Mantou is a dish that has its roots in Northern China.It is prepared with processed wheat flour, water and leavening agents.Though this is popular through out the country, this is a staple in Northern China which is dependent on wheat as the main source of Carbohydrate.
Originally the term Mantou used to denote both filled and unfilled buns. During the Song Dynasty, filled buns were called Baozi and eventually Mantou was being referred to buns without filling and Baozi as those with some form of filling.But even today in many parts of Northern China Mantou still denotes filled buns.
Mantou can be steamed / deep fried after steaming. Each variety is equally delicious.The steamed version is served with soy sauce and / chili sauce/ paste. The Deep fried mantou is served with condensed milk and I bet you just can't stop with one!!!
The recipe here is for the basic Mantou dough.When you have this dough you can make baozi,Hua juan and other steamed buns.
Adapted from - The Woks of Life
All purpose Flour-2 cups
Instant Yeast- 1 teaspoon
Sugar- 1 teaspoon
Baking powder- 1 teaspoon
Oil- 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Luke warm water- 1 cup [see notes below]
Take the flour and salt in a bowl. Add yeast, sugar,baking powder,oil . Give it a mix and add water little by little
Knead to a smooth,elastic dough. When you start kneading it will be sticky,but there is no need to add more flour. Keep kneading and the texture will change. Once you have kneaded it well, keep in an oiled bowl, cocvered, till it rises double in volume. Mine rose in an hour! Once the dough has risen double, punch out the air.
Divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll out the balls into small logs and cut them into pieces. The size is your preference.Place them on a greased steamer plate and steam for 10-12 minutes. or till the surface turns glossy. Over cooking the mantou will change the texture so it is best to avoid over cooking the mantou.
Serve the hot steamed buns with Soy dipping Sauce and Chili Sauce.
You can also deep fry the steamed mantou after it is cooled.Serve them with condensed milk
Or with a topping of powdered sugar...
I used 1 cup of water but in the original recipe 1 1/4 cups water was used for double the quantity of flour.The water used will vary on the quality of flour among other factors. So add water little by little and keep a little extra luke warm water just in case you need it.