Modernist Cuisine adds an Asian twist to the classic reuben

Modernist Cuisine's ambitious new project is a five-volume set, entitled Modernist Bread.

A five-volume, 53 lb. set of books is the ultimate resource for anyone who loves bread. It took four years of research and writing to complete Modernist Bread, which includes twelve hundred recipes.

The book's co-author, Francisco Migoya from Bellevue-based food lab Modernist Cuisine, showed us how to prepare a tasty twist to the classic Reuben sandwich.

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Total Time: Active 40–45 min / Inactive 2 1/4 h

Difficulty: Advanced: mixing, shaping, cooking

Yield/Shapes: 20 filled bao Storage

Notes: 10 min room temp; 2 months frozen


  • 2/3 cup Whole milk, cold
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp. Dark molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. Liquid caramel color
  • 1 Tbsp. Instant dry osmotolerant yeast
  • 3 1/3 cups Bread flour
  • 3/4 cup Liquid rye levain, mature
  • 5 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp. Cocoa powder, non-Dutch processed, optional
  • 2 tsp. Fine salt
  • 1 tsp. Diastatic malt powder
  • 300 g Pastrami, chopped
  • 100 g Sauerkraut, chopped
  • 100 g Pressure-Cooked Pickled Mustard Seeds (see below)


  1. Combine the milk, water, molasses, caramel color, and yeast in mixer’s bowl, and stir to dissolve yeast.
  2. Add the flour, levain, cocoa powder (if using), salt, and diastatic malt powder.
  3. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 5 min.
  4. Transfer to a lightly oiled tub or bowl, and cover well with a lid or plastic wrap. Bulk Ferment
  5. Bulk ferment, covered, for 45 min at 21°C / 70°F. No folding is necessary.
  6. Cut parchment paper into rectangles measuring approximately 10 cm long by 7 cm wide / 4 in long by 2 3/4 in wide. Lightly oil each piece. Shape
  7. Roll out the dough into one long tube, approximately 30 1/2 cm long by 6 1/2 cm wide / 12 in long by 2 1/2 in wide.
  8. Cut the tube into 50 g disks.
  9. Preshape each disk into a ball.
  10. Shape into a round bun, and then flatten the bun into a disk, rolling out the edges thinner than the center.
  11. Place 15 g pastrami, 5 g sauerkraut, and 5 g mustard seeds in the center of the disk.
  12. Bring the edges to a close around the filling, and pinch the disk to seal.
  13. Place each disk, seam side down, on a prepared piece of parchment paper. Final Proof
  14. Proof on a wire rack for 30 min at 21°C / 70°F. Cover well to prevent a skin from forming on the dough’s surface.
  15. Test for proof using the fingertip test. Gently press the exposed surface of the dough for 2 s; the pressure should leave a small dent in the dough; it will slowly spring back, but the indentation should remain clearly visible after 1–2 s. Steam
  16. Fill a pot one-third to one-half full with water, and bring to a boil.
  17. Place a bamboo steamer basket on top of the pot so that it sits as evenly as possible.
  18. Carefully place the proofed pieces of dough inside the bamboo steamer baskets. Space them evenly with enough room to expand (about 2 1/2 cm / 1 in around each piece).
  19. Place the basket on the top of the pot, and immediately cover with the lid.
  20. Steam for 8 min.
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Consume within 10 min while buns are still hot. If they sit for longer than 10 min, you can revive them by steaming again for 2– 3 min, or frying. When steaming, we recommend keeping the filled pieces of dough on top of the lightly oiled pieces of parchment paper on which they were proofed; the paper will keep the dough from sticking.


Yield: 125 g


  • 9 Tbsp. Yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Fine Salt

Prepare Mustard Seeds

  1. Cover mustard seeds with cold water, and refrigerate overnight or for 12 h.
  2. Strain.
  3. Cover with more cold water in a small pot, bring to a boil, and then strain.
  4. Repeat step 3 four more times.


  1. Combine prepared mustard seeds and the rest of ingredients in the base of a pressure cooker, and stir until dissolved.
  2. Bring to a simmer, and add the strained seeds to the brine.
  3. Pressure-cook at a gauge pressure of 1 bar / 15 psi for 25 min. Start timing as soon as full pressure has been reached.
  4. Let the cooker cool, or run tepid water over the rim, to depressurize it.
  5. Strain the seeds, reserving the brine for storing the seeds, and serve them warm or cold

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