Bo Lo Bao (Pineapple Bun, 菠蘿包) – World Bread Day 2010

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!

This Cantonese bread will go to the World Bread Day. I would also like to submit it to Yeastspotting. Enjoy! 🙂

Recipe (makes 6)

Sweet buns

Bread flour 200g

Sugar 53g

Instant yeast 8g

Milk powder 13g

Water 100g

Egg 23g

Shortening 23g

Salt 4g

Egg wash

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

Crust topping

Cake flour 45g

Sugar 25g

Shortening 15g

Butter 3g

Egg 5g

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)

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  1. All is revealed! I’ve never seen one of these before – it looks very good indeed. But then I had my first Mooncake this year from a Vietnamese store in my city – so I have lots to learn about bread elsewhere – how wonderful 🙂

    • Hi hi Joanna, I only know Chinese mooncakes, never heard of Vietnamese ones. How do they look like? Taste good?

      I agree that there are a lot to learn about bread. Different places have different elobrations on this stable food. How lovely. 🙂

  2. Bao MeiLing

     /  October 17, 2010


  3. I was looking forward to see your post. And of course I love it! Thank you for participating in World Bread Day.

    • Thanks Zorra. Glad to know you’ve received so many submissions — which means more people are celebrating the World Bread Day. Great job!

  4. These bo lo bao looks just like the ones I grew up with in Hong Kong!!! I made it once before, but I will definitely give your recipe a try!! Looks great! =)

  5. Wow.. yours look so professional! Mine doesn’t,

    I’m going to try out your recipe!

  6. Michelle

     /  April 23, 2013

    Wauw, the bo lo bao looks sooo good! I would like to try this recipe out, but I have a question. I tried earlier another recipe, but the bread wasn’t light enough. Inside was like a normal bread, but the original bo lo bau is very light bread (and inside). So my question is, is this recipe (bread) also light inside? And maybe do you know how to make the bread so light inside?

    Sorry for the difficulities and questions, hopefully you can give answers on it, I will be very thankfull!

  7. Thanks 🙂

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