I’ve been trying several versions of manapua dough, or steamed bun dough used in Bao or BBQ steamed pork buns. This is the basic version of it using all white flour. I’ve been thinking of experimenting with different liquids and flours to see which puts out the best texture for the buns. This one is soft and good and of course you can use it in several ways filling it with a meat or veggie filling or you can fold it over and steam it to make a bun or pocket. But this is one of the basics for the dough. You can try to vary it if you want to change up the texture, but if you can figure out a way to make it just like the Manapua shops then please let me know!
3 ½ C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
¼ C Warm Water (100°-115°F)
¼ C Splenda Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 pkt Active Dry Yeast
½ C Evaporated Milk
Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a microwave safe measuring cup, measure out ¼ C water and microwave for 40-60 seconds on High. Dissolve sugar into the water and let it sit until the water reached 100°-115°F. Add in your dry active yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should foam and double.
Combine yeast mixture to flour mixture and gently mix, there will not be enough liquid, so just get it slightly blended.
Measure out ½ C Evaporated milk and heat for 40-60 seconds on High. Let it cool to about 95°F, then add to your mixture and mix well until a dough forms.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth. When smooth, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set in at room temperature (or slightly warmer/humid area) for 2-3 hours or until doubled in volume. Once the dough has risen, punch down and separate into evenly divided balls about 1-2” in diameter.
Bun: Flatten dough ball in the palm of your hand and make an oval shape. Fold the dough in half with the 2 tips touching, DO NOT press together. Brush oil on the bottom of the bun (the side which will be on the steamer).
Filled: Flatten dough ball in the palm of your hand and fill with desired filling and pinched closed
When cooking, use a steamer (bamboo preferred). Let the dough (with filling or without) sit at room temperature for about 10-20 minutes before you start your steam. Use this time to warm up your water and bring it to a boil. Place your dough 1/2-1” apart and steam for about 5-10 minutes depending on your steamer and water boil.