Friday, October 9, 2009

Pineapple Buns

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Every now and then, I like to have an Pineapple Bun with an afternoon cup of tea. The bun is named Pineapple for its appearance rather than taste, but the outer crust is what makes a pineapple bun so delectable. The best way to have it is fresh out of the oven, then sliced to spread some butter inside the bun.

Pineapple Buns with a stick slab of butter within (Bor Lor Yao) are also commonly consumed prior to attending weddings back in the day in Hong Kong if the guests know that there will be heavy alcohol consumption. The reason is that the butter will coat the stomach and delay the absorption of alcohol, and thus, delay the onset of alcohol's effects.

To make pineapple buns, you'll need:
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose 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
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten

The topping for the pineapple buns is made separately using:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

To make the pineapple buns:
  1. Mix together 1/2 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt
  2. Melt the butter, then add oil and milk to the butter and warm it
  3. Pour the butter/oil/milk mixture into the flour mixture
  4. Add the eggs to the flour mixture, and stir well to combine. Then beat mixture for 3 minutes
  5. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed
  6. Dust the counter-top and knead the dough on it. Add dough little by little if it's too sticky.
  7. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it double in size, which will take roughly 1.5 hours. While the dough is rising, prepare the pineapple bun topping following the recipe further below on this page).
  8. After 1.5 hours, punch the dough down and let it rise again for another 1.5 hours
  9. Divide the dough into 12 equally sized balls, then flatten them to round, flat buns. Place them on lightly greased baking sheets and cover with a slightly damp towel for another 45 minutes so that the dough can rise a bit more.
  10. Take the prepared pineapple topping and roll it to a thickness of about 1/2 a cm
  11. Brush the buns with a small amount of water, and place the pineapple topping ontop of the buns. The water will help the topping stick to the buns.
  12. Take a knife and lightly score the toppings with a criss-cross pattern, kind of like grill marks on a steak.
  13. Lightly beat 1 egg yolk and brush the buns and toppings with it. The egg yolk will provide the buns with a nice rich yellow colour.
  14. Bake the buns at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (Thanks to a reader for notifying me of a terrible typo) for 10 minutes on the middle rack.

Pineapple Topping Procedure:
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy
  2. Add egg yolk, baking soda, and milk together, and mix well.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder intot he butter mixture, and mix by hand until it's smooth and not sticky. Be careful not to manipulate it too much as it will form gluten.
  4. Wrap the topping in plastic and refrigerate it for an hour and a half minimum.


  1. could you tell me what kind of flour did you use?

  2. Have you tried to make these with filling - and how?

  3. I haven't quite figured out how to get the filling right unfortunately. I've always liked the custard variations but the proper way to make that kind of bun has eluded me.

  4. Is this really meant to be baked at "375 degrees Celsius"? That's +700 degrees Fahrenheit!

  5. Fixed the error. Thanks Nise! I don't think ovens even go that high, unless you've got some industrial model.

  6. Made these today and turned out perfecto! Took super long but def worth it! Thy were delectable and looked exactly like the ones at the Chinese bakery!

  7. You mention 3 1/2 cups flour at the top. Reading your recipe I see 1/2 + 1/2 + 1 cup = 2 cups. Is there a typo or are only 2 cups of flour necessary?

  8. You start mixing with 1/2 cup of flour, the other 3 cups you add it 1/2 cup at a time. So you still use it all up, but you don't add it all at the same time because you want to ensure that you're mixing the dough evenly. Let me know how your pineapple buns turn out!

  9. I understand the pineapple bun is named that because of its look rather than its taste, but awww... There's really nothing pineapple related in the ingirdient list? :( I will try making this and add some syrup glaze to the top and report back on how it goes.. :)

  10. Or perhaps brushing the top of the Pineapple with pineapple syrup instead of water? Have you tried this?

  11. Hi Michelle, the name does cause some confusion at times :( but it's a great recipe.
    I haven't tried brushing the topping with pineapple flavoured syrup before. Whenever I make this it tends to be for guests who prefer it the original way. Having said that, I think that might work! I know there are some variations that have a filling, so a pineapple marmalade type filling might give more of a pineapple flavour! Keep me posted on how your buns turn out!