All About Wheat Flour

Classification of Steamed Breads and Buns (Part 2)

Classification of Steamed Breads and Buns (Part 1)

The ingredients for traditional northern- and southern-style steamed breads are very simple: flour, water, and yeast or sourdough (Huang and Miskelly, 1991). Guangdong-style steamed bread may contain up to 25% sugar and 10% fat (Huang and Quail, 1997). Lard was the traditional source of fat, but has now been replaced by fats derived from palm or soy beans. Raising agents, particularly ammonium bicarbonate, have also been used to increase the softness. Dried milk powder or fresh milk is often used to enhance the flavor and protein content.

Key steamed bread quality parameters include specific volume, spread ratio, skin smoothness, color, and texture.

1. Specific Volume
Specific volume is defined as the ratio of volume in milliliters to the weight ingrams. The specific volume for northern-style steamed bread is less than 2.5, while the specific volume for southern-style steamed bread is around 3.0; and for Guangdong style 2.6–3.4 (Table 2.1).

2. Spread Ratio
The spread ratio is defined as the ratio of width/height measured in millimeters at the point of maximum width and maximum height. The ratio gives an indication of the profile of the steamed bread. Spread ratios are only applicable for well-rounded products. Steamed breads with a spread ratio of 1.2–1.5 are considered as having a northern-style shape, while a spread ratio of 1.4–1.6 is regarded as a southern-style shape (Table 2.1).

3. Texture and Eating Quality
There are obvious differences in texture and eating quality between the three styles of steamed bread. Northern style steamed bread is characterized by its dense texture and firm, elastic, and very cohesive eating quality. Southern and Guangdong styles have a more open texture. Consumers in southern China prefer steamed bread which is soft and a bit chewy. Guangdong-style steamed bread is unique, being very sweet and with a very soft and elastic, but not cohesive, eating quality. Quality preferences in China range from less sweet with a cohesive texture inthe north through to a sweet, soft but with less cohesive texture in the south. This helps to explain why consumers in Guangzhou do not prefer gao zhong mantou and consumers in the north do not prefer the Guangdong style.

The different styles of steamed bread have different flour quality requirements.

Traditional northern-style steamed bread is most popular in northern China. Taiwanese steamed bread, a sweeter version of northern-style steamed bread, has a very cohesive and elastic texture that the locals refer to as “Q.” Southern-style steamed bread, which used to be popular only in southern China, is now popular throughout China as a result of added sugar and fat and the use of the “one step” dough procedure (see Section 6.5.1). Most of the steamed breads now produced in factories in Beijing are less firm than typical traditional northern style (gaozhuang mantou, gangzi mantou, and guanguan mo in Table 2.2). In fact, the majority of steamed breads now consumed in northern China have a firmness that is between typical northern style and southern style. Guangdong-style steamed bread is not only popular in the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, and Hainan, but also in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other Southeast Asian countries. Steamed products consumed in other East and Southeast Asian countries are mainly steamed buns based on the Guangdong-style dough formula (Table 2.3). In Japan and Korea, the winter season is the most popular time for steamed buns. These include pork-filled nikuman popular in Japan and Korean hoppang, which is filled with red bean paste.

1997 Market Survey
To survey geographic preferences, a number of samples of imported packaged frozen steamed breads and steamed buns were purchased from retail outlets in Sydney, Australia. The products were steamed according to the manufacturers recommendations before assessment. Portions of the cooked crumb were analyzed for fat and sugar content.

Table 2.4 shows the results of the analysis of the steamed breads. One Taiwanese product is closer to the accepted tradition northern style, with low fat and sugar content. The remaining products fall closer to the Guangdong style with their higher expected fat and sugar content.

Samples of cooked crumb were taken for analysis from between the skin and the filling of the steamed buns. No analysis was undertaken on the fillings.

Fat content of the buns varied slightly between regions, with the samples from Singapore and West Malaysia containing a much higher level of fat. Sugar contents also varied between regions with the majority of samples with a low fat content having the highest sugar contents (Table 2.5). These results are consistent with the observation that in southern China and Southeast Asia there is a preference for sweeter products. The sample from Malaysia was atypical of the set in that it had a low fat level but very high sugar content.
TABLE 2.3 Typical Examples of Steamed Buns in Asia
TABLE 2.4 Comparison of Fat and Sugar Contents of Commercial Frozen Steamed Breads Sold in Australia and Manufactured in the Southeast Asian Region (1997 Survey)
TABLE 2.5 Comparison of Fat and Sugar Contents of the Crumb of Commercial Frozen Steamed Buns Sold in Australia and Manufactured in the Southeast Asian Region (1997 Survey)

Overall the fat contents of the steamed bun samples surveyed (Table 2.5) were relatively low compared with the unfilled products surveyed in Table 2.4. This may indicate that manufacturers believe that fat additions ranging from about 2% to 3% are ideal for the manufacture of steamed buns. Sugar addition to the doughs varied with the highest levels found in samples from Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Malaysia demonstrating the preference for sweeter product from these regions. Overall the data confirm that steamed bread and buns consumed in Southeast Asia are Guangdong style.

2015 Market Survey
A second market survey was undertaken to validate and expand on the findings of the first survey. Frozen packaged steamed breads (mantou) were selected from Asian retail outlets in Sydney, Australia, as in the first survey. Steamed buns were not collected as no laboratory product analysis was undertaken. For all products, country of origin, product type, nutrition panel information, and ingredient lists were documented. Fat and sugar contents as detailed in the nutrition panel were used to compare with the previous survey.
TABLE 2.6 Comparison of Fat and Sugar Contents of Commercial Frozen Steamed Breads Sold in Australia and Manufactured in the Southeast Asian Region (2015 Survey)
Comparison of Tables 2.4 and 2.6 shows similar trends for fat and sugar addition across regions. Overall the two surveys show that steamed bread composition and styles have remained relatively static over the time between the two surveys. Fat contents were higher than in traditional northern-style steamed breads but excluding the Hong Kong sample, mostly below 5%. Sugar additions varied markedly within and between regions and between manufacturers. No sample was made using the traditional northern-style formulation with no added sugar. Based on the fat and sugar contents, the samples fall mainly between traditional northernstyle steamed bread and Guangdong-style steamed bread reflecting the change in consumer preference to a softer and sweeter product.

Changes in Chinese economic development, urbanization, and life style have resulted in changes in steamed bread manufacture and consumer preference. Traditionally, steamed breads were made at home. However, today the majority of steamed breads, buns, and twisted rolls are made in small- or medium-sized factories in the cities. Some handmade products are still produced in small family workshops and in homes in the countryside. Steamed breads manufactured by the sponge and dough procedure are preferred for flavor and texture. The popularity of traditional northern-style steamed bread in China is in decline as the younger generations have developed a preference for softer and sweeter products. Factory produced jizhi mantou is gaining popularity in northern China as it has a softer texture than traditional northern-style steamed bread. While consumption of southern-style steamed bread is increasing throughout China, in Shanghai, recent investment from Taiwan has seen the emergence of modern factories manufacturing Guangdong-style (with added sugar and fat) frozen steamed breads. All three styles of steamed bread are available in supermarkets in major cities. The current popularity of Guangdong-style steamed breads is predicted to increase due to its impact on the preference of younger generations. In new cities like Shenzhen where the population has migrated from all over China, all three styles of steamed breads are popular and available for purchase. In Southeast Asian regions there is a preference for softer and sweeter steamed breads and buns with many regional preferences and styles.

Refferences : Steamed Breads Ingredients, Processing and Quality. by : Sidi Huang and Diane Miskelly