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Pineapple buns (Bolo bao)

Time: 1.5 days

Yield: 10-12 buns

This recipe is adapted from Woks of Life's pineapple bun recipe!


Sweet stiff levain:

  • Mature starter: 40g / 33%

  • Bread flour: 120g / 100%

  • Water: 54g / 45%

  • Brown sugar: 40g / 33%


  • AP flour: 25g

  • Milk: 100g


  • Heavy cream: 160g / 34%

  • Milk: 125g / 26%

  • Egg: 50g / 11% - 1 large egg

  • Sugar: 54g / 11%

  • AP flour: 475g / 100%

  • Sweet stiff levain: 200g / 42%

  • Salt: 7g / 1%

  • Butter, melted: 57g / 12%

  • Tangzhong: 114g / 24%

Topping dough:

  • Nonfat dry milk powder: 30g

  • AP flour: 160g

  • Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

  • Baking powder: 1/4 tsp

  • Caster sugar *only use superfine sugar: 150g

  • Vegetable shortening: 50g

  • Milk: 60g

  • Egg: 1 yolk, ~18g

  • Vanilla extract: 1/8 tsp

Egg wash: 1 egg, dash of milk

1. Make tangzhong. Mix milk and flour together in shallow pan, just to combine. Turn on medium-low heat. Stir constantly until mixture is a thick slurry.

2. Let tangzhong cool.

3. Once cool, combine tangzhong with remaining ingredients. Mix in standing mixer on low (stir or 2). If on stir, check after 15 min. If on 2, check after 10.

4. Cover, let proof for 5-6 hours. Dough should rise about 50%.

5. Shape into ~12 buns, cover, let proof in warm spot (I use the oven with the light on) for another 2-4 hours, until increased about 50%. Keep an eye on these - the oven can get hot, so you don't want to overproof.

6. Make the topping dough: Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, milk powder, superfine sugar in food processor. Add vegetable shortening in food processor. Pulse until shortening is in small pieces.

7. Add egg yolk, pulse to incorporate. Turn mixture out into a mixing bowl. Add milk, 2 tbsp at a time, stirring and pressing dough together. 4 tbsp should be enough but if dough is still dry, add a little more milk.

8. Press together into a rectangle, wrap in saran, set aside in a cool place, roughly 60F (not the fridge unless you want to let it come to room temp again)

9. Take topping in clumps, roll into ball; smoosh under your palm to make a thin circle. Place topping dough on top the buns and score (make shallow, diagonal slices) across the tops.

10. Brush top and sides with egg yolk + dash of milk and bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes. *If you made your buns bigger, bake for longer. You want the middle to register at 190F.

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