Today, I made some steamed bread.
Steamed bread has similar texture as baked bread. The main differences between these two kinds of bread are (1) traditional steamed bread contains neither vegetable oil nor fat; (2) a steamer is required in preparing steamed bread. In my eyes, steamed bread is healthier than baked bread due to its fat-free and low-sugar.
Usually, I made three types of steamed bread, without filling, with red-bean paste filling and with pork/beef mince filling. All of them are prepared based on the same dough recipe.
As baked bread, different flour or flour mixtures can be used to make the dough. My favourites are all purpose flour, mixture of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour, mixture of all purpose flour and dry soy residue.
Here are the directions:
In warm water, sprinkle yeast and let sit until foamy;
In a mixing bowl, blend flour or flour mixture, sugar, soy flour, baking powder (see table above);
Blend in yeast solution and then add water;
Knead until dough is elastic and smooth;
Slightly grease a stainless-steel 2 qt. bowl, place dough in the bowl, and air-tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap;
Let the dough rise at room temperature or in the fridge until double in bulk (1 hour for warm rise, 6 hour for cool rise);
Knead to release carbon dioxide and form dough into a round smooth ball;
Divide dough into four portions and form each portion into neat round ball;
As making rolls of loaf, roll each ball into rectangle, fold into third, overlap to the centre. Roll firmly into a long strip. Start from the short end, roll up the strip lightly, and pinch together along the crease. Cut into two widthwise. Place them in a floured pan, and cover with damp cloth.
If you prefer very simple round dough, forget the directions marked in blue color. Just divide dough into eight portions and form each portion into neat round ball. That's it.
Let them proof at room temperature for 2o minutes.
As setting double boiler, the lower pot should fit the size of upper bamboo steamer.
Put cold water in lower pot (about 1/3) and place a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon in the water to prevent from superheating;
Line bamboo steamer with single-layer cheesecloth, wet cheesecloth with tap water thoroughly, so that steamed bread will not stick on the cloth;
Place dough in steamer, leaving enough space among them, so that they won't stick together after final rising;
Sit steamer on lower pot, cover bamboo steamer with its bamboo cover;
Heat with high power and bring water to boil, after steam rise through bamboo cover which means the whole steamer is filled with steam, cook for 15 minutes;
Shut down power, don't open the cover, let the whole system sit for another 3 minutes;
Okay, now, remove cover, cool steamed bread on wire rack.
(3) Preserve and serve
Steamed bread can be stored in the fridge for many days.
It is recommended to serve warm steamed bread.
In microwave, place chilled steamed bread in a container (with cover), sprinkle some water on steamed bread, heat 1 minute under high power; if not warm enough, heat another 30 seconds. Overheating steamed bread will dehydrate bread and turn bread as hard as stone.
Chilled steamed bread can be cut in half with a serrated knife, sprinkled with some water and baked in a toaster.
Sliced steamed bread can even be deep-fried as well.