I have posted some entries on my website regarding how to perfect your steamed and baked siopao buns, i remember one student from Bicol province who said it reminded him of the baked siopao buns his mother made for him. Yes, you can bake these buns if you like. You will not encounter problems with shrinking tops since the surface is exposed to more dry heat than steaming, creating a golden brown crust. Another student requested that we toast the tops, and so we did, their versions also in bicol, (he attended the class with his wife and 10 year old kid)has hard boiled eggs for filling.
Which i did last week and this week again. It makes the siopao more filling, the longganisa and chorizo versions were not popular at our household so i used slices of salted eggs and hard boiled eggs instead.
the biggest tip,
Again, never uncover the steaming buns after steaming them. Just leave the lid or cover, let the buns cool off for a few minutes then take them to a warmer (if you want to serve them warm) or cool them off racks just like what i do.
If you take the lid off right after steaming, the tops shrink!!! I use think kitchen towels in each layer of the steamer to catch the steam and keep it off the buns. Make sure the kitchen towels are clean!!!
Siopao dough is stiff, use just 50% water, and all purpose flour is used, never bread flour or the buns will be dark in color.
Steam the buns in rolling boil water.
I made the mistake of using ordinary paper at the bottom of the doughs, DON'T! It will leave an aftertaste to the steamed buns. Use wax paper, parchment paper or even clear glassine muffin liners, or glassine cookie sheets instead.
Mix the dough until it becomes smooth, this tells you why you need a heavy duty mixer to do the job. My 20 quart mixer took at least 20 minutes to finish 2.2 lbs or 1 kilogram dough.
Portion out the dough, i use a standard 70 grams everytime i make siopao. Cover the rounded doughs to prevent drying.