Chinese Steamed Milk Buns/Mantou (Poolish Method) 牛奶饅頭(液種法)

These steamed buns are made with poolish and the recipe is an adaptation from my Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou). What I did was to make a poolish with 20% of the total flour amount, let it ferment in the fridge overnight, and then mix it with the rest of the ingredients to form a dough. For more information on the poolish method, such as how to convert a bread recipe into one with a poolish, check out my blog post, Basic White Bread Pain de Mie (Poolish Method).

Steamed Milk Buns/Mantou (Poolish Method)

Makes 10


For the Poolish
50 g all purpose flour
50 g water, room temperature
0.4 g instant yeast or SAF gold yeast

For the Main Dough
All of the poolish
200 g all purpose flour
10 g whole milk powder
20 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1.6 g instant yeast or SAF gold yeast
85 g milk, room temperature
5 g grapeseed or vegetable oil
10 to 20 g all purpose flour (to be kneaded in later)


中筋麵粉 50克
水(室溫) 50克
速發或耐高糖酵母 0.4克

液種 全部
中筋麵粉 200克
全脂奶粉 10克
細砂糖(EC用有機蔗糖) 20克
速發或耐高糖酵母 1.6克
牛奶(室溫) 85克
葡萄籽油或菜油 5克
中筋麵粉(後下) 10至20克

Directions 做法

For the Poolish 冷藏液種
Place the poolish ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to form a thick paste. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours until almost doubled then refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before use. Ripen poolish has small bubbles on the surface and is almost tripled in size. Go by the appearance instead of time to determine if the poolish is ready to use.
***For same-day use, let dough rise at room temperature until the surface is bubbly and almost tripled in size, 4 to 5 hours.

For the Main Dough 主麵糰
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, milk powder, sugar and yeast and stir to combine. Add milk to the poolish to loosen it from the sides of the bowl. Scrape mixture into the flour mixture then drizzle with oil. Stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks or a spatula until the mixture is crumbly and without dry patches. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes. Scrape dough pieces onto a dough mat or lightly floured working surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes.

Rolling pin method: knead in 10 to 20 g of flour in several additions until dough is smooth. Roll dough on a floured surface or silicon mat into a rectangular shape. Give it a letter fold then a quarter turn. Roll into a thin rectangular sheet and then repeat this folding and rolling process once or twice again in order to get rid of tiny air bubbles. If there is any large air bubble, pop it with a pin.
Pasta machine method: divide the dough in half and feed each through the sheet attachment at the thickest or the second thickest setting. Do it 10 to 15 times until the dough sheet is smooth. After each roll, fold dough sheet in half and dust with flour (10 to 20 g for both in total). Join both dough sheets together by slightly dampening and overlapping the edges and then press or roll with a rolling pin gently to adhere the seams.

With the smoother side facing down, lightly brush the dough surface with water then roll the dough sheet into a log. Evenly roll the log into 42 cm long.

WIth a sharp knife, cut the log to 40 cm long by trimming off the uneven ends. Divide the log evenly into 10 pieces. Arrange dough pieces, seam side down, in a bamboo steamer and space them out evenly so they won’t stick together after steaming.
***the trimmed edges could be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in the freezer. On your next batch, thaw the dough piece and mix it into the dough as a pâte fermentée.

Fill a wok with some warm water then set the bamboo steamer on top. Cover with lid then let rest until the buns are about 1.5 times its original size, about 30 minutes. Bring water to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium heat and steam for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let rest for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the lid. Serve hot or warm.
把蒸籠放在已注暖水的鑊上,蓋上蒸籠蓋發酵至1.5倍大(約30分鐘 ),從冷水開始蒸,大火煮至水滾後轉中火蒸15分鐘 ,關火待5分鐘後才小心打開蓋子,取出饅頭趁熱或暖吃。

With the pasta machine, I usually connect the two dough sheets together.

For bigger buns, divide the log into 8 pieces.

Some of my failed attempts…
Left: the buns were too big for the bamboo steamer and got squeezed and stuck to the lid.
Right: condensation dripped back down onto the buns when I used my stainless steel steamer

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