Classic White Mantou

Mantou or Chinese steamed buns are originated from Northern China. They are eaten as a staple food where wheat is grown. According to a popular Chinese legend, the name 'mantou' is said to have came from a tale about Zhuge Liang.


...instead he made an offering with buns stuffed with slaughtered livestock and shaped like human heads...
During the Three Kingdoms period, Zhuge Liang was supposed to made a ritual offering of 49 men heads and have them thrown into the swift-flowing river to appease the river deity. But he doesn't want to sacrifice his own men, instead he made an offering with buns stuffed with slaughtered livestock and shaped them like human heads. After that, they successfully crossed the river. Since then, the buns are known as 'mantou' (barbarian's head 蠻頭).

In my quest to find a fluffy classic mantou recipe, I've stumbled upon many recipes. While most of the time, pao flour was used, there are also recipes that uses self-raising flour. But since I am looking for a classic mantou recipe, I wanted to use a recipe that calls for wheat flour or all-purpose flour. After some digging thru' the many recipes online, I've finally found a perfect classic mantou recipe.

This mantou is soft and fluffy. It has a hint of sweetness so it is just as good whether you eat it by itself or with dipping, or stuffed with filling. Yummylicious!

To get smooth surface mantou, make sure that the steaming water does not drip onto your mantou during steaming.
If your steam cover is flat (as per photo left), not the dome type, then you will need to wrap a cloth around the steam cover so that the steaming water will not drip onto the mantou.

If there are water dripping on the mantou, the surface will be wavy and wrinkled-looking, and your mantou may be wet too.

(Recipe adapted from GinsKitchen)
Prep Time  : 110 mins
Cook Time : 20 mins
Total Time : 2 hour 10 mins
Makes       : 8 pcs

2 tsp instant yeast
300ml lukewarm milk
500g all-purpose flour, sifted
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil

1. In a small bowl, add instant yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to lukewarm milk. Stir and let the yeast mixture turn frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir to combine all ingredients with a sturdy spatula/ wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are moistened. Knead with your hand as you continue to combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl, for approx. 5 mins. Let rest 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, for approx. 5 minutes. Place dough in a mixing bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let the dough rest for one hour or doubled in size. Punch down the dough to release air.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 25” x 6” rectangle. Fold 1/3 to the centre and dust off any extra flour before folding in another 1/3. Roll it out again to approx. 17” x 10” rectangle and brush the surface with water.

4. From the longer edge, roll the dough tightly to form a log. Trim off the sides of the log to make it even. Cut log into half and cut half again in each halves making it altogether 8 pieces buns.

5. Place each bun onto a muffin liner and arrange them in the steamer. Pour cold water in the steamer and let the buns rise for 20 minutes. Steam the buns for 20 minutes until they are cooked and puffed up.

6. Serve right from steamer!

● The mantou can be stored in freezer for up to 3 months. Just reheat in a steamer for 5 mins after taking them out from freezer.

Make this recipe? Don't forget to snap a photo of it and tag #msyummyliciousrecipe on social media! I would love to see them! Enjoy my recipe!

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