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16 July 2006

Pineapple Buns (Bor Lor Bao)

Lately, I have had a mad craving for Hong Kong Pineapple Buns, aka Bor Lor Bao. Instead of heading down to Chinatown to buy some, I decided to try my hand at making this treat from scratch. Bor Lor Bao are basically sweet yeast-leavened buns with a buttery, sugary "cap." They're called "pineapple buns" because of the criss-cross pattern on top, which looks like the surface of a pineapple.

Sometimes these buns have a sweet filling, but I wanted mine to be plain. After a long Internet search, I finally came across a recipe and got to it. I rarely bake and hardly ever make yeast-leavened bread, so this project was a challenge. I think my Bor Lor Bao turned out okay - they certainly weren't Chinese bakery awesome, but they curbed my craving. If you decide to make this recipe and have a reliable sweet yeast bun recipe, please feel free to use it in place of the one below. Just make enough dough for 12 buns, then add the pineapple caps.

Pineapple Buns
31/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten

1. In a large mixing bow, combine 1/2 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add oil and milk to the butter and warm to body temperature.
3. Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture, add egges (reserve 1 tbsp for egg wash), and stir well to combine. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes.
4. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out to a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding small amounts of flour if the dough gets too sticky.
5. Place dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. During this time, make the "pineapple topping" (recipe below). After the first rising, punch down dough and let rise again until doubled (about 1.5 hours).
6. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, and shape into flat buns. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, cover with a slightly damp towel, and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).
7. At this point, roll out your refrigerated pineapple topping to a 1/2 cm thickness, manipulating the "dough" as little as possible. If too dry, add a small amount of oil. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut out circles (12 total) that are slightly less wide than your buns.
8. Brush the buns with a small amount of water, and place your pineapple rounds on top. Lightly score the toppings with a criss-cross patern, and brush buns with reserved egg.
9. Bake buns at 375 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes on middle rack.

Enjoy these buns plain, or with a little butter. Yum!

Pineapple Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. Beat butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
2. Add egg yolk, soda, and milk. Mix well.
3. Sift flour and baking powder into the butter mixture. Mix by hand until smooth and not sticky, being careful not to form gluten.
4. Chill topping, wrapped in plastic, in refrigerator for 1 hour or more.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

the topping didn't work. it came out really really sticky when I mixed all the ingredients together.

6:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to ask what measurement is a 'cup'??

12:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

may i ask what type of flour do you use?

2:43 PM

Blogger -c said...

I just made these yesterday to rave reviews. The topiing came out perfectly, and the bun dough is light and fluffy. Thanks for a great recipe!

12:58 AM

Blogger Alana said...

Hi folks -- a cup is 500 ml. There are lots of measurement converters on the internet you can use to figure out what a cup is equivalent to in your local units.

For this recipe, I think I used all-purpose unbleached flour (Red Rose brand, probably).

To the first commenter -- I'm not sure what happened to your recipe. Maybe try adding a little more flour next time, and don't mix too much -- if you do so you'll form gluten, which may have been what made your topping sticky.

C -- I'm glad it worked for you!

9:21 AM

Anonymous jenny said...

I'M GONNA TRY THIS! I LOVE BOR LOR BAO! and so does my bf...hopefully it turns out as good as store bought ones...haha he's gonna love me lol thanks!

10:39 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 cup = 250ml

5:51 PM

Blogger Alana said...

Duh. You are correct, anonymous.

1:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm... In step 3 for the Bun, not the topping, it says
"(reserve 1 tbsp for egg wash)"

Egg wash? What's egg wash?

Can't wait to try this recipe! :D Thanks for putting this up.

10:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, egg wash is when you take a pastry brush and lightly brush the surface with beaten egg (usually egg yolk with a little water mixed together).

Great recipe, everything came out perfect. The oil and butter in the bun recipe helps keep it moist even after a few days.

In comparison to those sold in stores these buns are not as sweet, but it suits the taste buds in our house. Thanks for sharing! :)

4:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just made it. The recipe works really well!

3:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering whether I could exclude the baking soda for the topping? I can't seem to find it anywhere in shops etc. :S

6:42 PM

Blogger pekmez said...

yay! This recipe was just what I was looking for. Thank you!

7:43 PM

Anonymous viagra online said...

Hello guys!
I love to cook and more when I say that I have to prepare Bor Lor Bao really love and enjoy my work to the fullest. information seems very exciting. thanks for sharing. this blog seems unbelievable to me.

6:00 PM

Blogger Son Dien said...

how to make the bun as soft as McDonals buns? Seriously, bread flour will lightly be harder right? Do you have any tips? Please tell me
Thanks a lot for the recipe. I tried a bor lor bun for the first time (as long as I can remember it) today :)

3:24 AM


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