Ka-Pau! Flatlined treat

31 Jan

Silly, silly me to have  doubted myself. Or rather doubted my self doubt … about my ability to cook with yeast that is. I decided to seize the day, take the proverbial bull by its horns, conquer my fears … blah blah (you get the picture) and try a recipe that required yeast: Char Siu Pau, vegetarian.

The recipes I browsed through looked pretty easy enough and I went out and got all the ingredients: Hong Kong flour, wheat starch (never used it before), double action baking powder … the works.

I was excited. This could be great, I thought.

I had too much vegetarian char siu left over (from the wan tan mee recipe) and thought this would be a great way to finish it.

And so I began. I read through the recipe three times and followed it carefully all the way through. I kneaded like never before for a full 20 mins. Man, that’s hard work and though my good friend and colleague Marty enjoys kneading (she make bread — all types — the old fashioned way, with no breadmaker) I absolutely don’t see any joy in it.  Except maybe the prospect of building some muscle in one arm.

Then I covered the well kneaded dough with a damp tea towel for 30 mins for it  to rise.

It was supposed to rise to DOUBLE  it’s size. Mine didn’t look like it rose AT ALL.


Never mind, I thought. Maybe it’ll work anyway. The yeast is in there. As is the double action baking powder. Perhaps they’ll kick in later. So I shaped the dough into balls and rolled them into 3 inch wide circles, filled them with my char siu filling (this turned out great) and steamed them for 15 mins a batch.

Boo Hoo. They didn’t become fluffy. They rose a little and they tasted great … like the real deal … but they weren’t fluffy. They weren’t rock hard, but they weren’t fluffy like how Pau is supposed to be.

I was so dejected and I text messaged Marty to report my failure. She suggested several reasons for the failure: “yeast dead, water too hot, water not hot enough … many reasons”. Boo Hoo.

I decided to tr y again. Another recipe. What happened? Same deal. Sigh. What do i do other than stuff the remaining packets of dry yeast deep into my pantry and accept — for now — that yeast is not my friend. Pooh.

3 Responses to “Ka-Pau! Flatlined treat”

  1. Marty January 31, 2010 at 18:58 #

    Ahem… yeast, knead, dough… you’re speaking my language. Come on now, you’re not going to give up so easily, are you?

  2. Argus Asparagus January 31, 2010 at 19:25 #

    Do this little experiment:
    Get 1/3 glass of warm milk or water (warm enough to dip your little finger in without feeling scalded). Add a packet of yeast to it. If it doesn’t bubble up a bit within 10 minutes, throw all your yeast away (deader than a doorknob).

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