A sourdough twist on the traditional Chinese steamed milk buns (mantou). I really like sourdough in flavored steamed buns– especially for flavors like coffee, which has an acidic profile. It compliments the light tang of the sourdough really well. To a point this may even work well as a long ferment/overnight dough (using maybe only 25g of starter). This recipe uses sourdough for leavening so the initial rise time takes about 3-4 hours with a secondary rise of about 1.5-2 hours. I would suggest prepping the dough early in the morning so it is ready to bake for lunch or in the afternoon.
For a non-sourdough version, leverage the dough from Basic Steamed Buns and add espresso.
Looking for other steamed bun recipes? Check out these posts:
- Sourdough Basic Steamed Buns
- Black Sesame Bao & Mantou (Steamed Bun)
- Sourdough Chocolate Marzipan Mantou
Sourdough Espresso Mantou (Steamed Buns)
- 6 g espresso powder
- 80 g milk or milk of choice or water
- 15 g vegetable oil
- 120 g sourdough starter, active discard*, or sweet levain**
- 35 g granulated sugar
- 180 g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder***
- Heat up milk in a microwave for 30s. Dissolve espresso powder and sugar. Add oil. Test the temperature– it should be warm but not too hot. Mix in sourdough starter or discard– I usually use discard straight from the fridge.
- Combine together flour and baking powder. Mix in baking powder and flour until no traces of dry flour remain. Cover and rest it for 30 minutes.
- After resting, knead the dough until smooth ~10 minutes. Cover and let rise for 2-4 hours depending on how active your starter is and the environment. Using discard from the fridge, with a room temp of around 75F, mine is typically ready to go in about 3.5 hours.
- It is now time to shape the dough. There are a lot of options here, my favorite is to create twists. Check the notes for more options. Divide the dough into 8 even pieces. Flatten and cut strips in the dough, leaving the top and bottom connected. Brush with oil. Holding the top and bottom edges, stretch and twist the dough into a rope. Hold one end between your thumb and pointer finger and twist the rope around your pointer finger, creating a gap in the middle, and tuck the end into the gap. Place seam side down on parchment in the steamer. Repeat.
- Cover the steam basket and let the dough prove for 1.5-2 hours in a warm place.
- Add water to a pot and turn your stove on high. Place the steam basket on top and steam for about 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the buns sit covered for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Storage: You can freeze the buns once they have cooled. To reheat, just pop it back into the steam basket and repeat the steaming step.
- adding some white vinegar to the steaming water helps prevent any greying in the dough