BO LO BAO (菠蘿包) - WITH VIDEO

INGREDIENTS

Part 1: The Bun

TANG ZHONG

bread flour

room temperature water

40g

200 mL

BUN DOUGH

140 mL

8g

500g

20g

1/2 tsp

80g

80g

40g

200g

room temperature water

yeast

bread flour

milk power

salt

sugar

egg (reserve any leftover egg for brushing)

unsalted butter

Tang Zhong

Part 2: The Topping

200g

160g

110g

40g

2 tsp

1/4 tsp

3

cake flour

sugar

unsalted butter

milk powder

baking powder

salt

egg yolks (reserve the egg whites)

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INGREDIENTS

Part 1: The Bun

  1. On low heat, make the tang zhong by cooking bread flour and water till thick and sticky. Stir the mixture continuously to ensure   even cooking. Set aside to cool.

  2. Bloom yeast in water until frothy.

  3. Meanwhile, mix bread flour, milk powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

  4. Add yeast mixture, egg and tang zhong into the bowl. Mix to form a sticky, rough and shaggy dough.

  5. Flour a surface with bread flour and knead the dough using a stretch and fold technique. Knead till the dough becomes smooth and not sticky. This should take around 20 minutes.
    Note: You must do this in a dry room that is <27C. As you knead, your hands might get a little warm (!) which can hydrate the dough, causing it to remain sticky. Try to keep the room and your body cool and dry. Do not add more flour as you knead, otherwise the buns will turn out tough. The amount of flour used in the video is enough to knead the dough without it sticking to the table. The dough ball itself will pick up the dough that sticks to the table at the beginning of the knead.

  6. Add the unsalted butter and knead until not sticky and supple. The dough will be smooth and form a ball.

  7. Place the dough ball in a large bowl, cover with a piece of cling film. Leave to proof for 45mins in a warm area or until double in size.

  8. Weigh the dough and divide by 16 to get even baos.

  9. Roll each bao into a ball and place 4 on a lined baking sheet, allowing enough space in between each bao as they will expand in the oven. You don’t want to touch the bao after the second proof and therefore place the baos as if you were going to bake them. If you don’t have 4 baking sheets, use a normal tray and transfer the entire parchment paper to a baking sheet once proofed (still not touching the baos).*

  10. Cover the trays with a tea towel or cling film. Leave for 45 mins in a warm area or until double in size.
     

Part 2: The Topping

  1. Meanwhile you can start making the topping by mixing all topping ingredients in a bowl. It should be quite a sticky and wet dough. The dough should come together in a log without it sticking to the bowl. If too sticky, add a little cake flour and milk powder. If too dry, add more butter and egg (This depends on how large your egg yolks are and the humidity of the room).

  2. Roll the topping in a uniform log and wrap with a piece of cling film. Place it in the fridge for at least 15 mins so that it is easy to form later on.

  3. Preheat oven to 180C

  4. When dough is finished proofing, take the topping out and divide evenly into 16 pieces.

  5. Place one piece of topping in a cling film and fold the cling film over so that the topping is sandwiched in between.

  6. Use your palm to flatten the topping to a large thing circle about 2mm thick or large enough to cover the bao.

  7. Open one side of the cling film, place onto the bao. Use your hand to form the topping around the bao being careful not to 'squish' all the air out of the bao. Peel the other side of the cling film off.

  8. Repeat with the rest of the baos.

  9. Use leftover egg from the bao and topping to brush onto the tops of the baos (if there is too much egg white and the mixture is a very liquidy pale yellow, add another egg).

  10. Bake in 180C oven for 15mins, rotating the tray halfway.

  11. Eat warm with a slice of butter in the centre. If you are not eating all in one sitting, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat the buns in the oven at around 80C. The buns can be kept for up to 3 days.


*If you want to add a filling into your bo lo bao, you want to add it before the second proof. Flatten the dough into a circle and place a dollop of your filling in the centre. Bring opposite sides to the centre to close the bao. Twist to seal and place seal side down onto the tray so that the top is nice and round. I have tried this recipe with red bean and cha siu fillings before. Just make sure your filling is thick and not liquid otherwise it will leak out and ruin the bao’s texture. The second proof will then need to be longer (about 1 hour) if you decide to add a filling as the baos would have deflated a lot when the fillings are added. Just watch your baos until they are double in size.