Peach Baozi: We wanted to teach you how to make a Baozi that looks like a peach.
Why make a Baozi that looks like a peach, you might ask?
Well, it’s this old-school thing to make for people’s birthdays and practice we think should maybe make a bit of a comeback.
See as you might already know, peaches in China’ve long been this symbol of longevity and immortality.
You can see it throughout history in art, literature, folklore the most famous story probably coming from a journey to the west, when the Monkey King stole some peaches of immortality and caused a whole hubbub.
Regardless, they are a tasty and impressive looking Baozi that’s honestly not all that much work, and it’s a great chance to show
you how to make some homemade red bean paste.
Now, the thing to understand about red bean paste is that kinda like something like Guacamole, homemade is gonna be like a whole different category of thing, quality-wise, than what you can find at the supermarket.
It’s a bit of a process, but you can make a big batch and it stores really well I promise.
To make it, first, toss 250 grams of thoroughly rinsed red adzuki beans into a big bowl, fill it up with water about an inch over the beans, and let that soak overnight.
Then the next day, just toss them in a pot together with one liter of cool water and a quarter teaspoon of sodium carbonate bring that all up to a boil and down to a simmer, and let that cook over a medium-low flame for one hour.
And while you don’t need too much of an active eye here, definitely stir it every now and then, cuz the beans can scorch on you if you’re not careful.
Then after that time, just transfer that over to a bowl, and it’s time to start rinsing.
Now, there are two main types of red bean pastes – dousha and xisha.
Today we opted for a xisha or ‘rinsed bean paste’ because it is the maximum delicious choice, but we’ll toss a link down below in the notes to a good dousha recipe if you’re feeling a bit lazier.
The idea here is that we’re gonna be rinsing the bean paste off, collecting it in our little cloth bag, while leaving the coarse shells in the strainer.
Any cloth-based solution should work fine – tie up a large cheesecloth, or maybe an old t-shirt just ladle the water in and press all that with a spoon to squeeze out that valuable paste.
If you like, we’ve also got some uncut footage of the process up here if that’s help what you’ll be looking for is for the strainer to have pretty much only hulls remaining, like so.
Once you’re at that point, just remove those shells, and squeeze out that liquid from your bag of paste.
Squeeze what you can, but there’s no need to be too paranoid here because we will be frying this stuff anyway.
So. Toss that in a pot and with the flame off, and mix in a hundred grams of oil – soybean being traditional but anything neutral do the job.
Then once that’s good and mixed toss in fifty grams of granulated sugar together with 100 grams of brown sugar swap the flame to medium-low and cook that down stirring constantly.
This’ll take a bit, about ten to fifteen minutes what you’re looking for everything to thicken nicely into a smooth paste.
You’ll know it’s done if you can feel a bit of resistance when you pull it with a spatula, and the paste can stand without sliding back.
Then at that point, just transfer over to a bowl, and anything you don’t use for this recipe can last pretty much forever in the freezer.
So. Now, let’s make some Baozi.
Before doing anything though, first, grab 110 grams of water and split that between two bowls.
Dissolve ten grams of sugar into one, two grams of yeast into the other, and set those aside.
Then. To a big bowl toss in 200 grams of flour together with a half tsp of baking powder then mix in that sugar water and yeast water bit by bit for about a minute or so, until it’s all nice and shaggy.
Then, toss that on a work surface, and knead it until the surface of your dough is good and smooth, or about eight minutes in all. The quick word that getting to that smooth the stage is super important here – it might take a bit longer or a bit shorter, I know it’s a little hard to see on this camera outside, but you’re looking for something a bit like this.
Once you’ve gotten to that point, add in four grams of lard, and knead that together for another two.
Now, this dough is ready, but we’ll first set aside twelve grams of it to make our little peach leaves setting the rest aside in the fridge so it doesn’t try to rinse on us in the meantime.
Just toss the tiniest drop of green food coloring onto the dough – here we’re using mint green – and continuously split the dough and combine to fold that color in.
Then once that’s good and even, roll it out into a log, and cut it into six even pieces – one for each Baozi. Then just cut that in half, roll it into a cigar shape, flatten it with a bench scraper, and press down to make little lines so that it starts to look a bit leafy.
Place your finished leaves under some plastic wrap as you work so that they don’t dry out in the meantime and these are ready for some buns.
So right. To make your Baozi dough nice and smooth, we’ll first by passing it through a pasta maker on the thickest setting to remove the air.
Working with half the dough at a time, roll it through, fold it in half, roll it through again seven times total.
Then just roll it all up into a log, take each log, and split them into fifty-gram sections, for six sections – six Baozi – in all.
Ok, so. Setup. To a bowl first, toss in one drop of red food coloring together with three tablespoons of water and mix that really well.
To get that peach color, we’ll be using a toothbrush to lightly brush it through a tea strainer, to make a sort of red mist.
The second thing to get ready for is your bean paste – portion out twenty grams of bean paste for each bun roll it in a little ball…
and now we can make some peach-shaped bao.
So. To make it, first, take one of your sections, and with the smoother side down, press it flat.
Then, circle around that disk pulling the edges to the center in order to make a vaguely ball-like object.
Then toss that down on your work surface crinkly side down, and twist that even much like you would if you were shaping bread.
Then take that ball, press it flat once again, and flatten the edges to turn it into a little saucer.
Then put one ball of bean paste in the middle of it, push that paste down into the saucer all while gently pulling the edges up.
Once the ball is suitably inside, just smoosh the excess at the top altogether, and using your purlicue twist it all closed.
Then just pinch that down into the bun, and roll and shape that ugly bit away.
Now to make this look all peachy, pinch and form a nice little tip on your smooth side, then take a bench scraper and press in about two millimeters deep to make the seam of the peach.
Then color that by dipping your trusty toothbrush into the red food coloring, and brunch it over your strainer.
This’ll create that mist that’ll give everything that nice pink color.
Lightly dip your leaves in a bit of water, stick them on the peach, place it all on a square of parchment paper, and you’ve got yourself a Baozi.
Work through your Baozi, and once all those are done, they can proof.
That said, we live in a thoroughly subtropical climate, so ours were already ready to steam sans proof.
What you’ll be looking for is for the dough to be able to slowly bounce back into shape if you gently pressed it with your finger.
Assuming you’re at that point, toss those over some bubbling water, and with your flame on medium-high, steam for eight minutes.
Then, after that time, just shut off the heat and let it sit there for another two.
And then with that, the reveal – fluffy peach-shaped Baozi, plump and ready to impress.
So Birthday Bao is a very traditional birthday dim sum.
I remember often seeing it at some older people’s birthday banquets at the end of the meal and compared to, you know, a big piece of birthday cake, I do think this kind of a little sweet bao is the perfect way to round out a really filling birthday meal.
You can have some bun.
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