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Basic Dough - Baked Baos/Baozi (Milk Bread Recipe)

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

This rich milk dough is moist, stretchy, fluffy and sweet. It is absolutely delicious on its own and reminds me of King's Hawaiian rolls but BETTER! Filling the baos takes it to the next level. You'll see dozens of shapes, sizes and fillings displayed in every Asian bakery. Popular for breakfast or a grab and go snack!

The secret to this dough is the tangzhong, a cooked flour mixture that when added to the dough helps it to stay extraordinarily moist and gives it an unbeatable texture.

Amazing on it's own or stuff it with any number of sweet or savory fillings! Our favorite sweet filling is my own almond-coconut filling and our favorite savory is a toss between roast pork or hot dog!

Baked Bao/Baozi Dough

Like steamed bao dough, the sky's the limit for this rich milk bread bao dough. Can be stuffed with sweet and savory fillings. Try wrapping around leftover pulled pork, a hot dog, ham and egg (for a nice breakfast sandwich), mixing in raisins and braiding it or baking it in a loaf pan. You won't be able to stop yourself from eating it even if it is plain!

Ingredients (makes 12 buns)


6 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

4 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (or high performance bread flour - recommended)

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Egg wash

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon water

1 Tablespoon honey


2 Tablespoons sesame seeds


Make the tangzhong: Combine milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until you get to a thick gravy consistency 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, stir until incorporated and set aside to cool.

Give the yeast a little head start. In a small bowl add the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Let sit to start blooming while you get your other ingredients together.

Make the dough: Fit mixer with the paddle attachment. In the mixing bowl add milk, flour, remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, tangzhong, and yeast mixture and mix 1 minute. Switch to dough hook and knead 1 minute. Add egg and continue kneading for an additional 8 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough forms. If kneading by hand mix with a silicone spatula first until you get a shaggy looking dough then switch to kneading by hand. Do not worry if it feels sticky at first. Keep kneading allowing flour to absorb moisture. If it is too dry add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If it is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. Dough should look smooth and feel like play dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk. Your "off" oven is a good place.

Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 12 equal pieces. At this point they are ready to shape and fill. Experiment with different fillings. See my favorite filling recipes in the Mix & Match section for suggestions. Shape each piece into a ball. Place on a sheet tray lined with parchment or greased pan, and let rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

In a small bowl mix the egg, water and honey with a fork until honey is dissolved.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes, and brush on some more egg wash. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle bun should read at least 190°F.

Remove the buns from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. is written for informational purposes only. Nutrition values could vary depending on slight differences in brands, substitutions, etc. Feel free to consult your preferred online nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities used.

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