Pork Floss Buns

This is a soft, fluffy Asian-style bun with savoury pork floss and a delicately sweet, sticky filling.

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Like many Asian-style bread, it starts off with a water roux (tangzhong/汤种/湯種).

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This results in its characteristic fluffiness as opposed to the relative sturdiness of its western-style counterparts. In this case the softness of the dough was also aided by lots and lots of fat.

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I used a really ratchet brush to egg wash the rolls.

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And then decided to just change my mind and not egg wash the second batch (below). I honestly think it makes no difference since you’re going to cover the top with floss anyway. But since there’s a leftover egg yolk from making the dough, I guess you might as well just egg wash the top.

Also the second batch was larger because it was still rising in the time the first batch took to bake. But eh, I’m not looking for perfection.

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A transparent “mayonnaise” is used to stick the pork floss to the buns (and also looks suspiciously like something else…)

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The transparent mayonnaise tastes very similar to the one used by BreadTalk (a popular bakery chain in Singapore famous for its pork floss buns). The mayonnaise’s subtle sweetness really complements the savouriness of the bread and the floss. It also adds some much-needed moisture to the quite drying floss.

Also, injecting the mayonnaise into the slit in the bread is really immaturely fun.

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Oh yeah. If you don’t know what pork floss is, it’s a dried meat product which is slightly sweet. It’s really common in Chinese cuisine, and is used to pair with bread or porridge.

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I used the same dough as the one I used in my pineapple buns recipe, and just replaced the coconut cream with more double cream.

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Overall I thought this bake was pretty successful! It tasted really similar to BreadTalk’s pork floss bun which was where I got the inspiration from in the first place.

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You get a soft, fluffy enriched bun filled and covered with a sweet, sticky sauce. The whole thing is then topped off with the intensely savoury and mildly sweet pork floss, which adds a punch of saltiness, sweetness, and umami to the whole package.

The recipe of the bun was based off this one, and I got the recipe for the transparent mayonnaise from here, and reduced the sugar by 1/3.

Ingredients (makes 10 buns)

Water roux

  • 75g water (1/3 cup)
  • 14g plain flour (1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Bread dough

  • 310g bread flour (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 110g heavy cream (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sweetened condensed milk (1/3 cup)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 37g unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 tbsp)
  • Pork floss (I didn’t measure how much I used, maybe about 100g? See notes.)

Transparent mayonnaise (A)

  • 20g sugar
  • 3g salt
  • 17g butter
  • 150g water

Transparent mayonnaise (B)

  • 43g sugar
  • 17g corn starch
  • 67g water

Method

Water roux

  1. Mix the water, flour, and salt together in a microwave-proof bowl until there are no lumps.
  2. Microwave on high at 15 seconds intervals, whisking the mixture until smooth every time you take the bowl out of the microwave. The mixture is ready when it is thick and leaves behind ribbons.
  3. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bread dough

  1. Mix together the bread flour, yeast, and sugar. Then add the water roux, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and egg white. Knead well until the mixture is smooth and elastic.
  2. Add the softened butter in 3 additions, adding a new addition after the butter has been well incorporated into the bowl. Keep kneading until your bread reaches windowpane stage.
  3. Cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm and let rise until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  4. Knock down the bread dough and split the dough into 10 equal pieces. Shape each dough piece into a ball shape, and then roll out into a oval between two pieces of baking paper. Roll the flat oval from the long edge to obtain a long sausage shape.
  5. Place the sausage shaped dough onto baking paper. Cover with a piece of oiled clingfilm and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  6. After doubled in size, create a egg wash with the leftover egg yolk and a splash of leftover cream. Brush over the top of the buns.
  7. Bake at 200ºC for 15-17 mins, or until golden brown.

Transparent mayonnaise

  1. Combine all the ingredients in (A) into a saucepan and heat over low heat. Stir occasionally until sugar and butter is completely melted.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients in (B) in a large bowl.
  3. When mixture (A) begins to boil, combine mixture (B) into mixture (A) and continue to cook over low heat. Remove from heat when mayonnaise thickens and gets transparent in colour.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before covering with clingfilm (to stop a skin from forming). Allow to cool completely to room temperature before using.

Assemble

  1. Create a lengthwise slit in each bun.
  2. Fill a piping bag with the transparent mayonnaise.
  3. Fill the slit with the transparent mayonnaise and spread some mayo over the top of the buns as well.
  4. Dump some pork floss over the top.

Notes

  • I call it “transparent mayonnaise” even though it’s not really mayonnaise. It doesn’t contain any eggs. I don’t know what its real name is, it’s just what the recipe source called it.
  • You can use any leftover transparent mayo in sandwiches.
  • If you want to be hardcore, you can try making your own pork floss I guess. I just bought mine from a store.
  • Heavy cream is also known as double cream or whipping cream.
  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature. For example bread proofs twice as fast in Singapore than in London due to the temperature and humidity difference (yaaaas).
  • It’s important to oil the clingfilm to cover the bread or the bread will stick to the clingfilm and you’d lose some of the volume in the bread when removing the clingfilm.
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