Chocolate Bao


12 bao
Bao Starter
⅓ cup all-purpose flourall purpose flour
⅓ cup lukewarm waterwater
2 teaspoons sugarsugar2
1 packet active dry yeastactive dry yeast1
Chocolate Sauce
1 cup semisweet chocolate chipssemisweet chocolate chips1
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperatureunsalted butter2
½ teaspoon vanillavanilla extract½
½ cup heavy creamheavy cream½
Chocolate Bao
¾ cup cake flourcake flour¾
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dustingall purpose flour½
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powderunsweetened cocoa powder¼
2 ½ teaspoons sugarsugar2 ½
2 teaspoons baking powderbaking powder2
½ teaspoon fine saltfine sea salt½
1 tablespoon vegetable oilvegetable oil1
½ cup semisweet chocolate chipssemisweet chocolate chips½
Vegetable oil cooking spray, for greasingvegetable oil1


Bao Starter
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until puffed up and has bubbles on the surface, about 20 minutes.
Chocolate Sauce
In a medium bowl, mix together the chips, butter and vanilla. Place the bowl over a barely simmering saucepan of water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the cream until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Chocolate Bao
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture and oil to the starter and stir together while gradually adding 1/2 cup room temperature water. Stop adding water once the dough has come together enough to knead by hand. Dump the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until you have a smooth, satiny dough, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Spray a stainless-steel steamer with vegetable oil cooking spray. Use your hands to roll the dough into a long log, about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Place a few chocolate chips in the center of each dough piece and stretch the dough around the chips, pinching one end to form a ball. Place the ball seam-side down onto a wax paper square. Continue with the remaining pieces of dough.

Gently lower the bao in batches into a prepared steamer. Steam for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and let cool under a kitchen towel.

Serve warm with chocolate sauce for dipping.
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