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Lockdown Buns

I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed cooking for other people until I couldn’t.

Melbourne is in Stage Four lockdown until at least the end of October. No visitors allowed in the house (unless it’s an intimate partner, or you live on your own and you form a social bubble with another person), no sharing of food, no travelling out of the house unless it’s within the four specified reasons, no travelling outside a 5km radius outside your house, no travelling during the 9pm-5am curfew…

Even writing all that was exhausting!

Anyway, before all this, I used to cook for people a lot. Whether it be for my partner (who hasn’t been able to visit as easily anymore due to distance), family, friends or colleagues… I actually really enjoy cooking for peeps!

But now that I can’t really do that anymore, it’s made this hobby of mine a little less enjoyable.

So I’ve been cooking for my housemate, just to sort of motivate myself to do something ‘weekend’ like on weekends. It’s starting to feel a lot like Groundhog Day so I’m trying to do something special on weekends.

Today’s project was making pork buns. I’ve never made it before, so I googled a recipe and gave it a go.

I’m just gonna write the recipe out first, because I hate pages that include photos and comments before the ingredients list šŸ˜‚

This, and quite a few other recipes, used quite a similar filling to my Gyoza.

  • 500g pork mince
  • 4 cm x 4 cm chunk of ginger, finely minced
  • 20 g dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and then chopped finely
  • 120 g bamboo shoot (the recipe called for more, but the one I found tasted so bland I used less of it) chopped finely
  • 8 stalks of spring onion (but used only the end closer to the roots) chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons each of soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil
  • 1 table spoon oyster sauce

Essentially all you need to do is finely chop all the veges and shrooms, then combine it all in a bowl. That’s literally it. You can prep this while the dough proofs.

For the dough, this was the first time I’d made a yeast dough.

  • 500 g low gluten flour (e.g. cake flour)
  • 167 g high gluten flour (e.g. bread flour)
  • 50 g sugar
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g dried yeast
  • 13 g baking powder
  • 367g water

All you need to do is combine the dry ingredients (I only had rock salt so I dissolved it in the water), then incorporate very slowly and gently. Much like the gyoza dough, you just have to knead solidly until the dough is relatively smooth and the gluten has developed. I just had some tunes playing and ended up kneading for about 10 minutes.

After that, you just glad wrap it and leave it until doubled in size. I think the room’s about 20 ish degrees (Celsius) and it took about an hour for me.

What it looked like at the start
Go yeasty boyz
And doubled-ish
POKE šŸ‘‡šŸ¼

I didn’t take any photos of the folding, but there are plenty of videos on Youtube for it. All I did was weight between 50-60 g of dough in to a ball, roll it out with a rolling pin into a circle (making sure the edges are thinner than the centre), then put enough filling in that I could still comfortably wrap.

Wrapping was… interesting. Given it’s a sticky dough, it actually stuck to itself very easily. The photo below is my first ever batch.

Fair warning, they do rise, so if you put them too close together, they will touch.

Not too bad for first time pork bun maker

Subsequent buns… I’ll get better at wrapping! Just need more practice…

Now, if you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll know that the convenience stores that litter the streets sell many food items… including pork buns.

I was hoping for a Japanese convenience store pork bun, and so while these were good… they weren’t Family Mart pork bun. They’re still pretty tasty, though, so I recommend giving them a go. To be entirely honest, what made it for me was the dough. It smelt amazing. All yeasty and bready… Highly recommended.

And because I had some left over dough, I just steamed them plain and simple.

I think this is essentially Mantou?

So yes, that was my first foray into pork buns! I’m keen to give these a go when I can have people over again. My mum’s already put her hand up for a taste test.

Stay safe, and take care

Categories: Ph D posts

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A Ph. D graduate in Microbiology, residing in Victoria, Australia. Currently working in multiple locations but still in the STEM field. šŸ‘€ šŸ¦  šŸ§« šŸ§¬

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