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Taiwanese shaobing on a baking pan.
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4.84 from 6 votes

Chinese Sesame Flatbread (Shaobing)

Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Resting time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 12 mins
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Taiwanese
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Servings: 6
Author: Edwina

Ingredients

Dough

  • 200 g all purpose flour plus more for dusting 1 ⅔ cup
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 50 g hot water (around 195°F, 90°C) ¼ cup
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 70 g cold water ⅓ cup
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil plus more for greasing

Oil paste

  • 35 g vegetable oil 2 ½tbsp
  • 50 g cake flour ⅓ cup

Topping

  • 4 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tsp black sesame seeds optional

Instructions

Making the dough

  • Mix flour, salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl before adding in hot water. Stir and mix with chopsticks/fork until it becomes lumpy.
  • Add yeast, cold water and oil; stir with chopsticks/fork until the liquid is all absorbed by the flour, and then knead until a dough is form. The dough will be very sticky, so just knead until you're able to form a rough ball. Grease the dough with oil and cover with plastic wrap before allowing it to rest for 20 - 30 minutes so that it'd be easier to roll out later.

Making the oil paste

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan on medium heat until it's hot. Add in the cake flour and stir until smooth. Continue to cook and stir until it darkens a bit and becomes aromatic. Pour the paste in a bowl and let it cool down.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C)

Forming the bread

  • Dust the working surface with a thin layer of flour, roll the dough out to an approximately 10" x 16" rectangle.
  • Spread the oil paste by spatula or by hand on the dough, leaving ½ inch on the top.
  • Roll the dough from the bottom all the way up, pinching the seam at the end to close.
  • Cut the roll into 6 even pieces and gently press each piece down to flatten a bit and bring the two "cut" sides to the middle and pinch them together (it's ok if they don't stay together perfectly).
  • Gently roll each piece out to an oval shape and then fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up. After finishing all six pieces, repeat this step again for each piece. Always fold the side with oil paste in so that we'd end up with a smooth surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Put sesame seeds in a small plate and lightly press the smooth side of each piece of dough into the plate of sesame seeds.

Baking

  • Roll each piece out to about a 3" x 6" rectangle. Place the pieces on a lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  • If you are storing these for later, simply toast them in a toaster oven for 3 -5 minutes and they will be just as good as when they're fresh.
  • If you want to stuff things inside, simply cut the side with a pair of scissors and open it like a book.

Notes

Adding hot water into flour is a common technique used in many Chinese dishes that involve dough . The purpose is to increase the water absorption in order to produce a tender texture.  I also add a bit of yeast here, which allows the dough to rise a little bit when it's baking.  This results in a Shaobing with better texture that's almost the same as I had while growing up in Taiwan. 
To achieve a crispier crust, use convection baking and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until it's golden brown.