China is the world’s largest producer of wheat, which is mainly grown in the north, and so it is in the north that steamed bread or mantou is a staple food. It is usually eaten hot and can be consumed at all meals. In southern China, which is a rice-growing area, steamed bread is eaten mostly at breakfast. Steamed bread popularity has spread throughout China, and can be found even in remote areas.

Steamed bread was introduced to Japan during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. Lin Jingyin introduced steamed bread to Japan and this is celebrated annually (Ni, 2004). According to the Japanese pronunciation, steamed bun is called “manju” and products consumed have various types of fillings such as bean paste, meat, curry, sweet and sour pork, walnut, vegetables, prawn, beef, and shell fish. Manju can also be made with rice flour. In Korea, steamed products are the second most popular wheat product after cold buckwheat noodles known as naengmyon (Nagao, 1995).

Yum cha, which literally means “drink tea,” has spread from Guangdong to most of south east Asia and to Chinatowns in the West. Dim sum, which are served during yum cha, include small steamed dishes which are usually served in their bamboo steamers. Steamed buns are a popular dim sum item.

In Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, it has been reported that 40–50% of wheat consumption is in the form of noodles and steamed bread (Anon, 2004).

Chinese steamed bread is made from wheat flour which is mixed into a dough and then fermented before being cooked by steaming. The most common types of steamed breads are either round or roughly cylindrical in shape. Northernstyle steamed breads weigh about 130–150 g and have a white, smooth, shiny skin and no crust. The flavor depends on local preferences, and texture varies from dense to open (Huang and Miskelly, 1991).

As with European bread, where a variety of rolls, buns, and pan bread can be made from the same dough, steamed products such as steamed bread, steamed buns, and twisted rolls can be made from the same dough, although the formulation is different from that used for European bread (Huang, 1999). Steamed products can be made with and without fillings. Some of the different types of steamed products are shown in Fig. 1.1. In this book, steamed bread means steamed product without filling, and steamed bun means steamed product with filling.

FIGURE 1.1 Steamed products in their various forms: steamed bread, buns, and rolls. Reproduced
with permission from Huang, S., 2014. Steamed bread. In: Zhou, W., Hui, Y.H. (Eds.), Bakery Products
Science and Technology, second ed. Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex, UK, pp. 539–562.

Traditionally, steamed bread was made at home by hand. With the increase in urbanization and living and working away from home, today almost all steamed bread, buns, and rolls sold in cities are made in factories. Many families have little time to make the products at home and many of the younger generations have lost the art entirely. Mechanization has given rise to batch and continuous production, where automated mixing, sheeting, and molding are used.

1. Steamed Bread (Mantou or Moo)
Steamed bread is called mantou or moo in China and is made without filling (Fig. 1.2). Steamed bread is more popular in China than in other Asian countries. Steamed bread usually has a round or cylindrical shape. Round northernstyle types commonly weigh approximately 130 g, whereas the southern-style type is produced in two sizes of 65 or 130 g and the Guangdong-style type is smaller, weighing only 25 g.

2. Steamed Buns (Bao Zi or Bao)
Steamed buns contain many different fillings (Fig. 1.3). They can be divided broadly into two types: savory and sweet fillings (see Chapter 5).

3. Steamed Rolls (Huajuan or Juan)
Steamed rolls, such as those shown in Fig. 1.4, have condiments such as sesame oil spread between the layers of the dough. Differences in the cutting, stretching, rolling, and folding of the dough and of the steaming processes can give diverse shapes and flavors. See Section 7.2.3.

FIGURE 1.2 Steamed bread.

FIGURE 1.3 Steamed buns.

FIGURE 1.4 Steamed rolls.

4. Fancy Steamed Bread
There are numerous types of fancy steamed breads manufactured in China which are consumed as a snack. Popular examples are rouding mantou filled with chopped pork and the sweet bread kaihua mantou (Fig. 1.5).

5. Char Siew Bao—Guangdong-Style Barbecue Pork Buns
Char siew bao is a unique Guangdong-style steamed bun filled with barbequed pork (char siew). It has an extremely soft and fluffy texture and very sweet taste (Fig. 1.6). It is characterized by a split on the top of the bun (which occurs during steaming) and is popular in most parts of Asia and is on the menu for dim sum. It is actually similar to steamed cake.

6. Steamed Cake
There are many types of steamed cakes consumed in Asia which use varied ingredients and processing conditions. Steamed cake, fagao (Fig. 1.7), usually has a much more open texture than steamed bread. It is usually made using wheat flour or blends of wheat flour and other grain flours such as corn flour or millet flour, together with water, yeast, and sugar. In the south of China, sweet rice wine is used as the yeast source, resulting in very good flavor. Processing includes mixing to a soft dough, fermentation, molding, proofing, and steaming. Fagao has a soft and open texture and sweet taste and is most commonly consumed as a snack or at breakfast. Steamed egg cake, zheng zhi dangao (Fig. 1.8), is made from a batter using flour, eggs, sugar, water, and an aerating agent. The cooked texture is very fine, similar to Western cake, but the color is creamy yellow instead of golden brown. There are many types of steamed egg cake which use additional ingredients such as pandan (leaves or extract from the aromatic screw pine), dates, walnut, and preserved fruits.

FIGURE 1.5 Kaihua mantou.

FIGURE 1.6 Char siew bao—Guangdong-style barbecue pork buns.

FIGURE 1.7 Steamed cake (fagao).

FIGURE 1.8 Steamed egg cake, zheng zhi dangao.

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

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