Roasted Pork Belly Bao

I impulse-bought a steamer and it’s finally time to use it.

20170417_112717 copy

The bao (buns) here are more like sliders rather than the enclosed packages you’ll see more often in dim sum restaurants. In this recipe roasted pork belly is used, rather than the fattier, softer braised pork belly which I usually get in Singapore (kong bak bao/扣肉包). Still tasty! Just in a different way.

20170417_123754 copy

I thought this was a really good recipe for bao and will definitely use it again for future attempts. So soft! So tender! So fluffy!

I think this was because of the almost scary amounts of animal fat that went into the buns. Sorry, vegetarians. I’m sure you all can use shortening or something instead.

20170417_134927 copy

My balls of dough with the marginalised runt of the litter.

pork belly bao process

And here’s a picture of a lonely bao getting shaped.

20170417_144603 copy

And then after you steam the buns any small imperfections you make disappear as they poof up to steamy, fluffy goodness.

20170417_150250 copy

20170417_151753 copy

I guess bao are kind of like Asian burgers? In that they’re both carbohydrate vehicles of fillings which common destination is your mouth. Except bao’s steamed.

20170417_154956 copy

Garnish with some slightly crunchy cucumber pickles to lighten up the flavour (and provide some greens for your diet you unhealthy pig). Usually I eat these types of buns with some Chinese cabbage (生菜) or pickled vegetables (梅菜) but cucumbers are a lot easier to come by in London. The sweetness of the hoisin sauce and the savouriness of the scallions also complements the salty-sweet umami of the pork belly to deliver one heck of a fat-filled bite-sized package to your mouth.

Pork Belly Buns Bao (2)

Pork Belly Buns Bao (1)

I got the recipe from from here, which adapted the recipe from the Momofuku cookbook, which y’know, is famous for their pork bao. The recipe was a little lacking though – should definitely have read the comments before starting. For one thing the pork belly turned out wayyy too salty. Turns out you’re supposed to wash the brine off the meat first before you roast it.

Also, David Chang (of Momofuku) later posted the pork belly recipe on lucky peach with DIFFERENT TIMINGS. WHO DO I TRUST. Ended up listing temperatures and timings somewhere in the middle below, but go with your gut man.

In the recipe below I also changed when to add the fat into the bao (see notes), and made the cucumber pickle more sweet because again, I thought it was too salty. I also converted some of the ingredients to grams.

Ingredients

Pork belly (makes 12 portions, each portion being a palm sized bao)

  • 6 pieces sliced skinless pork belly, about 600g in total
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Some freshly ground black pepper

Steamed buns (makes about 22, halve if you want to have the exact(ish) number of buns but they freeze easily and it’s difficult to halve this recipe due to the tiny amounts of some ingredients so I made the full 22)

  • 6g yeast (about 1/2 tbsp)
  • 270g bread flour (about 2 cups)
  • 38g sugar (3 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp skimmed dry milk powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 177g water (about 3/4 cups)
  • 40g rendered pork fat/shortening/oil in the liquid state, room/body temperature (see notes)
  • Vegetable oil to oil surfaces

To assemble

  • Hoisin sauce (you use about 2 tsp per bao so 24 tsp I guess?)
  • About 6 stalks scallions, cut diagonally for a e s t h e t i c s
  • 1 long cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch slices (yes, I know that the cucumber in my pictures are a lot thicker than that but I don’t have a mandolin give me a break)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt

Method

Pork belly

  1. Place the pork belly in a roasting pan that holds it snugly, fat side up.
  2. In a bowl, combine the salt and sugar. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Grind some black pepper all over the pork and rub that in too.
  3. Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (no longer than 24h).
  4. The next morning (or whatever), preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F).
  5. Discard any liquid that has accumulated in the pan. Give the meat a wash to get rid of the excess salt.
  6. Place the meat back in the pan, making sure the meat fits snugly. It’s important that it’s snug so it stays moist (I think)! Use a ramekin or some other oven-safe thing to crowd the pork belly if your pan is too big.
  7. Put the pork belly in the oven for about 40 mins, basting it with the rendered fat halfway through, until the meat is golden brown.
  8. Turn the oven temperature down to 120°C (250°F) and cook until pork is tender, about an hour more.
  9. Let the pork belly cool to room temperature before wrapping it tightly in cling film and refrigerating it, so it’s easier to cut to size.
  10. To reheat the pork belly, brown it again in oil or warm it up in a little water in a covered pan.

Steamed buns

  1. Stir together the yeast, flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Then add in 177g of water and knead until soft and elastic.
  2. Add in the fat and knead the fat into the dough. It might seem like too much fat at first but woah let me tell you dough can really tolerate a lot of fat. Makes you think about how much fat is in the bread you usually eat. Fat.
  3. Knead until the dough is super soft and elastic. Then cover with clingfilm and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour 15 mins.
  4. When the dough is doubled in size, punch the dough down. Weigh out 25g portions of dough and shape each portion into a ball. Set each portion down on an oiled baking sheet.
  5. Cover the balls with oiled cling film and let them rise for 30 mins. While they are rising, cut out 22 pieces (or however many dough balls you got) of 10x10cm (or 4″) squares of baking paper.
  6. After 30 mins, use an oiled rolling pin to roll each ball into a 10cm long oval (or 4″, you don’t have to be too exact).
  7. Brush the top lightly with some vegetable oil, and place an oiled chopstick horizontally across the centre of the oval. Fold the oval over itself to form a bun. Gently pull out the chopstick, leaving the bun folded, and transfer the bun to a square of baking paper (see notes about giving your buns an overbite).
  8. Cover the buns with oiled clingfilm and let them rest for 45 mins.
  9. Set a steamer on top of a saucepan of water at a rolling boil. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment squares for 10 mins.
  10. To freeze the buns, allow them to cool to room temperature and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat them in a steamer for 2-3 mins until warmed all the way through.

To assemble

  1. To make a quick cucumber pickle, combine the sliced cucumbers with 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tbsp salt in a bowl and toss to coat. Let it sit for 5-10 mins. Before use, dab the cucumber slices on some paper towels to get rid of some excess fluid.
  2. Open a warm bun and spread about 2 tsp of hoisin sauce on the inside (see notes).
  3. Add a piece of pork belly, a couple of slices of cucumber pickle, and some sliced scallions.

Notes

  • I kneaded the fat into the dough after kneading the flour and water together (as compared to the original recipe which just kneads everything together in one step) because I found that doing it this way usually results in softer, fluffier bread (or in this case bao).
  • I definitely did not get enough rendered fat out of the pork belly to put in the bao as some iterations of this recipe claimed to be able to achieve, so I’d suggest buying some lard or shortening to top up. I got about 10g of rendered fat, and topped up with some tallow and rendered lamb fat that my housemate had lying around in the fridge, as well as some vegetable oil. Make sure to melt your fat down to liquid first, and cool to body temperature before using in your bao.
  • I found that when shaping the bao it might be better to give the bao a bit of an overbite (ie the top half hanging over the bottom like this) just so it can stretch over your fillings better at the end.
  • If, like me, you have a bit of a sweet tooth (or if your pork belly turns out too salty) mix some honey into your hoisin sauce to spread on the bun.
  • I think my pork belly turned out a little too black so I’ve reduced the timings listed in the recipe above (probably because I’m using less meat and my pork belly was already sliced).
  • Overall though I still prefer steamed baos with braised pork belly rather than roasted pork belly. I subsequently made a batch of braised pork belly with this recipe and was really pleased with how it tasted with the bao. Here’s a pic (I ate it with some shiitake mushrooms that were stewing together with the pork).

Braised Pork Bun Bao

Pumpkin Buns with Pumpkin Filling

Too spooky for me.

20161029_145950-copy

Pumpkin-shaped bread has been really popular lately and I thought I’d try them too.

20161029_150517-copy

In case it wasn’t obvious from its appearance, the bread contains pumpkin. For extra adherence to theme, pumpkin’s in both the bread and the filling.

20161029_152315-copy

And yeah…I don’t know how the pinterest people did it but I couldn’t get the string off the bread in the end. Just get your friends to nibble round the string. Can’t do them too much harm. Extra fibre.

(Ok so after googling a bit turns out I was supposed to remove the string after the second proof. Oops.)

20161029_170509-copy

The pumpkin’s not super obvious in the dough, but the bread itself’s still really tasty. Can’t go wrong with enriched bread.

20161029_171207-copy

Crumb shot.

20161029_175420-copy

Garnish with some decorations stolen from a cupcake shop. This recipe’s loosely based off this youtube video. I say loosely because I didn’t follow her bread technique and left out the milk in the filling.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • 400g pureed pumpkin (about 1 can). Split into two portions, 100g for the dough and 300g for the filling.

Bread

  • 300g bread flour
  • 160ml milk
  • 40g butter, softened
  • 7g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 40g sugar
  • 6g salt
  • Some string
  • Pecans to decorate

Filling

  • 40g butter
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt together. Then add the milk and 100g pureed pumpkin. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  2. Knead in the butter until the bread reaches windowpane stage.
  3. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until doubled in size (about 1.5 hours for me, see notes).
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix 300g pureed pumpkin with the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Refrigerate until firm.
  5. When the dough is doubled in size, knockback and split the dough into 12 equal pieces.
  6. Flour a surface and your rolling pin and flatten each piece of dough. Add about 1/12 of the filling into the centre of the dough circle (about 1 tbsp). Close the dough around the filling well and shape until it’s round.
  7. Use string to tie the dough ball, dividing it into 8 segments. Place each shaped bun onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Cover with some floured clingfilm and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  9. After the buns have doubled in size, remove the string (which I clearly didn’t). Decorate each bun with a pecan piece to make the “stalk”. Brush each bun with some milk to give it a bit of colour.
  10. Bake at 180°C for about 20 mins or until well coloured.
  11. Let cool on cooling rack.

Notes

  • Make sure to seal the filling well with the dough or it will leak out.
  • Don’t tie the buns too tightly with the string or it’ll squeeze the filling out.
  • The timings for the proving are a rough guide. It’s pretty cold where I am right now so proving might be longer for me than it is for you.
  • Make sure to remove the string before baking lol.
  • If you’re going to puree your own pumpkin you might have to adjust the liquid levels. I feel like canned pureed pumpkin’s a little wetter.

Pork Floss Buns

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

20160729_133723 copy

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

20160729_151031 copy

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.

20160729_151615 copy20160729_161408 copy

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

20160729_163806 copy20160729_170209 copy

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.

20160729_142957 copy

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

20160729_165728 copy

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.

20160729_165539 copy

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.

20160729_171648 copy

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.

20160729_171704 copy

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.

20160729_172248 copy

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.

Char Siew Bo Lo Buns (Sweet Buns with Barbecued Pork Filling)

Revisiting this favourite of mine.

20160703_083931 copy

So I’m back in Singapore! Which means not only am I reunited with my blowtorch (which will be relevant in a future post), but Char Siew (barbecued pork) is readily available at all times.

20160703_095612 copy

Also, for some reason, I just think the flour in Singapore’s better suited (compared to London) for Asian bread? The flour just seems lighter with a smaller particle size somehow, which is better for the fluffy, sweet buns that’s characteristic of Asian bread.

20160703_101404 copy

I’ve made this recipe before, but with a pineapple filling instead of the savoury filling I’m doing here. There’s more flowery, excited rhetoric about Bo Lo Bao and the difference between Asian and Western bread in that post, so check it out!

20160703_104848 copy

Char siew is a classic filling in Bo Lo Buns. The sweetness of the topping marries perfectly with the (very) enriched dough and the sweet-salty umami of the pork.

20160703_105913 copy

You get a complete package of textures as well, with the crunchy crumbly topping, the soft fluffy bun, and the…chewiness(?) of the meat. That’s the extent of my vocabulary, sorry.

20160703_114925 copy

I ran out of clingfilm unfortunately so I had to use a damp cloth to cover the bread instead. So the bread stuck to the cloth and deflated a bit when I took the cloth off.

20160703_113959 copy

I also learnt from my previous Bo Lo Bao attempt and used less topping this time! Definitely made the buns more presentable. If you use too much topping it kind of overflows and overwhelms the bun, kind of what was happening in the bottom left bun two pictures up.

(Also, isn’t that plate pretty? The luxury of non-student tableware)

20160703_113943 copy

I used storebought Char Siew stir fried with some cornstarch, oyster sauce, and random condiments I had around the kitchen. I used the same recipe source as the last time I made this bun.

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)
  • 80g heavy cream (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sweetened condensed milk (1/3 cup)
  • 30g coconut cream (2 tbsp, shake well before using)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 37g unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 tbsp)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  • Char siew (I used about 20g for each bun, and I definitely think it could use with more filling. Meat’s expensive though D:)

Crust

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 15g coconut cream (1 tbsp)
  • 110g cake flour (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 90g powdered sugar (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 15g custard powder (2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tsp 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, coconut cream, 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 and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Crust

  1. Cream the butter until pale and creamy. Then add the large egg yolk and coconut cream and mix until thick.
  2. Add the cake flour, powdered sugar, custard powder, baking soda, and baking powder and mix with your hands until everything comes together into a dough.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Assembly

  1. Weigh your bread dough, and divide the mixture into 10. It won’t seem like a lot of dough but it will expand by quite a bit.
  2. Roll each ball out flat (not too thin, there’s not a lot of filling). Then scoop about 10g of pineapple jam (see notes) into the middle of each bread. Gather up the edges of the bread and seal well.
  3. Place each sealed ball of bread onto a lined baking sheet seam-side down. Cover and let rise for about 40 mins, not quite doubled in size.
  4. Make the coconut egg wash by mixing together the egg, coconut cream, and water.
  5. After the second rise, weigh and divide the topping into 10.
  6. Brush the buns with the egg wash.
  7. Roll the topping out into discs by placing the topping between 2 sheets of baking paper and rolling it with a pin. Place each disc on top of the buns. Make sure not to cover the whole of the bun, and only cover the top half (you might have to trim your disc). The topping will expand when baked.
  8. Brush the topped buns with the egg wash and leave for about 5 mins. Then egg wash it again. Sprinkle the top of the buns with some sea salt.
  9. Bake at 200ºC for 16-18 mins, or until golden brown.

Notes

  • This bun tastes best fresh out of the oven.
  • Heavy cream is also known as double cream or whipping cream.
  • For extra decadence, serve the bread with some cold butter.
  • 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).
  • Cover the bread with some oiled clingfilm to stop the bread from sticking to it.

Pineapple Buns (Bo Lo Bao)

This well-known Chinese bakery classic is interpreted literally by adding pineapple jam as a filling.

This bread uses the water roux (汤种/湯種/tangzhong) method which results in the fluffier texture that is characteristic of most Asian bread. The flour’s heated with the water first before adding the mixture to the dough. I’ve tried it before in my Matcha Bread with Azuki Filling, but I think this recipe yielded a much softer dough that’s easier to work with, that was more reminiscent of Chinese bread.

20160521_122214 copy

Bo Lo Bao (菠萝包/菠蘿包) is typically a plain bun topped with a crunchy, sweet topping, and is a mainstay in many Chinese bakeries. The topping is made of a separate, sweeter dough which can also be the base of many Chinese cookies.

Common variations of the bun typically revolves around stuffing it with different things, like sweet barbecued pork (cha siu/叉烧/叉燒) or sweet red bean paste.

20160521_135115 copy

Bo Lo Bao literally means “pineapple buns”, and it’s named because of its appearance, not because it contains pineapple (because it usually does not). The way the crunchy topping cracks when it’s baked reminds some people of how pineapple looks like but I have no idea what they’re on about.

20160521_141838 copy

In my case though I thought why not put actual pineapple inside? I had loads of pineapple jam leftover from making pineapple tarts during Chinese New Year (yes it’s been more than 3 months but jam keeps well okay don’t judge me) and I really needed to use it up.

20160521_145043 copy

And the jam tasted good with the bread! Lesson learnt though: definitely put less than 50g of jam in each bread. It was waaaaaaay too much. A smear of jam in the middle of each bread would probably have been much more appropriate.

Also I crowded my buns a bit too much so they ended up expanding into each other. So I lost that perfect round shape 😦

20160521_145105 copy

The bread tasted great though, definitely my best Asian bread so far. I got the recipe from here.

IMG-20160521-WA0001 copy

Look at that fluff!

If you want to try another bread with a similar concept (ie a soft bun with a sweet crunchy topping), check out my Melon Pan (which despite its name does not contain melon). Seems like Chinese and Japanese bakers just like to mislead their customers by naming their bread after fruits.

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)
  • 80g heavy cream (1/3 cup)
  • 100g sweetened condensed milk (1/3 cup)
  • 30g coconut cream (2 tbsp)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 37g unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 tbsp)
  • Sea salt for sprinkling
  • 100g pineapple jam to fill

Crust

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 15g coconut cream (1 tbsp)
  • 110g cake flour (3/4 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 90g powdered sugar (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 15g custard powder (2 tbsp_
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tsp 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 heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, coconut cream, 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 and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Crust

  1. Cream the butter until pale and creamy. Then add the large egg yolk and coconut cream and mix until thick.
  2. Add the cake flour, powdered sugar, custard powder, baking soda, and baking powder and mix with your hands until everything comes together into a dough.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Assembly

  1. Weigh your bread dough, and divide the mixture into 10. It won’t seem like a lot of dough but it will expand by quite a bit.
  2. Roll each ball out flat (not too thin, there’s not a lot of filling). Then scoop about 10g of pineapple jam (see notes) into the middle of each bread. Gather up the edges of the bread and seal well.
  3. Place each sealed ball of bread onto a lined baking sheet seam-side down. Cover and let rise for about 40 mins, not quite doubled in size.
  4. Make the coconut egg wash by mixing together the egg, coconut cream, and water.
  5. After the second rise, weigh and divide the topping into 10.
  6. Brush the buns with the egg wash.
  7. Roll the topping out into discs by placing the topping between 2 sheets of baking paper and rolling it with a pin. Place each disc on top of the buns. Make sure not to cover the whole of the bun, and only cover the top half (you might have to trim your disc). The topping will expand when baked.
  8. Brush the topped buns with the egg wash and leave for about 5 mins. Then egg wash it again. Sprinkle the top of the buns with some sea salt.
  9. Bake at 200ºC for 16-18 mins, or until golden brown.

Notes

  • This bun tastes best fresh out of the oven.
  • If you are baking in 2 batches, keep the second batch refrigerated while waiting.
  • The topping of my buns expanded A LOT, it was practically pooling around my buns. I thought I topped my buns to the same degree as the original recipe source did, but I’d be a bit more conservative with the topping next time.
  • It’s really hard to find cake flour in London so I just used all purpose flour for the topping. I don’t think that’s why the topping expanded so much, and I think the texture was still good (even though it did not crack as much as I wanted it to).
  • Heavy cream is just double cream here in the UK.
  • For extra decadence, serve the bread with some cold butter.
  • I used closer to 50g of pineapple jam in each bun in my bid to use up the jam and it was much too sweet. Ended up removing most of the jam when eating it.
  • Honestly speaking though the pineapple jam did not add much to the bread, and I still prefer the bread plain.