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Jul 17, 2011 09:19 AM

Dim sum dough

How long should I work the dough for? Its so confusing the times seem to vary from about 5 minutes to 30 minutes. I have tried both timings and there has not been a lot of difference between the texture of the doughs. Any advice would be useful.

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  1. What the hell are you talking about?

    What dim sum item are you referring to?

    4 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Working the dough = kneading

      The dim sum I normally make are Shui jiao, Guo tie, Gyoza and Shao Momo.

      1. re: dryrain

        You're making dumplings, not dim sum. You work the dough depending on the elasticity you require.

        1. re: dryrain

          HI Dryrain

          Ah, the dumpling dough, right? Although you can consider dumplings as Dim Sum. They are not widely considered as Southern Chinese Dim Sum and therefore the confusion. You work on the dough kneading depending on the final product you want to get to and also the size of dough you are working with . A bigger dough will require a longer kneading than a smaller one. Usually, the rule of thumb is that you knead to the point where everything is well mixed and 10-15 minutes should be sufficient.

      2. Have you tried using a browser for dim sum dough recipes?

        1 Reply
        1. re: ChiliDude

          I did thats how the confusion was created. It's ok I got the answers now.

        2. The only dim sum type buns I make are pork buns and sweet red bean paste buns, so I am no expert, but I go with a shorter kneading time. These are supposed to have a fluffy texture after steaming, so there's no need to develop the gluten, which is what kneading does. I have even--don't be shocked!--made the dough in the food processor, then just formed the buns right away without kneading at all. As long as it is of uniform texture, it's fine. My buns always come out fine, even if I cheat and bake them instead of steaming them. Another advantage of short kneading is that the dough is softer, so it's easier to work with when you fill it.

          20 Replies
          1. re: Isolda

            All the dumplings mentioned above use a hot water - wheat dough with no leavening. Better known in west as Pot Sticker,Wonton or Gyoza wrappers.
            I believe that you are making are Bao( steamed Buns) which are made with a yeast raised dough a very different animal.

            1. re: chefj

              This is why the OP needs to chime in.

              Dumplings -- be they pot stickers, wontons, etc. -- is not dim sum.

              Baos -- e.g. Char Sui Bao -- yes, but is that what the OP wants?

              You can also make the the wrapper or skins for things like Har Gow, using water, starch (tapioca and wheat), a dab of oil, and some salt. Is that what the OP wants?

              Or is the OP talking about the pastry like crust for egg custard tarts? Or other sweets?

              Who the hell knows.

              This is like asking, "How long should I cook the tomatoes for Italian food?"

              1. re: ipsedixit

                he did specify what doughs he was talking about in response to your first post.
                I am not sure how you are defining Dim Sum, all the Dumplings he mentioned (except the Momos) are common offerings at almost every Dim Sum restaurant I have been to.
                Most definitions of the meal would include Pot stickers, Boiled dumplings and the like.

                1. re: chefj

                  Pot stickers, boiled dumplings (or 鍋貼 and 餃子, respectively) are not common offerings at dim sum. In fact, they are not dim sum offerings at all.

                  Wiki, notwithstanding.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    As I stated above they in my experience they are common offerings at Dim Sum Your statement denying that does not alter the fact of my personal experience
                    Here are a couple of other sources also listing them as common Dim Sum offerings.
                    And if you do a search on Dim Sum Menus your will see that they are VERY common items.

                    1. re: chefj

                      It depends how broad you want to be about the meaning of dumpling (not going to get into that with ipsedixit again here), but I agree that the type of dumplings you seem to be talking about (鍋貼 / 餃子), made with a wheat flour, water, and salt dough, and generally in a crescent shape, and either pan-fried, boiled, or steamed, are not really traditional dim sum. Rice flour / wheat starch based things (like xiajiao / hargow) and fenguo, along with shaomai / shumai are more common.

                      Read the comments in the wikipedia page you linked to a bit more closely:

                      "Potsticker (鍋貼, gwoh tip / guo tie): Northern Chinese style of dumpling (steamed and then pan-fried jiaozi), usually with meat and cabbage filling. Note that although potstickers are sometimes served in dim sum restaurants, they are not considered traditional Cantonese dim sum."

                      I don't know where you're eating your dim sum, but based on visits to dim sum places in Chinese areas in the US and Canada, and in Hong Kong, I would have to say you're wrong.

                      1. re: will47

                        What?? will47, you mean you and I disagree about the definition of "dumpling"?

                        I'm shocked! Shocked. I say.

                        [Sarcasm caps lock now turned off]

                        1. re: will47

                          I am eating Dim Sum in San Francisco and i can tell that in every restaurant serving Dim Sum here you will see Pot Stickers at the very least and in some Peking style boiled dumplings, scallion pancakes and other more northern dishes in a few.
                          While these may not fit a definition of "Traditional Cantonese " they are assuredly common around here and so are newer creations by talented chefs.

                        2. re: chefj


                          If that's what you been getting when go out for dim sum, you've been lied to.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            ipsedixit and will47.

                            There is a board definition of dim sum (點心). Southern Dim Sum (including Cantonese Dim Sum) is much more popular today, but Northern Dim Sum (北方點心) has a much longer history (more than five times longer if not more). Cantonese Dim Sum (廣東點心) history can not be traced back longer than Ming Dynasty and most likely started in Qing Dynasty. Northern Dim Sum go back beyond Tang Dynasty.

                            For example, Green Onion Pancake (蔥油餅) is a classic Northern Dim Sum. Smoked Fish (燻魚) is a Shanghai Dim Sum (上海點心). Neither would be considered as Cantonese Dim Sum, but they are Chinese Dim Sum nonetheless.

                            Pan Fried Dumpling (鍋貼) and Steamed Dumpling (餃子) are considered as Northern Dim Sum (北方點心). Are these Cantonese Dim Sum? No. Are these Dim Sum? Yes.

                            The top items are what many would considered as Northern Dim Sum (北方點心)


                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Not only is Cantonese dim sum the most popular - it is considered the best dim sum, with over 1,000 different kinds. 點心 (Dianxin or dim sum in Cantonese) was used as a verb first in the Tang Dynasty to mean " put a bit in the stomach" or to stave off hunger before the main meal.

                              The terms 點補 Dianbu in the Yuan and 點饑 Dianji in the Song were used to denote "small snacks." The modern meaning of pastry snacks do date from the Ming.

                              1. re: scoopG

                                Well, considered as most popular usually means the considered as liked by most.

                                That being said, Cantonese dim sum cuisine has a relatively shorter history. The oldest Dim Sum are spring rolls (春卷) and green onion pancake (蔥油餅) ...etc are from Tang Dynasty, which are not Cantonese in origin. If you are to trace Cantonese dim sum like shrimp dumplings (蝦餃), then you will find their history to be relatively short. Shrimp dumpling probably is a little more than one hundred years.

                                Therefore I think you bought up a good point. As mentioned, the words Dim Sum existed a long time ago. My understanding is that it was mentioned before Han Dynasty and recorded in the ancient text (楚辭). This is thousands of years before the existence of any known Cantonese Dim Sum. In fact, Canton did not even enter Chinese official history until the Three Kingdom period. Therefore, it is important to realize that Cantonese dim sum are not the only dim sum offered by Chinese (even they are the most popular and even if one may consider them to be the best). We probably should not exclude other non-Cantonese Dim Sum as Dim Sum.

                            2. re: ipsedixit

                              no, your definition is wrong. I knew exactly what I was getting. No one lied to me.
                              In a few of the larger Dim sum houses they are listed under Northern Dim Sum or Shanghai DIm Sum.

                              1. re: chefj

                                Like they said, either you are wrong or he is wrong or possibility both wrong, but you cannot be both right.

                                1. re: chefj

                                  no, your definition is wrong. I knew exactly what I was getting. No one lied to me.
                                  In a few of the larger Dim sum houses they are listed under Northern Dim Sum or Shanghai DIm Sum.

                                  Well, there you go. Now, I'm totally convinced.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    he's wrong. no, you're wrong. no, he's wrong. no, they're wrong.

                                    what is this, kindergarten?

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Especially since there is such a thing as northern dian xin, goddamnit, and these dumplings are a type of same.

                        3. re: chefj

                          Yes, but I wasn't sure what kind the OP meant.

                      2. General rule of thumb that should help - knead 5 to 10 minutes.

                        If it has wheat flour (gluten), kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny takes about 10 minutes by hand. There's no real added benefit for extra long kneading.

                        For non-gluten doughs (wheat starch, rice flour, tapioca flour/starch... etc), you just knead until smooth and satiny, but that only takes a couple minutes since there's no gluten to develop. If the dough uses boiling water, add the hot water and mix for about 30 seconds with chopsticks (okay if it still looks lumpy), cover for about 5 minutes to allow the starch granules to gelatinize (absorb the water and cool a little). Next you would hand knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

                        End result... knead 5 to 10 minutes should work whether you're using a wheat flour based dough or a starch based dough.

                        1. Best description of how a dumpling skin dough should feel when kneaded properly (appx 10 mins) is smooth, glossy, and a bit of it pinched should be the firmness of your earlobe (pinched lightly between your thumb and first finger).
                          Not wanting to reinflame the dim sum/dumpling controversy, BUT guotie are served at northern Chinese dian xin places (of which there are way too few in the States, damnit). In my understanding, dumplings are a type of dian xin.
                          Side note: I particularly like the Taiwan-style guotie with thin skins, loosely closed in an ingot (not curved) shape - it dawned on me while scoffing a bunch last weekend at an NYC restaurant run by people from Taiwan that they are much closer to gyoza than to the northern Chinese ones. Another legacy of 1895-1945, I imagine.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: buttertart

                            Ah, now here's the answer that makes sense: what the dough should feel like and work like. Forget all the infighting about what Dim Sum is or isn't; just a nice, basic answer to the question.