If you're considering taking, or have already signed up for, our online Chinese Bao class, you'll find all the details on how to prepare for it on this page.

Below, we have detailed what you'll cook and learn; the equipment and ingredients you'll need; and any advanced prep necessary. Note: A two-tier bamboo steamer is required to take this class, and you will need to prepare some ingredients in advance (step-by-step instructions are included below). 

Once you've signed up for the class, we will email you all the details on how to log onto the Zoom call and a reminder of the following information. This class is restricted to students aged 16 and older.

The image above was generously provided by Sophie Rushton-Smith (@thecornerplot), who took this online class.

What You'll Cook (& Learn)

- Closed and open bao with a hoisin mushroom filling
- Quick and easy cucumber pickle

We'll walk you through the following techniques:

- How to make bao dough from scratch
- How yeast works and the difference between dry and fresh
- Kneading and proving the dough
- Chopping and prepping the filling
- Cooking mushrooms
- How to fill a bao so it doesn’t overflow
- Quick pickling vegetables to serve on the side
- Shaping and steaming the buns

This class is naturally vegetarian and nut-free; it can be substituted for vegan diets. 

These ingredients yield 8-12 bao buns. If more than one person is taking the class, you have the option of dividing the work and taking turns to knead and cook. However, we do not recommend halving or dividing the recipe, as there needs to be enough yeast for the bread to rise. Luckily, these bao buns freeze well, so if each person makes the recipes as instructed, there will be plenty of leftovers for weeks to come.

Equipment List

- Chef’s knife, sharpened if possible
- Cutting board
- 2 medium mixing bowls, for mixing dough and filling
- 1 small mixing bowl, for making the pickles
- Dough/pastry scraper or wooden spoon, for handling the dough
- Small bowl or jar, for sauce
- Cling film or tea towel, for proving the dough
- Parchment paper, for lining the bamboo steamer
- Scissors, for cutting the paper
- Two tier bamboo steamer, for steaming the bao
- Medium or large frying pan, for cooking the mushrooms
- Medium or large wok, sauté pan or saucepan, for placing under your bamboo steamer 
- Wooden spoon or spatula, for cooking the mushrooms
- Coarse grater, for ginger
- Teaspoon, for filling the bao

Shopping List

This is a complete list of the ingredients you will need for the class. We’ll go through the ingredients needed for each component (i.e. dough and filling) in the ‘Advanced Prep’ section.

- 550g plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 50g double cream
- 15g fresh yeast (or 8g instant dry yeast)
- 350g chestnut mushrooms
- 150g shiitake mushrooms (30g if dried)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 25g piece of ginger
- 100g hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil, more for greasing
- 1 small bunch of coriander (approx 30g)
- 1 red chilli
- 2 spring onions
- 1/2 a large cucumber
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Substitutions

> Lactose-free or oat cream can be substituted for double cream
> Portobello, button, or large flat mushrooms can be substituted for chestnut mushrooms
> 30g dried shiitake mushrooms can be substituted for 150g fresh—but make sure to rehydrate them first (see Advanced Prep)
> Radishes can be substituted for cucumber

Advanced Prep

For this class, you will need to separate your ingredients into four components: Bao Dough, Hoisin Mushroom Filling, Garnish, and Quick Cucumber Pickle. You will need to cut the mushrooms in advance. The instructions are below under ‘Hoisin Mushroom Filling’.

Please make sure to gather and measure out the following ingredients separately before class, and keep it nearby while we are in session. Wash and dry the vegetables and herbs if needed. We recommend grouping the ingredients together like so:

Bao Dough

- 200ml tepid water
- 15g fresh yeast (or 8g instant dry yeast)
- 45g caster sugar
- 430g plain flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 50g double cream
- Some extra flour to dust (approx. 40-50g)
- Neutral oil, like sunflower or vegetable, for greasing

> Measure water for the dough and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour
> Measure flour for the dough and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour
> Measure the yeast, cover the bowl, and place it in the fridge before the class starts

Hoisin Mushroom Filling

- 350g chestnut mushrooms
- 150g shiitake mushrooms (30g rehydrated, if using dry)
- 20-25g piece of ginger
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 100g hoisin sauce

> If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate them about 3-4 hours before preparing the filling. 30g dried shiitake mushrooms makes 150g fresh. Your package should have instructions on how to rehydrate mushrooms, but typically, you must pour enough hot water over the dried mushrooms to cover them generously, wait 3-4 hours for them to plump up, and drain/discard the water.

> To prepare the mushroom filling, roughly chop your cleaned mushrooms into small 3mm -5mm pieces. If you choose to use a blender or food processor for this, blend by using the pulse button, so as to prevent the mushrooms from becoming a puree. Set aside until needed for the class.

Garnish

- 1 small bunch of coriander (approx 20g)
- 1 red chilli
- 2 spring onions
- Optional: crushed peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, thinly sliced carrot or red cabbage

Quick Cucumber Pickle

- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/3 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/2 a large cucumber

Any Questions?

Please feel free to reach out to us at cookschool@boroughkitchen.com. As a reminder: Once you've signed up for the class, we will email you all the details on how to log onto the Zoom call, including how to interact with our instructor and co-instructor, who will be on hand to answer any questions. We'll also send a reminder of all the information provided above.

To sign up for this class, click here.