Bolo Bao, Chinese Pineapple Bun Recipe

Bolo bao are Chinese pineapple buns. The shape of them is supposed to resemble a pineapple.

While they do not taste of pineapple, they do have a great texture and a sweet flavour. The topping is crispy and caramelized, and the inside is soft and fluffy. But I was not happy. I needed pineapple flavour, so I asked my friend Avery to come up with a pineapple jam recipe that would go well with these buns. And it came out perfect! This recipe makes 8 buns. Multiply the amount of ingredients to make more.

There are similar versions of this bread in other countries too. In Japan they have ‘melon pan’ and in Brazil they have a similar bread too. It is all the same more or less just goes by a different name. 

Regardless of what we call it, it is delicious!

To watch the pineapple jam video, click here.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the dough

250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour

30g (1oz) sugar

3g (0.1oz) salt

30g (1oz) soft butter

4g (0.14oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast

20g (0.7oz) egg, cold from the fridge

130g (4.6oz) cold milk, at around 8C (46F)

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


For the topping

40g (1.4oz) soft butter

40g (1.4oz) sugar

15g (0.5oz) egg

80g (2.8oz) flour

10g (0.35oz) milk powder

1g (0.03oz) salt


Egg for brushing. You need two eggs in total for the whole recipe. Whisk both eggs, then weigh out the amount you need for the dough and for the topping. Use the remaining egg for brushing.


  1. Make the topping. Whisk the butter and sugar together until pale. Add the egg, salt, milk powder. Mix well. Add the flour and mix until homogenous. Divide the topping in 8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place on a tray or plate, cover & leave in the fridge until needed.
  2. Make the dough. In a bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt, sugar & egg. Mix well to dissolve the sugar & hydrate the yeast. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  3. Knead for 3 minutes. Tear in the butter. Knead for another 3 minutes. Desired dough temperature around 25C (77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  4. Cover & ferment for 1 hour.
  5. Fold.
  6. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  7. Divide in 8 equal pieces. Preshape.
  8. Rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Shape into balls again. Roll out the topping between clingfilm. Brush the topping with egg and lay it on top of the bun. Gently press it on. Repeat with the rest.
  10. Use the dough scraper or a knife to score the topping. Hold the bun in the palm of your hand and carefully roll the blade along the bun from one side to the other. Do 4 lines. Turn the bun 90 degrees and do 4 more lines. Place your buns on a non-stick paper lined tray.
  11. Final proof 1 hour. During this time preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  12. Brush the buns with egg all over. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until puffed up and golden brown all over. You can turn them around halfway through the bake if they are not colouring evenly.


Watch the video here

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