Tuesday 22 October 2013

Cute Animal Liu Sha Bao by Phay Shing

Cute Animal Liu Sha Bao (Updated 31 Oct 2013)

Cute animal liu sha bao

This is a follow-up post from my previous panda liu sha bao post. I have used the same 
recipe for the filling as I prefer runny custards but adapted the bao skin recipe from http://honeybeesweets88.blogspot.sg/2011/05/fluffy-soft-steam-buns-chocolate-swirl.html. , which stays soft and fluffy even after cooling down.

Creamy salted egg and milk custard filling
(adapted from http://homeinenglish.pixnet.net/blog/post/41847676-270.%E6%B5%81%E6%B2%99%E5%8C%85. Makes filling for about 11-12 small buns)

55g Salted egg yolks (4 salted egg yolks)
60g Condensed milk 
10g Cake flour 
200g Evaporated milk 
30g Butter

1. Boil the salted eggs for 10 minutes. Peel the eggs and separate the yolk from the white. Mash the egg yolks with the back of a metal spoon.
2. Whisk the condensed milk and cake flour into a paste.
3. Cook the evaporated milk in a pot until it boils then pour it into the condensed milk/cake flour paste. Whisk until everything is incorporated.
4. Pour the mixture back into the pot, add butter and keep cooking until it boils. Turn the heat off. The mixture needs to be stirred constantly so the bottom of the pot won’t burn. 
5. Add the mashed salted egg yolks into the mixture and stir until everything is incorporated. Sieve the mixture to remove any big lumps of egg yolks. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool. Refrigerate the mixture until it sets. I refrigerated it overnight.
6. Once the custard is set, divide into balls of 20 g each, cling wrap each ball tightly and freeze until ready to use. Note: The thickness of the salted egg custard can be changed by adjusting the amount of flour used in the filling.

Basic bao 
The resulting amount of dough is more than required for the bun filling.

Starter dough

90g Hong Kong bao flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
60ml lukewarm water
Pinch of salt

1. Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and mix until a soft smooth dough is formed.
2. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for up to 6-8 hours before use.

Main dough

All of the starter dough
310g Hong Kong bao flour 
170g fresh milk
30g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp baking powder dissolved in 2tsp of water
40g unsalted butter at room temperature

1. Knead everything together except the butter by hand or by using a breadmaker. Once a smooth ball of dough forms, add in butter and continue kneading for 10 min.
2. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place (in Singapore climate, it means just leave it in the kitchen) in a lightly oiled bowl and covered with cling wrap until it doubles in volume (about 1 hour). 
3. Punch the dough down to deflate it and give it a few rounds of kneading to expel all the trapped air.
4. Divide the dough accordingly for the different animals. The ball of dough for each bao weighs approximately 30g*. The dough may be refrigerated at this point until it is time to shape. Keep any portion of dough that is left idle wrapped and refrigerated while you are busy adding flavours to the rest.
5. Roll each portion of dough into a smooth round. 
6. Flatten each dough into a small disc with your palm or a small rolling pin, make the edges thinner and the centre portion thicker. Wrap each dough with the frozen balls of salted egg custard. Pinch and seal the seams. Place dough seam side down on a square piece of parchment paper**.
7. Decorate the buns for the respective animals. Cover loosely with cling wrap and leave buns to proof for 25-30 mins. 
8. Place buns in a steamer and space them apart so that they do not touch one another. Steam at medium high heat for 10mins (make sure the water is already boiling before steaming). When ready, remove the lid carefully to prevent water from dripping over the buns. Keep any leftovers in fridge (covered with cling wrap or store in airtight containers) and re-steam till hot before serving.

Coloured/ flavoured dough
I have chosen to make 3 baos for each type of animal, so I portioned out 90g of plain dough for 
panda, 93g each for the bear and koala (a bit more dough required for the ears), and 58g for the tiger (adding sweet potato puree later). Set aside 40g of plain dough for making the white features of the animals' faces and 40g of plain dough for making the black features of the animals' faces.

Black dough
Add 14g of black sesame powder*** with sugar added (can be bought from supermarkets like Cold Storage) to the 40g of plain dough. Knead together until well combined. If the dough gets too sticky, add a bit of Hong Kong bao flour.

Grey dough
Add 6g of black sesame powder (with sugar added) to 93g of plain dough. Knead together until well combined. There should not be a need to add bao flour as it is not as sticky as the black dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions.

Brown dough
Add 1/2tsp of cocoa powder to 93g of plain dough. Knead until well combined. If you desire a darker brown colour for the bear, you may wish to add a bit more cocoa powder. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.

Orange dough


35g orange sweet potato puree (Peel and cut sweet potato into small cubes, steam for 25min, drain off excess water and mash)
10g Hong Kong bao flour
1/16 tsp instant yeast
1/16 tsp baking powder
58g plain bao dough

1. Combine all of the above and knead until smooth. 
2. Add more bao flour a bit at a time if the dough is still too sticky.
3. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.

Shaping animal buns
Panda bao

1. Wrap the a ball of custard with 30g of plain white dough. 
2. Shape and attach the ears, nose and eye patches using bits of black dough in the order mentioned to facilitate the positioning of facial features.

Koala bao
1. Pinch out a small portion of the grey dough from the 31g grey dough portion to form the ears of the koala. Put bits of white dough in the centers of the grey ears. 
2. Wrap a ball of custard with ~30g grey dough.
3. Stick the ears to the bun.
4. Shape the nose and eyes of the koala from the black dough and stick them to the bun, in the order mentioned to facilitate the positioning of facial features. 

Bear bao
1. Pinch out a small portion of the brown dough from the 31g brown dough portion to form the ears of the bear. Put bits of white dough in the centers of the brown ears.
2. Wrap a ball of custard with ~30g brown dough.
3. Stick the ears to the bun.
4. Shape the nose patch from some white dough and position it in the middle of the bear's face. 
5. Shape small black balls of dough for the nose and eyes and attach them in the order mentioned.

Tiger bao
1. Pinch out a small portion of the orange dough from the 33-35g orange dough portion to form the ears of the tiger.
2. Wrap a ball of custard with orange dough.
3. Stick the ears to the bun.
4. Shape the nose patch by sticking two small flattened balls of white dough next to each other. Stick a small ball of black dough between the two white balls of dough to form the nose. Shape the mouth of the tiger using black dough and stick it to the white nose patch. Stick this whole assembly to the bun with the nose at the center of the face.
5. Shape and attach the eyes and stripes using black dough. 3 stripes on the forehead and 2 stripes across each cheek.

Diagrams for shaping animals

*You may increase the amount of dough for each bao to 35g as baos with 30g of dough may be more prone to leaking after steaming if not sealed well.

**Baos may tend to be a bit flat after steaming as the filling is liquid. To get puffier buns, place bun in a metal foil tart casing lined with paper cupcake liners to proof and steam.

***Alternatively, you can prepare your own black sesame powder by grinding roasted black sesame seeds using a food processor or mortar and pestle, sifting the ground black sesame and then adding sugar to the powder if you prefer it to be less bitter.

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