The pineapple bun (pronounced “buo luo mien bao” in Mandarin) derives its name from the appearance of its checkered top, which looks similar to the epicarp of a pineapple. There is, in fact, no form of pineapple contained in this sweet bread. There are two parts to the pineapple bun–the bread dough and the sweet topping.
Ingredients for Bread Dough:
155 g (11/3 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
3 g (1 tsp) active dry yeast
25 g (2 Tbs) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
75 mL (1/3 cup) milk
15 g (1 Tbs) beaten egg (use the remaining egg for egg wash)
15 g (1 Tbs) unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
Mix the dough ingredients: Combine the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, beat on low for 3 minutes, until all ingredients are combined. Continue to mix on low speed while adding the butter, one piece at a time, until all the butter is thoroughly mixed into the dough.
Knead the dough: Beat the dough for another 10 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be sticky and shiny.
Proof the dough: Place the dough in a bowl dusted with flour, and cover with a plastic wrap. Leave the dough in a warm spot for about 60 minutes, until it doubles in size.
Ingredients for Sweet Topping:
25 g (13/4 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
35 g (3 Tbs) sugar
2 tsp milk
1 large egg yolk
80 g (3/4 cup + 1 Tbs) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
Mix the topping ingredients: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the milk and egg yolk, then whisk until the mixture is creamy and slightly pale. Sift the cake flour and baking powder, add them to the mixture, and mix until everything just comes together.
Firm up the topping mixture: Roll the mixture into a log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap, then leave it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Divide the bread dough: Punch out the air in the bread dough. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, then form each piece into a ball. Cover the balls of dough with plastic wrap, and leave them in a warm spot for 60 minutes to proof, until they double in size.
Divide the topping mixture: Cut the log into 10 equal pieces, then form each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball into a 3″ disc, then individually wrap the discs in plastic wrap. Leave the wrapped discs in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, until they firm up and are easier to handle.
Assemble the bun: Brush the top of each bread dough with egg wash. Lightly score each topping with a criss-cross pattern. Place each disc on top of a ball of bread dough. Brush each topping with egg wash. Let the buns sit in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Bake the buns: Bake the buns at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.
Makes: 10 mini buns
These pineapple buns turned out delicious! They are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack (as well as a late night snack, if you’re like me). The soft, sweet, and buttery topping was what really defined the pineapple bun.
Although these buns are perfectly enjoyable the way they are, I plan on also making ones with a crusty, golden brown topping (to create more of a contrast in texture with the soft bread). Do you prefer the top of a pineapple bun to be soft or crisp? Comment below and let me know!