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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Steamed cocoa buns

What will I do if I am marooned on an island with nothing but just basic cooking implements and desperately need to make some buns ( a strange desire in such circumstances ). Can there be life without an oven ?

Indeed there is hope even for an oven-less baker. For a change, I am using  my  turbo diffusion steamer to make breakfast cocoa buns. This gadget is capable of converting a minute portion of water into steam almost immediately without the need to bring the entire reservoir to a boil.

The smell of the yeast in the steamed buns is more pronounced since the sugars on the surface of the buns are not caramelized. If this is an issue to you, tweak the sugar-cocoa by another 20 percent. Alternatively, add herbal ( jasmine ) tea instead of plain water to overcome this problem.

Makes 12 buns.

260g Tepid water
5g instant yeast
500g Plain flour
30g castor sugar
15g canola oil
2 teaspoons cooca powder

Dissolve yeast in water. Set aside.
Whisk flour and sugar well.  Add oil and yeast solution to flour mixture.
Knead the dough until it is shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Divide dough to 2 portions : about 450 g and 330g
On the 330g dough, add cocoa powder and knead until the dough and cocoa is homogeneous and brown.

Flour a big working surface. You will  need space for 2 big sheets of dough.

Roll out both white and cocoa dough to form 2 similar big rectangular sheets. Trim edges with a pizza cutter.

Mist spray surface of white dough. Transfer cocoa dough onto white dough.

On the far end, longer side of the combined dough, pull its edges towards you and roll , as like a swiss roll.

Just before reaching the edge , mist spray the inner surface of the dough and complete the swiss roll action. The moisture will seal the dough and give the edge a neat finish.

Trim off untidy edges or the log roll with a sharp knife.

Use a cutter, make 10-12 portions of swirly cocoa buns. Let it ferment for 20 minutes.

Place the swirly cocoa buns, 2 inches apart, on a steam rack,  without touching the walls of the steamer.

Place steaming rack on a steamer of cold water. Steam  for 20 minutes, clocking from the time steamer is turned on.

Cool before storing. It freezes well for about a month.


  1. Whoah these look like store bought steamed buns! So neat! =)

  2. Could you please post step by step pictures for shaping the buns and creating the swirls??

  3. Hi Lemon Drop,
    I did not take photos of the process but one of my favorite blogger has a similar recipe with step by step photos. The dough mix is not quite the same - I stacked the chocolate layer onto the white layer and roll to a tight roll before cutting to individual buns while Vivian twists the 2 types dough into a rope before cutting. Whichever, the outcome is rather similar - with swirls.
    Here's where :
    Hope this helps !