The perfect pau skin

Finally I have perfected the pau skin.  Thanks to my aunty whose culinary skills is always one of the top in the family.  She has decided to pass on her knowledge to me after finding that I am the only one with interest in cooking and baking.  She said, good to pass on, at least after she is gone, she know that someone has learn the skills.

I made pau earlier.    The skin was very hard and tough.

I don't know what went wrong last time, but here's the perfect pau recipe.  Please bear in mind, that my aunty, being the superb chef, don't always have the actual measurement for everything.  All goes by feelings which I find a little hard because I am really terrible at estimating anything.  So here goes:

The Perfect Pau Recipe and Method

300g Pau flour (makes 12 paus)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp yeast
A little bit of baking powder
Water (don't have actual measurement)
Vegetable shortening (don't have actual measurement)

Kaya (should be a little bit hard, so keep in the freezer to get that)

1. Mix the yeast with sugar and add a little bit of water to mix together.

2. Make a well in the flour and pour the yeast mixture into the well.

3. With your hands, combine the flour with the mixture.

4. Knead and add water and vegetable shortening as you go.  The dough should have a smooth texture that doesn't stick to your fingers or break.  As I was kneading the dough, my aunty was adding water and vegetable shortening on and off.  So I really do not know how much was added.  Continue kneading with your palm, not fingers.  Pull and push.  No need to use the roller.  Kneaded for about 10-15 minutes.

5. Some people covered the dough with a wet cloth to let it proof a little more.  My aunty said no need.  Instead, here we cut the dough into smaller pieces.  Ensure each piece is the same size.

6.  Roll and flatten the dough with your hands and put the kaya filling in the center.  Ensure the edges are thinner and the center part where the filling is is thicker.  Be careful not to put too much filling, or else it will leak out later.  If you have a harden kaya, then it's easier to fill.  Close the edges by pinching the sides slowly.

7.  Once you get a ball, put it on the tray (with the opening part downwards) and shape it with your fingers.  Just cover the pau with your palm and with your fingers just move the pau around.  You will get a round shape.

8.  Put the pau onto the baking paper.  We do it the other way round, the opening of the pau is at the bottom so that we can see the smooth pau backside.

9.  Here's the trick.  Once you have line out the pau onto the trays, cover it with a white cotton cloth (aunty used an old t'shirt) and sun it for 45 minutes.  This way, the dough will proof more and will turn into a very smooth surface.  I think this is the trick for the yummy pau skin.  Aunty said, this way the steaming process is shorter.

10.  When ready, you will see the pau has expanded, flatter and rounder.  Put into the wok and steam for 7 minutes.  You might want to cover the wok cover with another cotton cloth so that no water is drop onto the pau while steaming.  

I am not really sure if it is the vegetable shortening that gave the smooth consistency.  Since shortening is not healthy, I am wondering what other ingredients can substitute this.

Am going to try out the butter milk pau again.  Yay!