Happy New Year Buns

new years buns

This is a weird picture, but it’s the only one I have – we ate them too quickly. My family traditionally celebrates New Year’s Eve by staying in and eating dumplings. Tonight we made potstickers (fried and then steamed, made with unleavened dough) and baozi (steamed, leavened filled rolls).  We also made a batch of shrimp, ginger, garlic, spinach and water chestnut filling and used it for both batches. Here’s the recipe for the baozi – you’ll need a bamboo or metal tiered steamer and a food processor.

1 Tbs active dry yeast
1  cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg
3 1/2 cups all-purpose wheat flour or bread flour, plus more as needed. You can also use rice flour, barley, whole wheat or corn meal as part of the dry ingredients.

Add flour, sugar and yeast to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix.  Add water, oil and egg; process until well blended and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This is a soft dough.

Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 3 hours depending on the room temperature.

Stretch the dough out into a log with a diameter of about 2.5 inches. I generally let it lie coiled on a large cookie sheet lined with a Silplat. Using kitchen shears, cut the dough into 2 inch pieces (it should make around 25), and let rise again for at least 30 minutes. You can steam these plain for 20-25 minutes,  or you can fill them, like we did tonight. Flatten a piece of dough in your hand (oiling your fingers first makes this easier). Holding the dough cupped in your palm, put about 2 tsp of filling in the middle and fold the edges up in a pleat, squeeze shut. I like to roll the opening underneath the bun so that it doesn”t show, but it’s also traditional to keep them upright, showing off their little topknots.

Any filling you can imagine works well with this dough. I’ve had spicy pork, red bean paste, homemade jam, cream cheese and strawberries, butter-sugar-cinnamon, bean curd and pineapple boazi – they’re all good.

Happy New Year!

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