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Chinese Flower Mantou

(makes 10 large or 15 to 18 small buns)

Gelatinised dough
90g plain flour
60ml hot boiling water
1.  Place flour in a mixing bowl.
2. .Add hot boiling water and mix with wooden spoon to form a rough dough..
3. Cover bowl with cling film and leave dough to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour

A Ingredients:
1 tsp dry yeast*
2 Tbsp water
-mix all together.

* If instant yeast is used, reduced the yeast by 20% and add extra tsp of sugar to avoid the yeast smell of over fermentation.

B Ingredients:
260g  plain flour
1 tsp double-action baking powder
30g  fine sugar
250 ml water*
1 Tbsp shortening (Crisco) or veg oil

*If you use 250 ml and you are kneading by hand, add 200 ml first and knead in the remainder slowly, 10 to 15 ml each time, so that the dough is not too sticky to handle.

1. Sift the flour and baking powder together . If using shortening, rub it into the flour evenly.

2. Mix A with all the B ingredients in a mixer bowl. Tear the gelatinized dough into pieces and add to the bowl,  and knead at medium speed till very smooth, about 6-8 minutes. The dough should be quite soft. Never mind if it's slighty sticky. Continue kneading until it isn't sticky. If kneading with hands, put dough back into the bowl and cover with a cloth. Rest for 30 min or until double in size.

3. Divide dough into 50g  balls. Flatten each ball, roll into a small oval shape as long as your hand and about 3 to 4 cm wide. Use a metal pastry cutter and cut the dough into thin strips of 1/2 cm, thinner than that if you are making mini buns.

4. Brush the cut strips of dough with veggie oil.

5. Take the ends of the dough, one end in each hand, and twist around your thumb and tips of your forefinger.

6. Stretch the dough by pulling gently as you twist it around the tips of your thumb and forefinger. Tuck the end underneath the bun by pulling the last bit down to meet the other end that's at the bottom.

8. Place the buns on a small square of baking paper to proof. Let the buns proof for 30-45 minutes or until doubled. Do not over prove or buns will wrinkle when steamed.

9. Steam at high heat for 4 minutes for small buns, 5 to 6 minutes for larger buns. A bamboo steamer basket gives best results because the steam can escape instead of dripping onto the buns and messing them.

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