Lotus Leaf Buns

A nice variation on the plain Steamed Buns – the result looks a little like a Chinese croissant! You can take this recipe a step further and add a filling to the bun when you fold it over (sweet or savory would work) – just be sure not to add too much, or it will ooze out all over! Another great recipe to make with the kids.



  • 24 squares of wax or parchment paper, 2×2″
  • steamer: for this recipe, if you have been rigging up a steamer as I discussed in the Steamers post, you will need to add some sort of rack to the pot over the plate – if you steam the buns on a plate, the bottoms will get too soggy.


  1. Divide the dough in 1/2, keeping one half in a bowl under a damp cloth.
  2. Roll or pat the first 1/2 into a rough circle, being sure to press out any air bubbles as you go. If your dough is the right texture, you shouldn’t need to add extra flour, but it’s okay if you need to flour the counter a bit.
  3. Poke your thumbs through the middle to make a doughnut shape, then cut that on one side to achieve a cylinder. (figs. 1 & 2 below)
  4. Roll the cylinder between your hands and the counter until it is approximately 1 foot long. (fig. 3)
  5. With a bench scraper or very sharp knife, cut the cylinder into 12 sections. (fig. 4)
  6. Roll the dough pieces one at a time into a ball, then flatten each into a small circle.
  7. Brush the top 1/2 of the circle with a bit of oil. (fig. 5)
  8. Fold the circle in 1/2 from bottom edge toward top edge. (fig. 6)
  9. Slash the dough down the center, then 2 more times on each side of the first slash. Your cuts should be deep enough to break the surface “skin” of the dough but not go through to the fold. (fig. 7)
  10. Pull the corners slightly down toward you. (figs. 8&9)
  11. Place each roll on a square of paper and transfer to the steamer rack. (fig. 10)
  12. Repeat steps 2-9 with the second 1/2 of the dough, then stack and cover the steamer racks.
  13. Allow the buns to rise 20 m.
  14. Steam for 8-10 m. Be careful when removing the steamer cover to catch the condensation on the lid with a towel – don’t let it pour onto the buns. (fig. 11 below)

figure 1

figure 2

figure 3

figure 4

figure 5

figure 5

figure 6

figure 8

figure 7

figure 8

figure 8

figure 9

figure 9



do ahead:

Unless you get up insanely early (like I do!), you won’t want to be making these for breakfast the day you plan to consume them. The buns can be steamed and either refrigerated or frozen for another day – just pop them back in the steamer to heat through – from frozen it will take about 10 minutes. I don’t recommend microwaving them, although some people swear by wrapping an individual bun in a damp cloth or paper towel and microwaving it.

nutritional data:

These figures assume 24 buns per recipe, 2 per serving. I used the numbers for white unbleached enriched all-purpose wheat flour (but the pictures above are of buns made with white whole wheat flour).

  • Total calories 142, calories from fat 26
  • Total fat 3 g, saturated fat 0 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 21 mg
  • Total carbs 25 g, dietary fiber 1 g, sugars 1 g
  • Protein 3 g

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