Here's a yeasted version of my no-knead tofu mantou recipe I posted a while back. Just like my previous recipe, this healthy mantou recipe incorporates silken tofu, which has a mild flavor that is unnoticeable when mixed in with the flour, but the yeasted dough is rolled in a way that forms a lot of layers, which makes it fun to eat. Also, this mantou recipe doesn't require any eggs, dairy, and butter -- perfectly vegan friendly and healthier thanks to the extra protein from the tofu.
Why I love this Recipe
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
- Incorporates tofu, making these healthy and also higher in protein than regular storebought buns.
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
Ingredients Used to Make Tofu Mantou (Steamed Bread)
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - I used bread flour for this recipe (I use King Arthur Bread Flour most), which I prefer and highly recommend for the best texture and structure. Please read the note on the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Sugar - I used raw cane sugar, but you can use regular granulated white sugar, or healthier alternatives like coconut, date, or maple sugars which are less processed and more natural. I also sometimes like to use honey powder.
- For yeasted breads, I would not recommend using sugar-free substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or stevia powder since they can cause the bread to not rise properly. If you prefer a lower sugar recipe, you're welcome to leave out the sugar. The bread might taste slightly plain, but it will not significantly impact the shape or texture of the bread.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Baking Powder - helps to puff up the dough during the steaming process.
- Tofu - high in protein and nutrient-dense, tofu contains minerals such as calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, as well as B vitamins. It’s also a “complete protein” because it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs. NOTE: You can use non-silken tofu, but the silken tofu gives you the best, fluffiest result. I used the firm kind, like this one
- Olive Oil - I like using light olive oil since it has a neutral flavor, but you can also any cooking oil of your choice like coconut oil, or avocado oil instead
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
More Tofu Recipes (HERE)
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Tofu Mantou
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the tofu, right from the package. No need to wash or rinse.
Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, or as much as needed, until all the ingredients are JUST BARELY combined, with no dry ingredients remaining.
Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Let rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
It's best if the bowl is put in a warm place, for example, inside an oven that's been preheated for just a quick 10 seconds and spritzed with some water. Or, inside a microwave with a cup filled with hot water
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove it from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface
Use a rolling pin to flatten into a large rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size
Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a tight cylinder (like a sushi roll or cinnamon roll). Pinch the ends to seal.
Use a sharp serrated knife to divide the log into 12 equal pieces.
Place the buns on a parchment sheet or steamer paper, then cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan and steam for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Add color to the buns - matcha powder, food coloring, etc!
- Other than coloring you can also add different flavorings to the dough before cooking. For example, you can add either a teaspoon of coffee extract or espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon or Cardamom Powder. They're not typically added in a traditional recipe, but you're welcome to experiment!
- Instead of eating them plain, fill the mantou dough with a sweet or savory filling
How to Store Tofu Mantou
- These steamed buns can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 1-2 days, or in the fridge inside an airtight container for 3-5 days.
- For longer storage, place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- While bread flour is highly recommended, all-purpose flour can be used instead with 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour.
- You can use non-silken FIRM tofu, but the silken tofu gives you the best, fluffiest result.
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you’ll end up with more flour than what’s called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only them 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
Healthy Tofu Mantou (Chinese Style Yeasted Steamed Bread)
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the tofu, right from the package. No need to wash or rinse.
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time, or as much as needed, until all the ingredients are JUST combined, with dry ingredients remaining.
- Add water one tablespoon at a time*, until all the ingredients are just barely combined, with no dry ingredients remaining.*I used 3 Tbsp water, but more may be needed depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the tofu, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen. Be sure to add one tablespoon at a time, so you don’t overhydrate the dough.
- Add the olive oil next, and continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes***
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface
- Use a rolling pin to flatten into a large rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size
- Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a tight cylinder (like a sushi roll or cinnamon roll). Pinch the ends to seal.
- Use a dental floss or a sharp serrated knife to divide the log into 14 equal pieces.
- Place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
- Let rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water and prepare the steamer
- Transfer the buns to the steaming pan and steam the buns for 15 minutes