Baked gluten-free buns are less tricky to make than steamed ones because you bake them in the same pan that you let them rise in. The result looks like giant macarons or pfeffernusse – low domes. They’re firmer and denser than your typical baked bao, but they are tasty in their own right.
Making a flavorful filling is important because it stamps the bao with extra texture and savor. I used char siu pork for the ones pictured above. Other filling options are mentioned below for savory and sweet buns. If you’re super sensitive to gluten, you’ll have to figure out alternatives for certain Asian ingredients used in the fillings. See this post for guidance on gluten-free Asian ingredients.
Gluten-Free Baked Bao
1 recipe Gluten-Free Bun Dough (see Gluten-Free Bun Trilogy post)
1 1/3 cups bao filling (char siu, curried chicken, vegetable and tofu for savory buns; red bean paste and mung bean paste for sweet buns; see Asian Dumplings, pages 100-102, 203-204), or chicken and shiitake filling
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons honey diluted with 1 tablespoon water
1. Line 1 large or 2 medium baking pans with parchment. Work with half the dough at a time. Amply dust the work surface with about 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour. Put half of the dough on top and gently shape and roll into a thick 8 to 10 inch log. Cut it crosswise into 8 pieces.
2. For each bun, take a piece of dough, gently pat it into a 1/4-inch-thick round (2 1/2 to 3 inches wide). Center 4 teaspoons of filling on top, then nudge and pinch the dough together to close it up around the filling and form a ball. This is nearly closed up:
3. Tightly cover the pan(s) with plastic wrap, then slide them into the oven. Turn on the light to keep the buns warm. Let rise for 60 minutes.
During the final 15-20 minutes, remove the pans from the oven and place them atop the stove to stay warm. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F.
4. When rising time is up, brush the buns with egg, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, let the buns rest for 5 minutes, then brush honey on the buns. (If you are baking in advance, reheat the buns in a 350F oven for 5 to 6 minutes or microwave oven, until hot. Then cool and brush on the honey glaze.)
Let the buns cool for a few minutes and soften from the honey before eating.
- Gluten-Free Bun Trilogy: Dough Recipe
- Steamed Gluten-Free Bun (Bao) Recipe
- Gluten-Free Pot Stickers: Recipe Trial & Dough 3 (sorghum, sweet rice, and tapioca starch dough)
- Gluten-Free Pot Stickers: Recipe Trial & Dough 2 (millet, sorghum, tapioca, and potato dough; includes tips on working with GF dumpling dough)
- Gluten-free Pot Stickers: Recipe Trial 1 (on Asiandumplingtips.com)
- Guide to Building an Asian Dumpling Pantry
- Tolerance Test: Are Gluten-Free Asian Ingredients for You?