Make Your Own: Pau Dough
05 Jan 2020

Make Your Own: Pau Dough

05 Jan 2020

It’s been a very long time since Kak’mbang and I made pau. Back when we were still living in Terengganu, every so often we would buy boxes of Blue Key flour and make chicken mushroom pau. Kak’mbang made the filling and I was on dough duty. Freshly steamed buns would then be sent to friends and relatives for their afternoon snack.

Gosh, that was such a long time ago.

Well, finally we got around to buying a box of Blue Key pau flour recently. Kak’mbang still hasn’t taught me the recipe for her pau filling, but here’s the recipe for the dough. I based it off of the recipe written on the Blue Key pau flour box, and added a few twists based on research on how to get fluffier buns.

For best results, use flours with 8%-10% protein content. Here in Malaysia we conveniently have pau flour, but plain wheat flour (superfine if possible) will do just fine in a pinch, mixed with corn or wheat starch to reduce the protein content.

Using milk in place of water also results in wonderfully soft and flavorful pau. Since I buy UHT milk in 200ml packets, for each batch of this dough I would use 1 packet of milk and add enough water to make 300ml worth of liquid.

This recipe is written for a breadmaker, with very pleasing results. I’m glad to find another use for it; clearly it is not just for baking Western-style bread. Yum! I’ve also included steps for those of you not using a breadmaker.

Side note: I cannot say enough how convenient my breadmaker has been for me. It is so easy to use, even for the noob-est of noobs. One can argue that it is perhaps designed for the noob-est of noobs, giving everyone access to delicious, freshly baked homemade bread.

Pau Dough


  • 300 ml water OR full cream milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 500 grams pau flour OR cake flour OR 420 grams plain flour plus 85 grams wheat starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder


In your breadmaker pan, add the water or milk, cooking oil, sugar, vanilla essence and yeast.

Add the flours, making sure to cover the surface of the liquid completely.

Add the salt and baking powder.

Start the machine, using the Dough program, 1 hour 30 minutes.

The dough may double in size faster, so check in at the 1 hour mark just in case you need to take it out earlier. On my Kenwood BM450 breadmaker I usually would take it out 20 minutes before the cycle ends.

If not using a breadmaker, in a large mixing bowl simply follow the same steps when adding the ingredients. Mix and knead, 8 to 10 minutes in a mixer or 10 to 12 minutes by hand. Shape into a round ball and let rest in your mixing bowl, placed in a warm place and covered with a damp cloth, until doubled in size.

Gently punch down the dough and transfer to a floured surface.

Divide the dough to your desired size. I usually divide my dough into 16 pieces for filled buns.

Use as required.

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