pau dough recipe

Cook , Snack // 23.02.2010

My mother-in-law is an incredible cook and this is one of her specialties – pau. During Chinese New Year when we were free, I managed to persuade her to teach me the finer points of pau-making.


  • 1kg flour (bluekey brand)
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 2 cups water (lukewarm)
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • Grease-proof paper cut into squares


  1. Place flour and yeast in a big bowl.
  2. Then dissolve sugar in warm water and add in a pinch of salt.
  3. Pour sugary water into the bowl of flour and yeast in batches. Add in oil.
  4. Knead the ingredients together until combined.
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 15 minutes.
  6. After the dough has risen, knead it again gently until smooth and elastic. Then divide the dough into small balls.
  7. Roll out the balls into thin circles, wrap the pau with a filling of your choice (it works well with both savoury and sweet fillings) and place the pau on a small sheet of grease-proof paper.
  8. Place a damp cloth over the pau and let them rise again for another 15 mins or so and they will be ready for steaming.
  9. When you’re ready to place the pau into the steamer, wipe the lid and make sure that no water falls on the pau. Steam them for 10 minutes.
  10. Place the hot pau on a couple of sheets of newspaper to cool. The newspapers will absorb the excess moisture from the pau.
  11. Once they are cool, they are ready to be served!

My MIL prefers to use sengkuang (sweet turnip/chinese turnip) as a filling for the pau, making them taste extra-special. To do this filling just stirfry grated sengkuang (with the juices squeezed out), pork, onion, water chestnuts (finely chopped) and adjust the flavour with soy sauce, black soy sauce, pepper and salt.

This is the end result… steamed pau all waiting to be eaten! *yum*

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  • Siew Lee

    hi, I was just wondering what flour did you used in this recipe? thanks!

  • caffeinedoll

    HI Siew Lee, I use bluekey pau flour for this.

  • ST

    Hi! I tried your recipe but …. don’t know why the dough didn’t rise at all! after mixing everything togethe? Is it something wrong with the yeast?  Ooh! Please help~~~~

  • caffeinedoll

    Hi ST,
    I’m so sorry to hear that! It may be one of two reasons:
    1. The dried yeast has expired.
    2. The water that you used was too hot and it killed the yeast, or too cold and the yeast did not start the fermentation process.

    Here’s more information on it if you want to go into details:

    I do hope your next batch of dough turns out better.

  • Mousechee

    Thank you for this steamed pau recipe. I had tried it and it turns out great. It is also my first time making it and it is successful!

  • caffeinedoll

    I’m so glad it worked out well for you! Happy Chinese New Year!

  • shiraz

    can you use hong kong flour ?

  • caffeinedoll

    sure you can. it is also a finely milled flour.