Po Lo Bao – Pineapple Bun

pineapple bun polo bao

My bucket list: bake a birthday cake.  Done.  Bake bread. Uh oh… Okay, no problem. I called my professionally-trained-pastry-chef friend, Jackie, to  give me one-on-one lesson on baking pineapple bun (po lo bao) which is very popular sweet bread in Hong Kong.  So here it is, the start of my bread baking project.  Although pineapple is not in the ingredient, it is named so because the top, made of cookie type dough, resembles a pineapple. It is this top that give the bun its sweetness and crisp texture.  Pineapple bun is a two-part recipes;  it may look intimidating, but it is doable even for beginners.  The enticing aroma of home baked pineapple buns is so worth it, that I bet you will try it again if your first effort fail.

Ingredients & Directions:

For egg wash: 1 egg whisked and set a side.

For the topping:

  • 300 grams (2 2/5 cups) Bread flour
  • 225 grams (1 cup) Granulated sugar
  • 1/2  Egg
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) Tartar
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) Baking soda
  • 150 grams (10 tablespoons) Butter, room temperature
  • 25 grams (24 milliliters or 5 teaspoons)  Water
  1. In a mixing bowl, using the whisks attachment cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir all the ingredients together and mix until combined.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a Saran wrap (plastic wrap).
  4. Shape the dough into a long log, and roll it so the plastic wrap cover the whole log ( like egg roll).
  5. Leave in freezer ( can be in the freezer up to 3-4 days)

For the bun:

  • 56 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 56 grams (1/4 cup)  milk
  • 400 grams (3 cups) bread flour
  • 160 grams (2/3 cup) water, warm to touch (100 °F / 37 °C)
  • 56 grams (4 tablespoons)butter
  • 12 grams (4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  1. Add all the dry ingredients, butter, egg, and water into a standing mixer bowl.
  2. Using a hook attachment, mix ingredients at low-speed.
  3. While the machine is kneading, add in milk a little at a time to avoid getting dough too wet (so you may end up not using all the milk). knead at low-speed for 3 minutes.  Then increase speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough comes together in a ball, and smooth. (about 8-10 minutes)
  4. Transfer the dough to a greased a big mixing bowl.  Cover and let it proof in a warm area without draft for about 40-60 minutes or doubled in size.  If the dough is not doubling, place it in the oven without turning the oven on.  Turn on the oven light so the temperature in there warm up a little to help with the rise (caution – check on it once a while to make sure the light is not raising the temperature too hot for the dough).

**Preheat the oven to 380 °F (193 °C) before second proofing of dough.

Shaping dough:

  1. Divide the dough into 65 grams each, shape into a ball, and place onto baking sheet.
  2. Proof the shaped dough for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  3. Brush egg wash onto each proofed bun.
  4. Remove the topping pastry dough from freezer.  Slice a thin layer cross-wised, roll the dough out thinly into circle disc.
  5. Place the topping pastry onto each bun and brush each topping with egg wash.

Bake  380 °F (193 °C) for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, and let buns cool on cooling rack.  If you are like me, risk the burning and consume immediately.  Mmmm. Oh so good!  And now, I am going to submit this post to YeastSpotting! 🙂

Happy Baking!


18 comments on “Po Lo Bao – Pineapple Bun

  1. These look delicious. Except for the bread flour, they remind me of Japanese melon pan which is also named cuz the cookie dough topping looks like the rind of a melon. If only I didn’t kill yeast just by looking at it …

    • Thank you. 🙂 I like your sense of humor… kill yeast by looking at it. Heeheehee. I think they are the same…Japanese melon pan and po lo bao. Yesterday, I made another batch. I don’t think I am made for multi-tasking…talking and baking because I forgot to add 1/2 egg to the topping mixture and added a little more of tartar. Though this oops, turned out crunchier topping which I like a lot more. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Asia here ♥ | Welcome to misfit dopes ^▽^

    • Hi Michelle. If you don’t have a scale, I recommend one because it is really useful for baking, and it’s helpful to scale each dough portion for this recipe. If you like this, you may also like pan-fried mini buns recipe. 🙂 I would like to hear how you like the recipe when you try it.

  3. Wow, I’ve never heard of pineapple buns… they look gorgeous though! Do you just eat them on their own? I can imagine splitting them and spreading them with a layer of Nutella, straight out of the oven (but then again, I’d put Nutella on carrots if it’d work, I’m obsessed with the stuff!). Thanks for sharing the recipe, and yay for making progress with your bucket list! xx

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