The most well-known bread of Hong Kong, Bo Lo Bao represents our food culture and how we interprets bread in this city. “Bo Lo” is the Cantonese of pineapple, wheareas “Bao” is bread. This bread features a golden pineapple-like pattern pastry on top, and therefore the name. Is there pineapple inside? No! It’s no surprise the name of Chinese food or dishes sometimes may be a metaphor of something else. The name “Mooncake” is one of the examples.
Bo Lo Bao is a product of “East meets West”. One common story about the origin was people wanted more from traditional western style buns, and hence used sugar, egg, shortening, flour etc and created a pastry for the top. This bread has a crispy top, soft crumb, golden color, enriched flavor and short fermentation time. It exactly tells our preference for a variety of characters in food at a quick speed. Because of the crispy crust and enriched flavor, this bread is also suitable to serve hot or warm. I do appreciate the creativeness and originality of this bread, and I like it when I want something savory. Notwithstanding our culture is used to have soft, warm and savory bread, it is not easy for people to pay more attention to an authentic sourdough. Um, let’s hope time will change this!
Recipe (makes 6)
Bread flour 200g
Instant yeast 8g
Milk powder 13g
Knead all above and ferment until double in size (about 45 mins). Divide in 6pcs and shape into buns. 2nd fermentation until double in size for about 45 mins
Cake flour 45g
Milk powder 5g
Baking ammonia 1g (I used approximately 1/5 tp)
Baking soda 1g (I used approximately 1/5 tp)
Baking powder 1/8 tp
Mix all of the above and divide into 6 portions. Shape into balls. Afer the 2nd fermentation of the sweet buns, use your palm or a chopper to press the topping into thin round slices. Size would be slightly bigger than the diameter of the dough (refer to photo). Place on the dough and brush with egg wash. Use a toothpick to make crisscrosses on the topping. Bake at 200C for 16-17 mins until the top becomes golden brown. Serve warm.
(Recipe and last photo adapted from the book “Hong Kong Memorable Bakery”/ “回憶的味道-港式老包餅” by 黎力強)