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Po Lo Bao AKA Pineapple Buns

June 22, 2014 | 16 comments

bun 3buns 4

You’re either jumping with excitement, curious of what pineapple has to do with this bun, or squirming with disgust.

bun 2

This soft light fluffy roll is a bun of misconceptions. Mostly for me… Probably for most others too.



I mean seriously, who calls a roll pineapple buns if they have no pineapple in them? And are you supposed to score them to make them look like pineapples? I think something kooky (do you know how many times I’ve respelled that word?) was going on in the inventor’s head. Or maybe he/she bumped their head one too many times…



If you just free bake them like I did without scoring, do you think pineapple would automatically pop into your heads? I think golden hill popped into mine… Or perhaps a headless, tailless, feetless turtle (poor turtle…).

Making the pinapple (not) crust.

Making the pineapple (not) crust.

top2 top3

These are from Hong Kong, which received many years of English influence, and therefore, most of their dishes have an English background to them. Like these. I had never heard of these before now.

Risen, brushed, and sprinkled.

Risen, brushed, and sprinkled.

These were gone by the day. And me, living in a house in which most of the people dislike eating baked bread, that says a lot!

bun 1

Po Lo Bao AKA Pineapple Buns


for the dough:

tangzhong (ignore the name. just do what i tell you)

  • 75 g water
  • 15 g flour
  •                  pinch of salt
  • 375 g flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 25 g sugar
  • 100 g milk
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg white save egg yolk for crust
  • salt to sprinkle on top

for the top crusty thingy

  • 60 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 15 g coconut cream
  • 85 g sugar
  • 15 g milk powder
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 g baking soda

for the egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water


  1. Mix all the ingredients of the tangzhong in a microwavable bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until it has thickened. It should not take very long. Let it cool.
  2. Add all the ingredients of the dough into a bowl except for the butter, but including the cooled tangzhong. Using the dough hook attachment, mix for about 5 minutes, or until the dough looks smooth and elastic. It will be very soft. Then add the butter in 5 pieces, not adding the next until the one before is completely mixed in. Knead for 8-9 more minutes or until the dough is very elastic (if you stick pinch a piece of dough, it will pull into a very thin strand.)
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 - 1:30 hours, or until doubled.
  4. Meanwhile, make the crust. In a bowl, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Then add the egg yolk and the coconut cream. Add in the sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and baking soda. Place it on some plastic wrap and form into a log. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. When the dough has risen, punch it down and form into 10 equal sized rolls. They will be small, but don't worry. Place on parchment paper. and rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Whisk all the ingredients of the egg wash together.
  7. 30 minutes later, cut the crust mixture into 10 equal pieces and roll each one out so that it is as big as a roll. I like to roll on two sheets of plastic wrap. Then take some egg wash and brush it over one side of the crust. Place that side down on the roll and brush again with the egg wash. Repeat.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F and place the rolls in, when the oven is fully preheated. Bake for 17-18 minutes. Enjoy!


read or add your own

  1. mademoisellebagatelles on

    June 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm says

    Oh great! I’m a bread fanatic so this recipe will definitely be tested 🙂

    • Anne on

      June 22, 2014 at 5:51 pm says

      Good! Tell me how it turns out!

  2. easytocookmealsblog on

    June 23, 2014 at 8:09 am says

    Haha. It has yellow color from the yolk, it can pass as a pineapple… Looking at your photos, I think this bread is really delicious. And the crust, yum.

    • Anne on

      June 23, 2014 at 10:07 am says

      It can, but I would have been disapointed if I had thought it was pineapple… It tastes nothing of pineapple! 🙂
      Oh, it is! You should try it!

  3. Eva on

    June 23, 2014 at 8:34 am says

    Je crois que en Hong Kong ils sont un peu compliqué, parce que il pourrais les appelé tout simplement buns….je ne sais pas c’est que l’ananas a avoir dans cette histoire. Ils sont beaucoup d’imagination! 😉
    En tout cas , tes petits pains ont l’air délicieuses !

    • Anne on

      June 23, 2014 at 10:11 am says

      Oui! Ils sont beaucoup d’imagination… Oh la la…
      Tu dois essayer les buns!! 🙂

  4. Shiran @ Pretty Simple Sweet on

    June 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm says

    Even without pineapples, they sound delicious 🙂 I love the idea of crust on top of the bread!

    • Anne on

      June 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm says

      Oh, yes! I wonder how they would taste with pineapples… 🙂

  5. Roxy's Kitchen (@roxys_kitchen) on

    June 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm says

    They look delicious! Never had bread/buns with pineapple so I was curious to see the recipe… but surprise surprise, no pineapple haha! Now I’m curious to see how they would taste with some pineapple added lol!

    • Anne on

      June 25, 2014 at 6:32 am says

      I know right?! Thanks!

  6. shelley @ Bacon Egg & Cheese{cake} on

    June 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm says

    Ah! My sister’s favorite. She’s been eating it for years and I only just realized there were absolutely no pineapples in it lol. I always imagine that the stuff in chinese bakeries are so difficult/overwhelming to do, but this doesn’t look too hard!

    • Anne on

      June 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm says

      Oh, the things in Chinese bakeries are never hard! Unless you’re in China, in which most of the population doesn’t own an oven, THEN it would be hard! 🙂

  7. Joanne on

    June 26, 2014 at 8:20 am says

    My coworker JUST brought pineapple buns in the other day and explained this to us about how they don’t contain any pineapple AT ALL! Kind of weird. But totally delicious.

    • Anne on

      June 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm says

      I know right?! They are sooo good!

  8. Christine on

    September 1, 2014 at 11:29 pm says

    Hmm…i really want to try the top crusty thing…it’s very reminiscent of some of the breads we buy in China!

    • Anne on

      September 2, 2014 at 6:24 am says

      The crust is my fave!



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