Today, I need to make some of these buns as offering for ancestral worship [my father in-law's 4th anniversary]. I was wondering how these buns will be like if I were to use the sponge dough method which usually yields very soft buns. The buns rose beautifully and indeed very soft even on the third day. I didn't manage to take photos of the inside as all were given to my hubby's siblings.
The ingredients are exactly the same as in my previous posting [mi koo recipe here] and the method is as below.
Ingredients for Sponge Dough
[makes 8 pieces]
450 gm plain flour - sifted
1.5 tbsp instant yeast
250 ml water
- Mix all the ingredients into a soft dough. Cover to proof for 1-2 hours.
Ingredients for Bun Dough
150 gm plain flour - sift together with baking powder
1 heaped tsp double action baking powder
150 gm castor sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp coconut milk
1 heaped tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tsp rose pink colouring mix with 100 ml water for brushing bun on skin
8 pieces of greased proof or parchment paper [3 inches x 5 inches]
- Mix bun dough ingredients [except shortening] to sponge dough until well combined. Knead until soft and smooth, then add in shortening. Continue to knead until dough is smooth and pliable. Shape dough into a round ball. Cover to proof for 30 minutes or until double in size.
- Remove dough onto a floured board. Punch down dough to release air then roll out into a long log and cut into 8 equal pieces [about 150 gm/piece]. Form each piece into a smooth round ball then press roll from the centre to form an oblong shape dough. Put dough onto a piece of paper. Complete the same for the rest. Leave to proof till double in size [about 30 minutes]. Before steaming, brush dough with rose coloured [pink] water.
- Heat enough water on high heat in wok. When water is boiling, put steamer [I use 2 x 14" bamboo steamer] over the water and steamed for 20 minutes. Off heat and leave steamed buns in steamer [covered] for about 3 minutes before uncovering to remove buns to cool on rack. The purpose is to get a smooth skin bun. If using other steamers be careful of water vapour that may drop onto the buns.
- Serve buns warm with a hot beverage.
These buns can be:
- stored in plastic bag and kept in the freezer for months. Just thaw to room temperature and steam for 10 minutes before serving or
- sliced and spread with butter or
- fried with beaten egg like french toast or
- wrap with sliced roast pork.
Lovely pincky colour. How do you get nice smooth and even colour on ni ku? Any tips? I know some recipe use another layer of red dough for even and smooth surface. Thanks!
Hi Vivian, I used a soft, broad brush to apply the pink colour just before steaming the buns. I feel it's quite a waste to wrap the bun with a pink layer dough, after all we weren't be eating the coloured portion.
Are you referring brush specially for dough or the type we used to write 墨字? What kind of colouring you are using? Powder or liquid type?
Wow I am attracted to the Mi Koo!
I will surely try to make some this weekend. Will come back to you soon.
Hi Vivian, yes but it is broad [the width is about 3 cm]- maybe I'll post a photo for you. I used Star brand - rose pink edible liquid colouring.
Hi Anonymous, glad you will be trying it. These buns are getting quite costly especially during the Chinese festive season. You can make them round or into a tortoise shape.
Thanks. Will try to get the rose pink colouring. Hope I can get nice colour as yours :)
Hi Vivian, after brushing the first bun, you can adjust the colour to lighter or darker. When you brush the skin, try to brush over the surface only once to get an even tone.
I wonder if I can prepare the soft dough proofing overnight in a fridge first? how should I go about it?
Also, i will be using the old fashioned steel type (2-3 tier) steamer. How should I prevent the vapour from wetting the buns?
Thanks for sharing this recipe. Been searching for it for a long time! :)
Hi Cindy. 1. You can keep the dough in plastic bag [tied up] after kneading until smooth and soft, then store in the fridge. Thaw, shape and proof the dough before steaming. 2. You can line the tray with a bamboo tray or clean muslin cloth, this may help.
Tried making mi ku today! It was a success altho out of 8 mi kus, only 3 turned out nicely shaped. The rest were of funny shapes. I dont know how to make it as nice as yours. It was rather hard to shape the dough, very elastic!
Also, my mi kus are a little too chewy. What could be the reason? How can i make it less chewy?
Thanks for sharing the recipe. :-)
Hi Cindy, Mi Koo should be chewy and firm, not soft as buns or flaky as some baos. If your Mi Koo is chewy, it's the right texture. Best to steam Mi Koo till soft before eating, it will be soft and less chewy. You can shape your Mi Koo in round shape first [like tortoise shape]. Once your can manage the dough well, you can try making it into oblong shape by rolling the centre of the round dough with the 3 centre fingers of both hands. Happy trying.
Thanks for this great recipe, Kimmy...it was my first time trying to make Mi Koo and it turned out well on my 2nd attempt because I didn't have double action baking powder initially. Like Cindy above, I can't get smooth surface too, but very satisfied with the texture.
Hi Choo, thanks for the feedback. For the smooth surface it could be due to shaping, proofing etc. Brushing of the pink colouring has to be done just before steaming. Over proofing can also result in flattened mi koo with wrinkled surface. Honestly, it is quite difficult to explain in words but believe me, practice makes perfect. I just discovered that bread flour can also be used to make mi koo, but pau flour gives the best result in terms of colour and texture.
Thanks for the great recipe. Can i substitute shortening with vegetable oil?
Hi Wind, my friend used vegetable oil for her Mi Koo. She also used boiled pandan water cos' she doesn't add coconut milk. I haven't tried her version cos' I prefer the aroma of coconut in these buns. In the past, my elders used lard.
Hi Kimmy, I have tried your mi koo with the sponge dough, It turn out very soft and fluffy. I like the texture of the mi koo. But I would like to make white coffee mi koo which I have tasted during the nine emperor god last year 2015 in ipoh. I hope you will be able to help me to make the white coffee mi koo using sponge dough. Thank you very much .
Hi Ooi, I haven't tasted white coffee mi koo before and not sure how intense is the flavour. But I suppose you can dissolve the white coffee [is it the 3-1 instant mix?] with hot water that makes up to 250 ml. What I'm not sure is whether the instant yeast will react well and good with white coffee liquid. Do try and let me know, I would love to try it too.
Can i substitute water for the coconut milk?
Hi Teng, yes you can but it lacks the fragrance of coconut milk. You can try substitute liquid coconut milk with coconut powder. Just mix and dissolve 2 tbsp of the powder to the water for the Mi Koo. The aroma is lovely.
Thanks for your reply. I'll definitely try the recipe as my mum loves mi gu.
Hi Teng, you are welcome. I make mi koo many times a year especially for ancestral veneration because my mother in-law loves these buns very much. I used to make for my mom too but my sister in-law has learned how to make them. She is making for the family now. These buns are getting costly nowadays. If you find applying the colour difficult, just omit it.
I have tried the recipe and the 2nd round of kneading was rather dry and difficult to knead in the mixture of flour with sugar and baking powder. Can i add a bit more water at this stage to the rather dry texture of the dough?
And i didn't colour the buns red. Why, after steaming, there's small brown dots on the bun surface?
Hi Gen, yes you can add a little bit more water [maybe a few tablespoons]. Sometimes the flour used is old stock, it could need more water than new flour. The dough should be soft, moist and should not stick to your hand if well kneaded. It could be the yeast or baking powder that is not well dissolve because the dough is too dry.
Thanks for the recipe. It made very soft buns. I didn't use the red food colouring and tried to substitute the water with pandan water, and brushed the bun with some pandan water before steaming, but it didn't really turn our green.
Hi Gen, the dough is brushed pink because the buns are used as offerings when we pray to God. You can omit brushing the buns pink. We remove the pink skin when we eat the buns.
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