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Bo Lo Bao - "Pineapple" Bao/Baozi

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Although called "Pineapple" Bao, it doesn't actually contain any pineapple. Its name comes from the cookie topping which is yellow and resembles a pineapple when it cracks during baking. This bao can be filled with custard or can be plain but the topping is a must!

Although this recipe has many parts, you will enjoy the results. The combination of the cookie topping and custard filling surrounded by a rich dough is worth all the effort. You can break it up into parts making the topping and custard up to 3 days in advance. Even the dough could be made the day before. After the first rise, divide, roll out, fill, shape and leave in the refrigerator overnight to retard the second rise. The next day roll out and top with the topping and bake.

The topping is cookie like and cracks as the dough expands when baked. The egg wash gives it a nice yellow color.

Bo Lo Bao/Baozi Dough

Like steamed bao dough, the sky's the limit for this rich milk bread bao dough. Can be stuffed with sweet and savory fillings. Try wrapping around leftover pulled pork, a hot dog, ham and egg (for a nice breakfast sandwich), mixing in raisins and braiding it or baking it in a loaf pan. You won't be able to stop yourself from eating it even if it is plain!

Ingredients (makes 12 buns)


6 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons unbleached Bread Flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


1 tablespoon active dry yeast (see tips)

4 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (or high performance bread flour - recommended)

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Custard Filling

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar, granulated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

egg yolk

1 tablespoon whole milk

3/4 cup flour, all purpose

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Egg wash

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon water

1 Tablespoon honey


Make the tangzhong: Combine milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until you get to a thick gravy consistency 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, stir until incorporated and set aside to cool.

Give the yeast a little head start. In a small bowl add the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Let sit to start blooming while you get your other ingredients together.

Make the dough: Fit mixer with the paddle attachment. In the mixing bowl add milk, flour, remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, tangzhong, and yeast mixture and mix 1 minute. Switch to dough hook and knead 1 minute. Add egg and continue kneading for an additional 8 minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough forms. If kneading by hand mix with a silicone spatula first until you get a shaggy looking dough then switch to kneading by hand. Do not worry if it feels sticky at first. Keep kneading allowing flour to absorb moisture. If it is too dry add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If it is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. Dough should look smooth and feel like play dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk. Your "off" oven is a good place.

Make the custard: Custard can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Mix together the cornstarch, flour and half of the sugar (1/8 cup) in a bowl. In another bowl add the egg yolks and mix lightly. In a small saucepan, add the milk and remaining 1/8 cup of sugar and heat over medium low heat. Whisk the milk and sugar to dissolve the sugar. Do not let the milk get too hot. It should not go over 120 degrees F when bubbles will be seen forming. While the milk is warming, whisk the egg yolks and flour mixture together. Remove milk from heat and add 3 tablespoons of warm milk to the egg mixture. Whisk until incorporated. Add another 3 tablespoons and whisk to incorporate. This will bring up the temperature slowly so you don't cook it and get scrambled eggs! Slowly add the rest of the warm milk while whisking at the same time to fully incorporate.

Transfer the custard mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium until thickened, about 5 minutes. You should be able to draw a clean line through. Once it starts thickening it goes very quickly so don't leave, keep stirring. Turn off heat, remove from heat source, and add butter and vanilla and whisk to fully incorporate. Transfer to a heat proof bowl to cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Make the topping: Beat softened butter and sugar together. Add vanilla, egg and milk and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix to incorporate. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll into a log about 2" in diameter. Refrigerate.

Gently deflate the dough (about 850 g), divide it into 12 equal pieces (about 70 g). At this point they are ready to shape and fill. Take one piece and roll or flatten into a 4" disk. If possible, leave middle a bit thicker than edges. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of custard and place in middle of dough. Bring up edges and pinch to close seams. Place filled dough seam side down on a sheet tray lined with parchment, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

In a small bowl mix the egg, water and honey with a fork until honey is dissolved.

Remove topping (about 320 g) from refrigerator and divide into 12 equal portions (about 26 g). Place a piece on a lightly floured surface and roll or flatten with your fingers to a disk about 3 1/2" in diameter. Edges should be about 3 mm thick and middle a little thicker at 5-6 mm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

When filled dough is puffy, uncover and place 1 disk of topping on each. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle bun should read at least 190°F.

Remove the buns from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

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