Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)

I have been studying the four temperaments lately as a way to better understand my children, my husband, and myself and how we process situations and conduct ourselves emotionally. My hope was to glean a little extra insight so I might be able to tweak my parenting in order to better communicate with my children. I figured it would also help me deal with Paul when things get a little tense, which happens to us from time to time.

Well, all my research and studies have led me to conclude one thing: when one major choleric procreates with another major choleric, you end up having children who are EXTREME cholerics. In theory, this is not necessarily a terrible thing. Cholerics tend to be self-assured, extroverted, motivated leaders. According to the book The Four Temperaments, Cholerics "are firm and forceful in their approach to problems...[they] word things with confidence and certainty...possess confidence and demanding natures that make them natural leaders."

Sounds great, right?

Not so fast...Cholerics also tend to be aggressive individuals who love competition, but hate to lose. They are defiant of authority because they wish to prove themselves dominant and in charge. They can be very condescending towards others, particularly those that fail to take charge as a fellow choleric would. They can be the most loyal of friends until you get cross them and then they will do everything required to make you pay for it. The book really addresses some of the worst tendencies of the choleric, explaining that they "may take pleasure in the pain, misfortune, or humiliation of people they are not on good terms with and may blame others for their own mistakes. They hate admitting when they are wrong. They feel that they can define and understand and advise others, but laugh at the thought that others could do the same to them."

That last sentence could describe my two eldest children with terrifying accuracy. Have you ever had the pleasure of playing a board game with my family? If any one of us loses, we have to really restrain ourselves to not treat the winner like absolute crap the rest of the day or to ramble on and on about how the only reason we could have possibly lost that game was because of some extreme injustice on the part of the victor. Paul and I can't play card games together for this reason. It never ends well. Thus, for the sake of our marriage, we keep away from such traditional pastimes. Unfortunately, Paul and I both love to be right all the time (it doesn't help that we normally are!...joking joking). Big surprise, that I birthed a bunch of know-it-alls. All my children have the amazing ability, at the tender age they are, to be absolute experts on every subject known to man. They're either a bunch of geniuses or....they're all cholerics.

Just Keeping It Real on Instagram. Original post was from my sister Amy.  

If you look up the word "choleric" in the dictionary, you will find the single biggest character trait associated with this temperament: a tendency to outbursts of anger. To describe a choleric individual is to depict one as bad-tempered, irascible, crabby, touchy, or grouchy.

Super flattering, but unfortunately, also a fairly accurate description for every single member of our family. All of us fly off the handle so easily it's embarrassing. Inanimate objects are very often the focus of our wrath as well as people. I was thinking about this during breakfast this morning while I watched Paul become extremely angry at his spoon for allowing milk to drip everywhere while he attempted to eat his cereal. He slammed his hand down angrily on the table and went to grab a napkin, cursing that blasted silverware the entire time. I just reminded him gently that, if he should need the assistance, I am here to feed him.

If you think that comment didn't go over very well, you would be correct.

Anyway, my point is that we have some very strong-willed, all-knowing, all-powerful, super-egos residing in this household and dealing with all of us on a daily basis is truly exhausting. Studying up on the temperaments and realizing how choleric we all are failed to enlighten me on how to deal with one another better but rather made me feel very overwhelmed. Maybe I should have married a melancholic? But then who would entertain me with angry, dramatic outbursts at the seat belt that won't buckle or the shoe lace that won't come untied? Life would be so dull otherwise.

Future Choleric. It's in his genes.

What does all this have to do with Baked BBQ Pork Buns? Absolutely nothing. But I'm a choleric! I can do whatever I want - and it is PERFECT.

Anyway...these BBQ Pork Buns are incredible. I already gave you the easy recipe for the amazing filling. Detailed below is the method for preparing the dough. It uses the tangzhong method which is a Japanese technique for incorporating a water roux into the dough that serves to pre-gelatinize the starches in the flour, allowing it to absorb more water. Heating the starch with the water produces more structure that enable the resulting bread to rise higher due to the internal steam produced by the extra moisture retained in the dough. The result is a very fluffy-textured bread that is truly a delight to eat. Stuff them with sweet pork and top them with a slightly crunchy sugar coating and you have a magnificent treat that will pass as a fun weekend dinner. We enjoyed these while watching Notre Dame beat Stanford a couple weeks ago and they were a pretty perfect football game food if you ask me!

Oh, and all of us cholerics approved of this recipe!

Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
from America's Test Kitchen

For the Dough:
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons plus 2 2/3 cups (13 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cold whole milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons (3 ounces) sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and softened

For the Topping:
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons (3 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 1/4 pounds Chinese BBQ Pork filling

For the dough: Whisk water and 2 tablespoons flour in small microwave-safe bowl until smooth.  Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to stiff, smooth, pudding-like consistency and registers at least 150 degrees, about 40 to 60 seconds.  Whisk in milk until smooth, then whisk in egg until smooth.

In a bowl of stand mixer, whisk together 2 2/3 cups flour, sugar, milk powder, yeast, and salt.  Add cooked flour mixture.  Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 10 to 12 minutes.

Fit stand mixer with paddle.  With mixer running on medium speed, add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Continue to mix until butter is fully incorporated and dough is no longer shiny, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer dough to very lightly floured counter.  Knead dough briefly to form ball and transfer, seam side down, to lightly greased large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1/2 hours.  (Wash and dry mixer bowl and paddle.)

For the topping: Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.  Using clean, dry mixer bowl and paddle, beat butter and confectioner's sugar on medium high speed until light, pale, and fully, about 3 minutes.  With mixer running, gradually add eggs, then vanilla; mix until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed for about 2 minutes.  Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down bowl, then fold ingredients by hand to mix fully.  Transfer mixture to 1-quart heavy-duty zipper-lock bag and snip off 1 corner, making hole no larger than 1/4 inch (alternatively, transfer to pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch piping tip); set aside until ready to use (do not refrigerate).

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Transfer dough to counter and divide into 20 equal pieces (about 1 1/2 ounces each).  Working with 1 piece at a time, press dough into 4-inch round on lightly floured counter and drape in muffin tin to form cup shape.  Fill dough cup with about 1 1/2 tablespoons pork filling.  Pull edges of dough to center and pinch tightly to seal.  Transfer bun to counter, seam side down, and rotate gently to form round shape.  Repeat with remaining dough pieces and remaining pork filling.  Space 10 balls evenly on prepared sheet.  Lightly spray tops of buns with vegetable oil spray, cover with plastic, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

When buns are doubled in size, pipe about 2 tablespoons topping in tight spiral on top of each bun (topping should form circle roughly 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick).  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until topping is golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating sheet halfway though baking  Transfer buns to wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes.  Serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment