Prepared with a rice flour-and-starch dough, these steamed gluten-free bao remind me of sticky-rice dumplings, though the gluten-free ones are firmer, buff in color, and bit translucent in appearance. They’re good tasting and I'd gladly offer them to guests who have a difficult time with gluten.
You’ll have to let the formed buns rise in a deep baking pan, then transfer them to a steamer tray to cook. When I let the buns rise in a bamboo steamer tray, the dough didn’t have a warm enough environment to rise due to the open nature of the steamer tray. It took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to get yeasty action going.
There are endless filling options. I used the char siu pork filling from Asian Dumplings for the filled ones above; any of the other bao fillings from the book should work for savory or sweet buns. Or, try the chicken and mushroom filling from Asian Dumpling Tips. If you tweak the fillings with gluten-free Asian ingredients, make sure you create a filling with oomph because that will guarantee a good bun.
Gluten-Free Baked Buns
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, red bean paste, mung bean paste, see Asian Dumplings, pages 100-102, 203-204), or chicken and shiitake filling
1. Cut out sixteen, 2 1/2-inch squares of parchment paper. Arrange them in 1 large or 2 medium baking pans.
2. Work with half the dough at a time. Generously 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.
3. For each bun, take a piece of dough, 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.
Place the ball on a parchment paper square, seam side down. Repeat to make more before working on the other half of dough.
4. 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, get a pot of water ready for steaming.
5. Transfer the buns with their paper square to a steamer tray. (I used bamboo to wick away moisture.)
- Gluten-Free Bun Trilogy: Dough Recipe
- Baked 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?