So here you go…pineapple buns with no pineapple ! What ?!? These pineapple buns though, got me hooked with no escape points and swoon ! (or perhaps, I’m just so willingly to be hooked!). I first had this for dim sum and I thought it was the best thing on earth I could ever eaten. I’m serious! I’m not even heartbroken that there’s no pineapple of any kind involved in this bun.
In Cantonese, these pineapple buns are called po lo bao. Po lo means pineapple. Why on earth they call it pineapple bun ? Is it because it looks like pineapple ? Look at the photos, do they ? I guess, this can be subjective. But that’s the reason why it is called pineapple buns. It looks like one! The soft buns against the crumbly and buttery toppings are just ILLEGAL stuff period. My daughter is very selective when it comes to breads or buns, but these….these….she could easily swallow down 2 or 3 without problems!!! And so, every time we go for a dim sum, we ALWAYS order these po lo bao. With that kind of love affair, it’s only fair to learn how to make them.
For the longest time I thought making good buns or breads at home was almost impossible, but that was because I didn’t have the right tool. A week ago I broke down and bought Kitchen Aid stand mixer (this is not sponsored post btw). What a difference it makes when you don’t need to knead the dough on your own. I could never achieve such result when I knead the dough on my own. I put this machine to work and made po lo bao and the entire family was really impressed with the result. Now, I can say that I make a good po lo bao! Finally ! That dough hook attachment on the stand mixter!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
Pineapple buns (po lo bao) - 12 large buns
- 5 Tbsp of bread flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- ½ cup of milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 extra large egg
- 4 Tbsp of softened unsalted butter or you can subs with coconut oil
- 2 Cups bread flour more for dusting
- 2 tsp of active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg yolk beaten for brushing later
Place 3/4 cup of milk and the bread flour in the mixing bowl. Whisk until there is no more lumps. Cook this mixture over medium heat until it is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down
Place dough starter, milk, sugar, egg, and butter in a stand mixer bowl and attach the dough hook. Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in another bowl. Turn on to"stir" and then gradually add in the flour mixture gradually from the side of the bowl and switch the speed to "2" (or higher depending on your mixer). The dough will be sticky at the beginning and will come together into a ball of dough, still slightly sticky to touch, but should be manageable. It took me about 10 minutes to knead the dough on machine. If you knead by hands, you need to knead it much more longer, probably 15-20 minutes to get the nice stretchy dough. Place the dough in a lightly oil bowl to let it rise until doubled in size, probably about 40 minutes to 1 hour
In winter time, I preheat my oven at 170 F(the lowest) and then turn it off and wait for about 30 minutes before I put the dough in there. You don't want it to be too hot, just warm enough to let the dough rise
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and then roll it into a long log and cut into 12 equal pieces. Stretch the edge of each piece and tuck it back into the middle to form a ball. Placed on a parchment paper (seam side down) about 2-inch apart. Let it proof again for another 30 minutes.
Start preparing the pastry topping. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a mixing bowl. It will still be a bit sticky. Use a plastic wrap to form it into a log. Wrap it with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut it into 12 equal pieces and use the plastic wrap to help you flatten the balls into a circle (not bigger than the size of your bun). We just want this pastry topping to sit on top of the bun. Place this circle on top of the bun. Repeat until you are done with all 12 buns
Place them back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 F. Brush the top of the bun with the beaten egg yolk. Bake them for about 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 360 F and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool down a little bit before serving. They are best served warm and can be kept up to 3 days for best result
One advice…try not to knead the dough by hand…REALLY!! I could never get a good result kneading by hand. Either a bread machine to knead that dough or a stand mixer with dough attachment (period) These buns stayed so soft even after 3 days. I feel like it’s a good investment to get a stand mixer if you bake a lot. I don’t bake a whole lot, but when I do want to make breads and buns, I swear by the dough hook LOL. Now I can proudly say that I can make good bread and buns right at home !
This is the model I have, the classic plus. It’s enough for me the amateur baker. Of course you don’t have to get Kitchen Aid. Just showing you 😉 Not showing off! LOL!