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Oct 28, 2012 08:24 AM

Chinese baking

I need help! For some weird reason I promised to bake something typically Chinese for my Chinese lessons for tomorrow. I was thinking of the pinapple buns but I'm quite scared that they will go wrong and on top of that, I don't have bread flour. I know Chinese aren't that much of bakers as we are, but could you help me to come up with something?

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  1. The bakeries in Boston's Chinatown are full of light fluffy sponge cakes. I think they are typically ateamed. I haven't made it, but it might be something for you to check out. This one is baked in an oven.

    1. Your thought that the Chinese are not avid bakers is not really true at least in modern times. Just look at the variety of styles and products at bakeries in cities with large Chinese populations.
      Here is a recipe for BBQ Pork Baked Bun.
      The Dough can be used for any filling. If you have a Chinese deli near you it is easy just to buy the BBQ Pork.
      Chinese or other Asian groceries sell Red Bean Paste or Lotus Seed Paste.
      Egg Custard is easy to produce but a little difficult to work with.
      You can simply wrap a strip around a chunk of Chinese Sausage
      Also Ham and Leeks or Scallions are a common filling.

      2 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        I'm not sure about that. Home baking is relatively rare (but not undone, of course) with the Chinese and Japanese, I might think. Folks tend to get their baked goods from *commercial* bakeries, as you observe. In countries like the US I'm sure most Chinese-origin families have big/full-sized ovens in their homes but I wonder how much home baking of *Chinese* pastries they do and how frequently. In China and Japan ovens are relatively rare in "standard" or "common" kitchens, or perhaps a small toaster-oven or the like might be in some... Grand kitchens of the rich and famous are excepted.

        tastesgoodwhatisit makes a similar comment downstream in the thread.

        1. re: huiray

          You are correct that there is not a lot of home baking. I did not mean to say that they are. I specifically said that it exists in commercial bakeries.

      2. I know Chinese aren't that much of bakers as we are ...

        Really? And who's this "we" that you speak of?

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I wouldn't say they aren't much bakers, but unlike Westerners they don't do much baking for extra sugary desserts. I've been to their bakeries and its mostly savory baked goods and the "desserts" have what I would consider unsweet fillings instead of creams and chocolate. Many of my Chinese acquaintances think cinnamon is overused in American desserts.

          Anyone have Chinese (or Chinese-like) dessert recipes that would be acceptable to a sugar/chocolate loving palate like mine? I love making desserts, but while searching online I seem to come up while many almond cookie recipes but I've had enough of those from relatives and don't care to make them.

          1. re: alliels

            Modern Chinese Bakeries do all sorts of western style baking including Chocolate and lots of Sugar.
            And their sweet items are SWEET!

            1. re: chefj

              I guess I'm more interested in anyone with recipes for their more traditional desserts that that would satisfy my "Western" palate rather than make the Chinese version of western baked sweet treats.

                1. re: alliels

                  Sorry that I do not interest you.
                  Why don't you do a little research on Asian Desserts that would satisfy you, since that can only be judged by you.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Um....we "culturally insensitive, ethnocentric occupants of the center of the universe", perhaps...?

            3. My experience with baked goods in Taiwan is that bakeries are very common and sell mainly local takes on western style baked goods, plus the more Chinese style steamed cakes (fine textured and very fluffy).

              However, people don't bake at home, and even a very nice kitchen doesn't come with an oven. The *only* place I've seen a Western style oven is in the very expensive apartments in the ex-pat parts of town.

              For traditional local baked stuff, you've got stuff like moon cakes and pineapple cakes, which people usually buy rather than make.

              1. Mini coconut tarts:


                Egg custard tarts:


                FWIW, you don't need bread flour to make most Chinese buns. A nice light airiness is what you want, which is best w/ ap flour. I know you said baked goods maybe a smiling donut/cookie; good but deep fried.


                I should add that I've never tried the previous recipes but they look pretty close to what I've done. You're really not going to find sweet chocolaty desserts.