The dough for these Basic Almond Milk Steamed Buns is soft, fluffy, and so easy to make with only a few ingredients, even without any eggs, milk or butter. The filling can be practically anything you want, from the basic pork belly filling to a creamy sweet red bean paste. It’s also very easy to tweak the recipe to your preference.
Why I love this Recipe
- Soft and fluffy
- Easy to make if you have a stand mixer
- No eggs, no milk, no dairy needed!
- Makes the best breakfast and snack
Ingredients Used to Make Almond Milk Steamed Buns
**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.
- Milk of Choice – I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk (dairy or dairy free) works in this recipe. You can even use water.
- 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.
What I Used for the Filling
- Sweetened Red Bean Paste (a.k.a. Koshi An): You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon). There are Fine and Coarse kinds (I used coarse).
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Basic Almond Milk Steamed Buns
Heat almond milk in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until warm.
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder ) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Pour almond milk into the dry ingredients.
Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined.
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.
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and divide into 10-12 pieces.
Prepare filling by portioning out sweet red bean paste using a cookie or ice cream scoop.
Wrap the dough pieces around the prepared filling, and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper, with the seam side down.
Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
Transfer the buns to the steaming pan, and steam for 15 minutes.
Gently remove from steamer pan and serve while warm. Enjoy!
- 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.
Here's an almond milk coffee steamed buns post you can check out next!
If you want to enjoy these steamed buns with a variety of fillings, there are many fun and delicious filling options to choose from. Here are some ideas!
- White bean paste (also called Shiro An) is a thick and smooth paste made from cooked white beans, such as butter beans or cannellini beans, that’s been pureed then cooked down with sugar. The sweetened white bean paste has a mild sweet flavor with subtle earthy notes, with a creamy and almost fudgy texture. You can purchase shiro-an in some specialty Asian grocery stores, or on Amazon, here. For a homemade version, here's a Shortcut White Bean Paste Recipe I make when I’ve run out of Shiro An
- Almond Milk Custard (vegan-friendly recipe) - Here’s a vegan-friendly pastry cream recipe that’s made with almond milk instead of milk and eggs. This almond milk “custard” is so easy to make and all prepped on the stovetop. The addition of coconut oil and vanilla bean paste also adds a richness and sweetness that goes perfectly with fresh fruits, or when used as a sweetbread, mochi or steamed bun filling.
- Crunchy Peanut Butter - this filling recipe uses equal parts of peanut butter and chopped nuts (½ cup peanut butter, with ½ cup chopped nuts for about half dozen buns) to create a crunchy and savory filling that you won’t be able to get enough of.
- Mung Bean paste - sweet and delightfully yellow, homemade mung bean paste is a perfect mochi filling for those who are looking for a healthier bean paste alternative. Here's my 2-Ingredient mung bean paste recipe here
How to Store Almond Milk Steamed Buns
- These Almond Milk Steamed Buns can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours, 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.
- To reheat, re-steam buns in a steamer for about 10 minutes.
NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS
- Unfortunately, gluten-free flours cannot be substituted for bread flour in this recipe.
- All-purpose flour can be used instead of bread flour, but will produce softer, less chewy steamed buns.
- 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.
Basic Almond Milk Steamed Buns (Easy Vegan Dough Recipe)
- 4 cups bread flour (480 g), sifted and leveled*
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar , read notes** for substitutes
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ⅓ cups unsweetened almond milk (320 g), warmed to room temperature. I used unsweetened original
- 1 Tbsp light olive oil , or melted coconut oil or avocado oil
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder ) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Pour almond milk into the dry ingredients. TIP: Heat in the microwave for 40-60 seconds before using to shorten the rising time.
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are mostly combined.
- 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.
- Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of almond milk (or additional bread flour) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the flour, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
- 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 and divide into 12-14 equal sized pieces.
- Wrap the dough pieces around the filling of choice (red bean paste, mung bean paste, etc), and place them on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
- Cover and 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
- Note: You can store these steamed buns, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 day. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or steam them again for just 10 minutes to enjoy them just like fresh.