Chocolate steamed buns or baozi (巧克力包子) are the perfect comfort food. With their fluffy soft exterior and creamy center, they are sure to be a family favorite. Not only are they easy to make at home, but this recipe also does not require any milk, eggs or other dairies! Whether you like them plain or filled with chocolatey goodness, these vegan-friendly buns are sure to please everyone’s taste buds. So let's get started on this delicious recipe!
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 cold weather breakfast and snack
Ingredients Used to Make Vegan Chocolate 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.
- Cocoa powder - the unsweetened 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 Chocolate Recipes (HERE)
What I Used for the Filling
- 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. **Be sure to make ahead so that the custard has time to set completely. It will make it much easier for you to stuff the dough with filling later on.
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Steamed Buns
First, prepare chocolate custard that will be used for the filling (recipe here). Make ahead and cool in the fridge until the custard is thickened.
Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
Add the almond milk to 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.
Wrap the dough pieces around the prepared filling, and place on a piece of parchment square, or a sheet of steamer paper.
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 with a spatula (tongs are not recommended since they ruin the shape of the buns). Serve when warm. Enjoy!
Different Filling Options
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!
1. Hazelnut Chocolate Spread (Nutella, or Nutiva for vegan option)
- If you're short on time and you don't want to bother making the separate chocolate custard filling, you can just use chocolate hazelnut spread, straight from the jar! TIP: Put the chocolate spread in the fridge for about 1-2 hours and then use a cookie or ice cream scoop to portion out the filling before use. This makes the filling process mess-free and so much easier to handle!
2. White Chocolate Custard
Same recipe as the vegan chocolate pastry cream filling, except I used white chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate chips. The white chocolate filling recipe is available here!
How to Store
- These 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.
Chocolate Steamed Buns (Easy, Vegan-Friendly Recipe)
- 3 cups bread flour (360 g), sifted and leveled*
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar , read notes** for substitutes
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond milk , warmed to room temperature. I used unsweetened original
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil , or melted coconut oil or avocado oil
Chocolate Pastry Cream Filling
- 1 recipe CHOCOLATE PASTRY CREAM
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder and cocoa 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 equal sized pieces.
- Wrap the dough pieces around the prepared filling, 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.
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