Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ka-Pau! Flatlined treat

Silly, silly me to have  doubted myself. Or rather doubted my self doubt ... about my ability to cook with yeast that is. I decided to seize the day, take the proverbial bull by its horns, conquer my fears ... blah blah (you get the picture) and try a recipe that required yeast: Char Siu Pau, vegetarian.

The recipes I browsed through looked pretty easy enough and I went out and got all the ingredients: Hong Kong flour, wheat starch (never used it before), double action baking powder ... the works.

I was excited. This could be great, I thought.

I had too much vegetarian char siu left over (from the wan tan mee recipe) and thought this would be a great way to finish it.

And so I began. I read through the recipe three times and followed it carefully all the way through. I kneaded like never before for a full 20 mins. Man, that's hard work and though my good friend and colleague Marty enjoys kneading (she make bread -- all types -- the old fashioned way, with no breadmaker) I absolutely don't see any joy in it.  Except maybe the prospect of building some muscle in one arm.

Then I covered the well kneaded dough with a damp tea towel for 30 mins for it  to rise.

It was supposed to rise to DOUBLE  it's size. Mine didn't look like it rose AT ALL.


Never mind, I thought. Maybe it'll work anyway. The yeast is in there. As is the double action baking powder. Perhaps they'll kick in later. So I shaped the dough into balls and rolled them into 3 inch wide circles, filled them with my char siu filling (this turned out great) and steamed them for 15 mins a batch.

Boo Hoo. They didn't become fluffy. They rose a little and they tasted great ... like the real deal ... but they weren't fluffy. They weren't rock hard, but they weren't fluffy like how Pau is supposed to be.

I was so dejected and I text messaged Marty to report my failure. She suggested several reasons for the failure: "yeast dead, water too hot, water not hot enough ... many reasons". Boo Hoo.

I decided to tr y again. Another recipe. What happened? Same deal. Sigh. What do i do other than stuff the remaining packets of dry yeast deep into my pantry and accept -- for now -- that yeast is not my friend. Pooh.


  1. Ahem... yeast, knead, dough... you're speaking my language. Come on now, you're not going to give up so easily, are you?

  2. Do this little experiment:
    Get 1/3 glass of warm milk or water (warm enough to dip your little finger in without feeling scalded). Add a packet of yeast to it. If it doesn't bubble up a bit within 10 minutes, throw all your yeast away (deader than a doorknob).

  3. alright folks will give it one more try


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