Mantou or Chinese Steamed Buns as some may call it, is a Chinese classic bread that everybody loves to have. It is soft and fluffy as well as being very delicious to eat. Either have it by itself or stuff it with some other ingredients, it is all up to you. Once you try this bread, you will instantly fall in love with it.
Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭 is a popular bun that is commonly eaten around China. You’ll be able to find it everywhere in shops or carts all around. People often eat this bun for breakfast alongside other dishes as well. But it isn’t unusual to find people eating it for lunch or dinner either.
I grew up in an Asian household where my mother comes from “Shandong, China”. Because of this, mantou were one of the most common things being served to me when I was growing up. Back when I was younger, my mother used to make this every month for me because I just loved the taste and feel of this bun. Nowadays since I have grown up, we tend to make this less often and usually only make them during holidays like New Years etc.
But even though I don’t eat this as often as I use to, I still love it just as much as when I was a kid.
That is why I asked my mother to teach me how to make this delicious bun.
And in this post, I will proudly be sharing with you exactly how to make a mantou.
What Is Mantou?
Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭, is basically referring to a white bun originating from China. It is a popular bun eaten all around China and surrounding countries as it is something simple and cheap to make.
And depending on which region in Asia you are talking about, some of these regions will use Mantou as a festive food especially prepared for the New Year holidays.
They come in many different shapes and sizes and can also come in different types of flavor as well. Typically you would make a mantou by steaming it in a steamer.
Another popular variety of this Mantou bun is one called a Hua Juan or Flower Roll. It is basically the same thing as a mantou except that it is seasoned with oil, herbs and rolled into a flowery pattern.
Ingredients Used To Make This
The ingredients used to make Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭 are all really easy to find. Almost most if not all of the ingredients are probably already in your household pantry.
The ingredients you’ll need are as followed:
- All Purpose Flour – 4 Cups
- Water – Up to 1 1/3 Cup
- Instant Yeast – 2 Teaspoons or 1 packet
- Sugar – 1 Tablespoon
- Baking Powder – 1 Teaspoon
How To Make Mantou
Making Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭 is a relatively simple process. However it does take some time as you will need to let the dough rest for awhile. But other than that, it’s not too bad to make.
The process to make Mantou is as followed:
Fill a bowl with about 1 and 1/3 cup water and then pour in your instant yeast.
After that, grab a large mixing pot and put in all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and sugar).
Then carefully pour in your yeast water into the pot with the dry ingredients. You want to add the water slowly while making sure to stir the ingredients around.
You’ll only want to add enough water where the mixture can become a dough like substance. You don’t want it too wet as it will be too soft.
Once you have added enough water and your mixture becomes a dough like substance, it is time to knead the dough.
Dust your working surface with some flour and start kneading the dough.
You want to keep kneading the dough until it becomes smooth.
Then place the dough back in the pot and cover it up with a cloth or something.
After you have covered the pot, place it somewhere that is room temperature and let it rest and rise for about 2 hours or so.
I chose the oven as it is my place of choice for letting dough rest and rise.
Once it has rested for about 2 hours, take the pot out and get ready to make your mantou.
Back on your working surface, dust some flour onto the surface.
Then take your dough out and roll it into a log shape.
After you have rolled your dough into a log, cut it into sections.
From here is where the fun part starts.
This is the part where you can actually turn your dough into the shape of a mantou. The most common shapes you can find for a mantou is either a round ball or into a rectangular shape.
Whatever shape you decide to make, it doesn’t really matter. It really is all up to you.
But for this step, I will show you how to make 2 different shapes.
The first shape I want to show you is the rectangular shape. This is pretty simple as you don’t have to do any shaping or anything. Basically once you cut the log, the middle pieces are your rectangular shape.
If you can’t figure out what part of the log i’m talking about, here is a simple picture to guide you.
The other shape I want to talk about is the round ball shape mantou.
You can use the ends of the log that are not rectangular shapes to make the ball shape mantou.
Simply knead the cut dough and start folding the dough towards the center of the ball without turning it over. This will make the ball have a smoother surface as you form the ball. After that, rotate the ball between your hands to help shape it into a nicer ball shape.
After you have shaped your mantous, place them onto a steamer basket.
Do not start steaming yet!
Cover the basket with your mantous inside and let them rest for about 15 to 20 more minutes. This will let them get a bit bigger in size.
After 15 to 20 minutes have passed, it is time to steam them.
So turn on the heat to high and steam the buns for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Once 15 to 20 minutes has passed, turn off the heat and your mantou is ready to serve.
How To Store/Keep Mantou
Storing Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭 for future eating is a very simple thing to do.
Basically when you are storing your mantous, you can place them inside an airtight container or plastic bag and store it in the fridge. It should keep well for around 3 to 4 days. You can also put it in the freezer which should keep them good for around 2 months.
Do know that mantous tend to get firm and hard once they get cold. So if you are wanting to make them soft and fluffy again, all you have to do is simply reheat them in the steamer. Steam them for a few minutes and they should be just like new again.
Chinese Steamed Buns Recipe (Mantou 饅頭)
- 4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/3 Cup Water
- 2 Teaspoon Instant Yeast Or 1 Packet
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Grab a bowl or a cup and fill it with water. Then take your instant yeast and pour it into the water.
- Grab a large mixing bowl and add in your ingredients ( flour, sugar and baking powder). Then slowly pour into the bowl your yeast water while also making sure to mix it around evenly. Keep mixing the mixture around until it forms into a dough like substance.
- Dust your working surface with some flour and knead the dough until it becomes a smooth dough. Then put it back into the bowl and cover it up. Let the dough rest and rise for about 2 hours.
- After your dough has rested, take your dough out of the bowl and roll it into a log shape. Then cut the log into equal sections depending on how large or small you want your mantou to be.The middle section of the log you have just cut will be the rectangular shape mantou. The end pieces will be your ball shape mantou. Shape the end pieces into a ball shape mantou.
- Place the rectangular shape mantou and the ball shape mantou into a steamer lined with a breathable cloth. Cover the steamer and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- After it has rested for 15 to 20 minutes, turn on the heat to high and start steaming your mantou. You want to steam it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- After your mantou has finished steaming, turn off the heat and serve immediately.
Did you try making my Chinese Steamed Buns / Mantou / 饅頭? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.