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Tips & Tricks

  • The ideal gluten (or protein) content of dumpling flour is 10-11%. So in order to find out how much gluten is in a bag of flour, look at the protein content in the nutritional information table; it should be 10-11%.

  • When kneading any gluten-based dough, the time to stop kneading is when the dough is smooth and elastic. This shows the liquid has been evenly absorbed and, by applying the force of kneading, you have established a gluten network.

  • Any dough stuck to your hands after kneading can be easily removed by rubbing it with dry flour before washing them in the sink. This can also be done during the kneading process if you find the dough sticking to your hand.

  • Cover the dough with cling film as it rests. This ensures that a film doesn’t form on the surface.

  • You can use raw meat for a dumpling filling, but always use a cooked filling for bao. To check that any raw meat dumpling filling is properly seasoned, cook a tablespoon's worth on a frying pan and taste; adjust for seasoning accordingly.

  • For any filling that goes inside dough, make sure the water content is low. This ensures the filling sticks together and prevents dumplings or bao from breaking while cooking.

  • Steam dumplings and bao on parchment paper or a napa cabbage leaf to prevent them from sticking to your steamer. To clean bamboo steamers, remove any food stuck with a damp cloth and leave it out to dry overnight. If you want to deep clean your steamer, use white distilled vinegar instead of water and make sure it is fully dried before storing.

  • When making stock or broth, do not season it until it is almost done. This is because a lot of the broth can reduce during cooking, which would make the seasoning ineffective.