Steamed Chinese Pinch Buns (Folded Mantou)

Scott Heimendinger
Scott Heimendinger
May 11, 2022
These soft buns are steamed (rather than baked) in the Anova Precision Oven to achieve their signature light, delicate texture. They’re the perfect vessel for fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, and roasted meat. And they are simple to make and very forgiving—perfect for novice and expert bakers alike.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steamed Chinese Pinch Buns (Folded Mantou)
4 (1)
290 g (1 1/4 cups)
8 g (2 tsp)
instant yeast
270 g (2 cups minus 1 Tbsp)
all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and shaping the dough
205 g (1 1/2 cups)
bread flour
70 g (1/3 cup plus 1 tsp)
11 g (1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp)
kosher salt
17 g (1 Tbsp)
canola oil, plus more for brushing the dough

1. Dissolve Yeast in Milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk and yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
Dissolve Yeast in Milk

2. Mix Dry Ingredients

Sift together the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. (Alternatively, whisk to evenly combine.)
Mix Dry Ingredients

3. Knead Dough

Add the flour mixture and the canola oil to the stand mixer bowl. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead until the dough has come together and turned slightly shiny, about 8 minutes.
Knead Dough

4. Proof

Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and roll into a ball. Transfer to a large greased bowl and cover. Let sit at room temperature until the dough has expanded slightly but is still heavy for its size, about 45 minutes.

5. Pre-Shape

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll into a log about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, dusting the counter with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.

6. Bench Rest

Cover the log with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Bench Rest

7. Preheat the Oven and Prepare Pans

Line two perforated or solid sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Sous Vide Mode: On
Steam: 80%
Temp: 80.6°F
Heat: Bottom

8. Cut Dough

Using a bench scraper, trim off the very ends of the dough log. Use the bench scraper to then cut a 1-inch piece of dough from the log. Keep the remaining dough covered.
Cut Dough

9. Roll

On a well-floured work surface, use a rolling pin and very light pressure to roll the dough piece into a long oval.

10. Brush with Oil

Lightly brush one half of the oval with canola oil. This will prevent the sides of the bun from fusing together during baking.
Brush with Oil

11. Fold

Fold the dry side of the oval over the oiled side.

12. Roll Again

Use the rolling pin to roll the bun widthwise to both widen it and press the seam together. Use very light pressure to avoid making the buns too thin. They’ll puff and expand during steaming.
Roll Again

13. Repeat

Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheets, leaving enough room between each bun for expansion during steaming.

14. Final Proof

Transfer the buns to the oven, using the 2nd and 4th oven rack positions. Proof for 20 minutes.
Final Proof
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 80%
Temp: 80.6°F
Heat: Bottom
00:20 Timer

15. Steam

Leave the buns in the oven as it adjusts for a steam cook. Steam until the buns are puffed and fully baked, about 15 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 213°F
Heat: Bottom
00:15 Timer

16. Serve or Store

Serve immediately or seal in a zipper-lock bag in the refrigerator up to 3 days. To refresh chilled buns, heat the oven using the same settings as used for steaming in step 16. Steam the buns for 5 minutes.
Serve or Store
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