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pineapple buns in a basket lined with dish towel over a white clothe.
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5 from 3 votes

Pineapple Bun (Taiwanese Style)

Pineapple bun is one of the most popular and classic buns in Taiwan bakeries.  In this recipe I'm showing you how to make this bun at home with a result that will be even better than what you get from the Asian bakery.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Proofing time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: baking, Bread
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 8 buns
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Edwina

Ingredients

Tanzhong

  • 30 g boiling water 2 tbsp
  • 25 g bread flour 2½ tbsp

Cookie Top

  • 70 g unsalted butter 5 tbsp, softened but not too soft
  • 60 g powdered sugar  ¼ cup + 2 tbsp
  • 25 g beaten egg use the rest of the egg from making bread dough
  • 100 g bread flour ¾ cup + 1 tbsp
  • 15 g dry milk powder 2 tbsp, see note

Milk Bun

  • 250 g bread flour 2 cup
  • 30 g cake flour ¼ cup, see note if you don't have cake flour
  • 10 g dry milk powder 1 tbsp, optional
  • 30 g sugar 2 tbsp
  • 15 g honey a little bit less than 1 tbsp
  • 1 tsp instant yeast preferably saf instant yeast
  • 25 g beaten egg from a large egg ½ large egg, ⅛ cup, save the rest for making cookie top
  • 80 g cold whole milk
  • 60 g cold water cannot be replaced with milk
  • all tanzhong paste
  • 4 g sea salt ½ tsp
  • 30 g unsalted butter cut into 6 - 8 pieces

Others

  • egg wash or powder sugar

Instructions

Make Tanzhong the Night Before

  • Measure 25 grams of bread flour in a bowl. Set the kitchen scale to zero with the flour and bowl on it and pour in 30 grams of boiling water. Stir until combined to form a sticky dough.
  • Let it cool down before storing in the fridge overnight or for 8 hours. Use it within 24 hours.

Cookie Top

  • In a bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar together with a spoon or spatula. Add the egg mixture in three batches into the mixture, incorporating one batch before adding the next. An egg beater is recommended for this process.
  • Add bread flour and dry milk powder, fold a few times until the butter mixture is all coated with flour before pouring onto a working surface.
    dough in a blue bowl with wood spoon.
  • Use a bench knife (dough cutter) to fold and press with your palm until the flour and the butter mixture are well combined. You can also do this in a big mixing bowl and use a spatula to press and fold until you can't see any dry flour.
    cookie top for pineapple buns, bench knife marble board.
  • Place the cookie top mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log. Twist the two ends to seal and store it in the fridge until ready to use.
    cookie dough wrapped with plastic wrap on a marble board.

Bun Dough

  • Add all the ingredients for the dough except for sea salt and butter into the stand mixer and knead on low speed until the dough is formed.
  • Cover the mixing bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • When it's done resting, add salt and continue to knead the dough on low for 30 seconds
  • Add butter cubes one at a time and knead until the dough is very smooth and passes the windowpane test. (This step usually takes me about 6-7 minutes, with 5 minutes on low speed and 1 -2 minute on medium speed. The actual time it takes you depends on your mixer.)
    hands stretching dough for windowpane test.
  • Form the dough into a ball (it will be very sticky, but if it's too sticky to handle, then add a little bread flour and knead for another 1~2 minutes) and put it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover, and let it rise for 1 hour to 1.5 hours in a warm place (about 82°F to 90°F) until it doubles in size.

Assemble

  • Transfer the dough onto a working surface and cut it into 8 even pieces. Flatten the dough to deflate it before rolling each piece into a ball.
    forming dough balls.
  • Take the cookie dough out from the fridge and cut it into 8 even pieces.
    8 pieces of cookie dough, bench knife on marble board.
  • Take one piece and roll it into a ball, put it between the plastic wrap and press it down with the bench knife to form a disk. I prefer having the cookie top covering the entire surface of the bun, so I usually press the edges down with my fingers to make it bigger and thinner before cover it on the bun.
    flat cookie dough, plastic wrap, bench knife, marble board.
  • Place the cookie dough on the bun and wrap it over the top side carefully. Make sure to let the cookie dough stick directly to the bun dough without any gaps. Repeat the same for the rest of the buns and place them on a lined baking tray with 2½" (6 cm) space between each. If you cannot work fast enough before the cookie dough begins to soften, store half in the fridge until you are ready to work on them.
    dough covered with cookie dough on a hand.
  • Use a bench knife to make the classic criss cross patterns on the top of the buns if you like. You can also just let it split naturally after proofing, depending on your preference.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place (around 80-85°F) for around 60 minutes or until the expanding dough causes cracks/separation in the cookie top.

Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) towards the end of the proofing process.
  • Brush the top with egg wash or dust a layer of powdered sugar. Bake for 16 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  • Place the buns on a cooling rack and let it cool down for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Notes

Adding cake flour allows the buns to have softer and lighter texture; however, if cake flour is not available to you, you can replace it with all purpose flour. 
Milk powder provides the aroma to the cookie top, but if you don't have it, you can add 20 g of sweetened condensed milk instead and increase the amount of bread flour to 120 g. 
 If you are not eating these on the first day, I would recommend storing them in the freezer once they’re cool in order to maintain the best texture.  When you want to eat them, just bake in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 8-10 minutes. The cookie top will become crispy again once it cools down a little.  Don’t store these in the fridge, or else they will become dry and stale.  
If you make this bun on a very humid day, you will likely need to add more flour when kneading.  Add 1 tbsp at a time until you can lift up the dough and form it into a ball while the dough still remain very soft.  After you form the dough into a ball, it shouldn't stick on your hand when you touch it with clean hands.  

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 1mg