep skillet or wok can also be used.

Note: Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute more, and test again.
Recipe by Bake from Scratch at