Steamed buns using Telkes reflectors
by LuzElena Covarrubias
Makes about 8 buns, depending on size
2 cups all–purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch or two of salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus extra for rolling out dough
1/2 cup lukewarm stock or water
Mix the flour, yeast, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Add sesame oil and stir lightly. Slowly mix in the water and stir to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly floured, clean work surface until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Place the dough ball into a medium size bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put into a larger bowl filled with 3 or so inches of hot water. Place these into either the oven or microwave and let rise for 30 minutes, or until dough doubles in size.
Forming the Buns:
After 30 minutes, the dough should have doubled in volume, if not leave another 30 minutes in a warm place. Knead the dough softly to expel any air pockets. Roll into a cylinder on a floured board, and cut into 8 pieces. Put a drop or two of sesame oil in your palm to coat hands (for each ball). Roll each piece into a ball, and place under a wet kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes (the dough will rise again).
We used a regular pot covered with a black rag all the way except for the lid which is transparent, we then enclosed it all in a plastic oven bag with enough air to keep the heat protected against the wind. We used Telkes type reflector that works similarly as a Parvati with the pot on the center.
Inside the pot we placed enough water to cover the bottom, then the steam basket with the buns on top of a clean wet white cotton rag. (We later learned that the buns get better result if placed on parchment paper). You need to leave the buns there for 90 minutes (1 hour and a half) or until golden brown on HIGH SUN. Mind that the buns will double the size so don’t overcrowd them like we did.
NOTE: OPTIONAL: You can also fill the buns with cabbage, soy sauce and ginger stir fried with your favorite meat or with the filling of your choice including sweet fillings. Should you do that, take the 8 balls and roll out dough into 4-inch diameter circles. Place a small ball of filling in center. (Really one spoon is enough because it will expand.) Form pleats in dough as you seal the buns by twisting (make sure they have a nice seal). Place finished buns on baking paper sheets for better results and then into the steamer in your solar cooker.
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Thank you for all of the information with regards to the preparation and the cooking details.
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