For the bread dough
3 1/2 cups (490 g) gluten free bread flour (See Recipe Notes), plus more for sprinkling
1 2/3 teaspoons (5 g) instant yeast
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) kosher salt
2 tablespoons (28 g) neutral oil (like canola, vegetable, or grapeseed)
1 cup + 3 tablespoons (9 1/2 fluid ounces) warm milk (11 to 11 1/2 ounces if using gluten free pastry flour in place of bread flour) (See Recipe Notes)
For the filling
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (peel the ginger by scraping with a spoon, slice into coins, slice the coins into matchsticks, then mince)
3 tablespoons tamari or gluten free soy sauce, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons mirin (rice cooking wine)
1 teaspoon (5 g) toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons (9 g) neutral oil (like canola, vegetable, or grapeseed)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground pork, chicken or beef (if you use nearly fat-free ground meat, like ground chicken, add 2 more teaspoons vegetable oil to the filling)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I used bagged shredded cabbage with shredded carrots)
Chopped scallions, for serving (optional)
Line the bottom of a steamer basket (metal or bamboo) with parchment paper, and set it aside.
First, make the bread dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook (or fitted with the paddle attachment if using pastry flour in place of bread flour), place the flour blend, yeast and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the oil and milk, and mix on low speed with the dough hook (or paddle if using pastry flour) until combined. Raise the mixer speed to medium and knead (or mix) for about 5 minutes. The dough will begin as a rough ball and become very sticky, but should be smooth and somewhat stretchy (if using pastry flour, the dough will clump and begin to come together in shards, more like play-doh). Spray a silicone spatula lightly with cooking oil spray, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or proofing bucket, and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap (or the oiled top to your proofing bucket). Set it in a warm, draft-free location to rise for about 45 minutes or until it is about 150% of its original size (if using pastry flour, the dough will rise less). Place the dough in the refrigerator, still covered tightly, to chill for about 10 minutes. This will make it easier to handle.
Make the filling while the bread dough is rising. In a medium-size bowl, place the ginger, tamari, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, vegetable oil, and pepper, and mix to combine well. Set the bowl aside. In a large bowl, place the ground meat and the cabbage, and mix to combine. Add the ginger/soy sauce mixture to the large bowl of meat and cabbage, and mix to combine well. Cover the bowl and place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill.
Shape the buns while the filling chills. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with additional flour, and shape into a smooth ball (this will be much, much easier if you used bread flour). Divide the dough evenly into four separate pieces, then each piece into 4 equal pieces. Sprinkle all of the pieces of dough lightly with flour, and cover all but one with a moist tea towel so that they don’t dry out. Using well-floured hands, roll the exposed piece of dough into a round between your palms. Place the dough back on the flat surface and press down into a disk with the heel of your hand. Using well-floured fingers, flatten the dough into a round about 4-inches in diameter, working from the inside out and leaving the center of the dough much thicker than the edges. This will keep the filling from leaking out during steaming and keep the pleats from being too bulky. Remove the chilled filling from the refrigerator and place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the shaped piece of dough. With well-floured hands, gather the ends of the dough together up and over the filling like an accordion, making your way around until the bun is sealed. Gently twist the raised center of the dough, and place the bun in the bamboo steamer on the parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, placing the buns about 1 1/2-inches apart from one another. Cover the buns with the lid of the steamer or a large piece of oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 30 minutes or just until the buns have begun to swell.
Steam the buns. Place the steamer, still covered, over just enough simmering water on the stovetop that the water nearly touches the bottom of the steamer, but does not. Steam over high heat for 8 minutes, replenishing the steaming water as it evaporates. Turn off the heat and allow the steamer to sit, covered, for another 2 to 4 minutes or until the buns are fluffy but relatively firm to the touch. Scatter a few chopped scallions on the top of each bun, and serve warm with a side of tamari or gluten free soy sauce.
Make ahead option: The buns can be made, steamed, and cooled completely, then wrapped tightly and frozen. Defrost at room temperature and steam again briefly to warm before serving.
Adapted from Yi Reservation. Originally published on the blog in 2015. Video and some photos new; some text added.