Dough for Bapao (steamed buns)

bakpao-vouwen-nieuw3A warm, steamed bun with tasty minced meat inside. This is so much more than a sausage roll. Bapao from the supermarket are okay but sometimes dry and always too big. This recipe makes the buns fluffy and the appropriate size for me. I opted for pork filling (recipe 533). Recipe 534 with shrimp looks promising too, but haven’t made it yet.

This recipe is enough dough for 12 pieces. I’ve made a video how to make bapao. The video shows my ‘old’ way of folding. Read down below to see the new way I do it ;-).

Dough for Bapao (steamed buns) #532 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 423.


  • 250 grams flour
  • 10 grams yeast
  • 1 dl milk
  • 1/2 dl water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl.
  2. Make room in the center and mix the ingredients into a paste: the yeast, sugar, a tablespoon of water and 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
  3. Cover it with a damp cloth, leave it for 10 minutes.
  4. Then mix the yeast paste into the flour.
  5. Add the rest of the water and milk little by little while kneading it into a firm smooth dough.
  6. Let it proof covered with a damp cloth for an hour.
  7. Shape into a sausage and cut it into 10 to 12 pieces.
  8. Roll every piece into a circular shape of about 1 cm thick and a diameter of 12 to 15 centimeters.
  9. Two teaspoons of the filling go in the center (see recipe 533 and 534) and fold the sides and glue them shut with water.
  10. Let them +/- proof for 10 minutes under a damp cloth.
  11. Steam the buns in a steamer, one layer at a time, for 1/4 hours.


Making dough with yeast is not difficult. If you buy yeast read the back of the package. There is yeast that can be used immediately. Fresh yeast that needs 10 minutes to activate. Beb Vuyk uses fresh yeast in her recipe.

Be careful with salt. That kills yeast. So if you want to use salt in your dough (which is not in this recipe) mix salt through the flour first before adding yeast.

Make sure the water you add to the dough is at body temperature. Stick your finger in the water/milk. When you don’t feel anything, it’s at the right temperature. If you add water to your dough that’s too cold, your dough will rise to slow. Water that is too hot can kill the yeast.

Yeast is a fungus. Sugar works as food. The yeast will work better with some sugar.


I knead the dough thoroughly for at least 5 minutes. If it is too wet add a handful of flour until it no longer sticks to your fingers. Put a damp cloth over it and let proof for an hour. In the meantime, you can prepare the filling.


You can fill your bapao with anything you prefer: beef, pork, jack fruit, vegetables or fish. Beb Vuyk has a lovely and simple recipe in her book made with pork. Here’s a list of fillings I’ve made before.


After an hour my dough has doubled in size. I can roll it into a sausage shape now and cut it up into 12 equal pieces.


I roll them into a small ball and flatten it into a circle with a rolling pin. Then I fill them.


The dough is smooth and easy to close with some water on the edges.


There are many ways to close the bapao. I like this folding method. This way the filling and the amount of dough are equally balanced.


I fold the side of this bapao and keep on going until it is completely closed and looks like a flower.


You can leaf the top open for a little steam hole or close it completely. You can steam them this way up, or turn them over to show the smooth surface of the bapao.


They can go into the steamer now. I often use my electric rice cooker on ‘steaming’ mode for vegetables or my bamboo steaming baskets on a big pan with boiling water.

bakpao-vouwen-nieuw4I steam them on a baking sheet, otherwise they stick to the basket. I puncture holes in it for the steam to release easily.

I often freeze my buns. You can warm them up in the microwave. A frozen bun needs about 30 seconds in de microwave depending on its size.

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1 Response

  1. Raylaine says:

    I go the easy route I just use a roll of biscuits roll the biscuit dough out place the season meat inside flattened biscuit…close it place it on a little square of wax paper and place it in my steamer team for 10-15 minutes easy peazy

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