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Monday, August 15, 2011

Steamed Banana Buns - Steamed Buns # 1

I love these buns. When they were steaming, they smelled so good. But Mike hated it. Mike only likes Sweet Potato Buns. He even hates my kids’ favourite glorious pumpkin buns. He said this smell like our kids’ s***

Remember my banana honey bread, yes the Jamie Oliver banana bread, that is a true bread. It wasn’t that nice. It was tough. After a few years of baking, I’ve come to know that, when the ingredients are too acidic, it tends to cause the texture to be dry. Just like my experiment with roselle to create Red Velvet Cake. One of my friend tried making a banana cake following a popular baking book in Chinese and when I tasted it, it was dry and crumbly. I asked her whether she used baking powder or baking soda, and to my confirmation, it was baking powder. All things made with banana should always be neutralized with baking soda, if not, the results are always less than desirable.

And so for this steamed banana buns, I tried neutralizing the acidity of the banana by mixing with some baking soda in advance. You will see some very mild frothing occurring, as in like… the mixture looking slightly whitish. Yeast has always preferred an acidic environment, so I didn’t want the baking soda to intervene with the yeast’s reaction and let the reaction be completed before it is used. But bananas are far too acidic for baking on its own. If not Jamie’s banana bread would’ve been good. Haha.

And I guess I did the right thing. The steamed bun is truly soft and fluffy. The fragrance is not as strong as baked banana goods, but it’s still nice for me. My girls love it too, so who cares about the man, Hahaha!
I used only 2 Tbsp of sugar for the dough, of which I do find a bit bland for a plain bun or mantou. Add more if you like your buns sweeter, but some will find this to be sufficient. The type of banana that you use will also determine how much sugar to add. I’m sure pisang berangan will be sweeter, and Cavendish might be moister. Rastali is errrr…. not so favourable, I’d say. So, if the dough is too wet, add in 1-2 Tbsp extra flour or if it’s too dry, and 1-2 Tbsp more milk. It’s hard to gauge due to the difference in the banana’s variety and level of ripeness. You will have to be your own judge.

I also prefer mashing the banana with a fork, so that the “veins” can be seen. If you blitz the banana, chances are, you won’t be able to see those brownish streaks of which are so “bananaish”.

Steamed Banana Buns
Recipe source: Wendyywy

300gm banana (I used local variety, Pisang emas)
½ tsp baking soda
500gm pau flour (can substitute with all purpose flour)
½ tsp salt
½ Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar or more if you like it sweeter
70ml warm milk
1 sachet instant yeast (11gm)
50gm softened butter

1. Mash banana with a fork and mix with baking soda. Let it rest for 1 hour at least. (I rested it for 4hours, because I was busy, but I checked it after 1 hour and the reaction has already stopped)
2. Dissolve yeast in milk. Set aside for 5 minutes. Mix with rested bananas.
3. Mix pau flour with salt, baking powder and sugar. Make a well in the center.
4. Pour banana mixture into the well and mix. Knead until everything looks well incorporated.
5. Add in softened butter and knead until a smooth piece of dough is achieved.
6. Cover and let dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
7. Punch down and knead for a while.
8. Separate dough into 20 pieces. Each piece should be approximately 50gm each.
9. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
10. Shape dough balls as preferred (This method is shown here) and put them on a piece of flattened muffin liner or paper.
11. Let shaped dough rise for another 50 minutes or until doubled. Make sure bun dough is not exposed to air (I like to proof my bread and buns in the oven, cold oven of course)
12. Prepare your steamer and steam buns for 12 minutes on high heat

Video on how to form the buns


  1. Wendy i love the shape of these buns.

  2. Wendy...this is great...I love steamed buns too ! What more banana!!! I love this and I shall try this out for nite supper :p

  3. I loves steamed bun but never thought of banana can be used in it too. The look of your banana steamed buns like croissant. Lovely and gorgeous look. If it is not tedious to make, I would like to give it a try.

  4. yeah, i like the shape too :) ... and it is steamed buns, yum yum

  5. Sounds amazing. I have bookmarked this recipe to try out :) thanks!

  6. Edith,
    I think you'll like Wednesday's's bun shape even more :P

    tongiht? Awww... so nice.

    All steamed buns are not very tedious, just time consuming.

    My MIL taught me this method

    Belly Good,

    hope you like this

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Dear Wendy,

    I love your blog, your recipes, presentation etc. Tried making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recently but the sugar did not melt after stirring on top a double boiler for more than 3 mins. In fact, the end result was grainy with a crunch in every bite from the undissolved sugar in the icing. I wonder what went wrong? As you did not specify, I used caster (instead of icing) sugar.

    Tq & rgds,

  9. Wow Wendy,

    The steamed bun look great!!! And i bet it taste and smell fragrant due to the banana too :) Thanks for sharing this recipe

  10. Wendy, is there any "LIKE" button that i can click here? :oP

  11. Ann,
    I'd be grateful if this question was posed in the related post itself.
    I shall copy your question and post it in the blog post, and I shall answer you from there.

    the smell is rather faint, compared to baked banana goods, but i still like it :)

    you create one for me please :)

  12. Wow! Your buns looks so chubby and fluffy! So nice! Pity my boys do not like bananas too sigh!

  13. hi wendy, wow your bun looks delicious.. another super creation from your magic hand..

  14. these croissant shaped buns are cute! i also like the colour of the buns, like wholemeal buns. was thinking want to make some paus also one of these days. eh, your husband very funnyleh, can even compare the smell of pumpkin to that..

  15. Jeannie,
    make half batch for urself loooo. i always keep them in the fridge and steam them when I feel like having some

    LOL.. thanks. I do hope I have magic, so that I can just 'abacadabra" some buns out

    No,, he said these banana buns smell like Lyanne's s***

  16. Hi Wendy. Looks interesting. How do you eat this buns - just by itself?

  17. I like mashing bananas with a fork (or even my clean fingers if there's a lot of banana hehe) too. These are too cute -- love the shape!

  18. Cute little bun.
    Btw I try out your sweet potato bun and it taste good, soft & fluffy. thanks for sharing.

  19. I like the shape of this steamed banana mantau, it looks so cute and inviting!!

  20. HomeKreation,
    Yeah, like a plain sweet bun, just that it's steamed. Chinese call plain steamed buns as mantou.

    Hehe, that sounds fun. My daughters will love that idea.

    Glad you liked it... stay tuned for Wednesday's bun if you liked the previous one

    Ah Tze,

  21. I've never tried making steamed buns before. Must give it a try one day! But yours definately looks lovely and surely deliciously good!

  22. Hi Wendy
    I tried out ur steamed banana mantou today and the results were great! Instead of plain version, I filled mantous with the pumpkin coconut jam found in ur blog. The bites of the banana mantou with coconut pumpkin jam zooing out while hot simply was delicious. I m addicted to the mantous and I am going to put on weight, haha!

    Thanks again for sharing ur recipe.

    Priscilla Poh

  23. Priscilla,
    Great to hear of the outcome :)

  24. Hi Wendy

    Just a feedback, on the second day, I re-heated the steamed banana mantous in the morning and I brought all the mantous to the church and church friends told me mantous were fluffy and very soft inspite that they get to consume mantous only in the afternoon after the church service. This tells me that in fact mantous will stay soft much longer after they have been re-heated. The texture was still fluffy same like fleshly made.

    Thank you.
    Priscilla Poh

  25. Priscilla,
    I think yours are bao and not mantou as they are filled. :)
    I don't think reheating will cause the buns to stay softer longer, it could be the way you kept the buns itself after steaming.
    Thoroughly reheated mantous always taste like freshly made.

  26. Oh Wendy, I did not know packaging has got to do with longer softness of mantous. I packed them into paper cake box. And recption area in the church has air-con.

    Though, we did not heat up the paus prior to consuming, they were cool but very soft.

    Priscilla Poh

  27. hi wendy..
    i'm now trying to do this banana mantau . i'm wondering what reaction is that when banana mix with baking soda?? mine looks peaceful butthe banana become softer after 15 mins..can you tell me what kind of reaction will occur??

  28. Janetan,
    In the 3rd paragraph, the type of reaction is stated.

  29. hi wendy,
    just finish the first stage of mixing ingredient and now my dough is in rising for 1 hour.. about the mixing BS into banana, i don't see any reaction like you mention but after 1/2 hour the banana taste a bit salty..may be my banana is the sweet ever heard of awah pisang..the size is small and it have seed inside. it taste sweet and chewy.

  30. oh i found the actual name is pisang awak.

  31. Janetan,
    It is very very mild. After 1 hour, you can actually see the banana mixture looking glossy. Before that it looks very very slightly whitish with very small bubbles appearing.
    Being sweet doesn't mean it's not acidic. Cocoa powder is bitter but it is acidic. The lighter coloured the cocoa powder is, the more acidic it is. As the dark ones are dutch processed (some alkali added)
    I love eating pisang awak, been eating fried pisang awak since I was a small kid :)
    It's salty because when an acid neutralizes with an alkali, it turns to salt. Not the salt that you cook with which is Natrium Chloride but the chemical term salt. The reaction has already taken place since your banana mixture is salty.

  32. ohh, thanks a lot for the explanation..
    wendy, the result is superb..the fragrant, the texture and the sweetness is all matching each are very generous with the recipe and the explanation..thanks again..

  33. Janetan,
    Thank you for the feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

  34. wendy,
    i'm making this bun for the 2nd time..using the same pisang awak but with no liquid in it because i use almost 10 pcs of pisang awak.. now witing to steam it.. hopefully my sister and family will love it..

  35. Janetan,
    Woah.. glad you liked it so much.
    I hope you increased the baking soda :p

  36. Hi Wendy. Made half recipe of this. It is nice altho I acc used the wrong flour. Will taste even better if I use the correct flour. Never tot making mantou can be so easy. Thanx so much for your recipe. By the way if I wish to increase the banana taste what will be the propotion of banana and soda that I have to increase?

  37. Nicole,
    what flour did u use then?
    If u want to increase the banana (plus BS of course), decrease the milk. Do not add the milk at first, but only add as needed. You have to gauge it by feeling the dough.

  38. Wendy, I used multi purpose flour. Is pisang berangan ok to make this mantou?

  39. Nicole,
    Berangan is much sweeter, you can totally omit the sugar in this recipe.

  40. Pisang berangan is sweeter? I tot pisang emas sweeter.

  41. Nicole,
    I found out about this when I made the same recipe with the 2 bananas. It's up to u

  42. OK Thanx alot Wendy. Will try to make this soon. Waiting for my banana to ripen.

  43. I just made this and it was really yummy. What I like about it the most is its texture, it was really soft and pillowy. It's probably the best mantou I made. :) The shape collapsed though during the second rising, guess I'll have to roll it tighter the next time I make this. Other than that minor mishap, I have nothing but good things to say about this recipe. Thanks!

  44. Wendy , I was waiting for the pisang mas to ripen. Quickly I tried your lovely recipe I dare not give some to my neighbor when I found my buns were kind of not like pillow soft. But kind of tight. Where do u think I went astray. To. May god bless you with more wisdom.

  45. Nawarat Chaiphakdi,
    First of all, you were waiting for it to ripen, so they weren't ripe?
    Second, the amount of baking soda in this recipe is crucial to offset the acidity of the banana (of which should be a ripe banana), an acidic dough will create a 'tight' outcome. Of which the bun taste dry and has a bad chewy texture.

  46. I have tried this recipe and it is awesome! I really love the soft and pull-apart texture. Thank you Wendy for your lovely recipe!


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