The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chinese Po-Lo Buns

Shiao-Ping's picture

Chinese Po-Lo Buns

Po-Lo is a Chinese antiquity name for pineapple.  It went to Japan and then from there it went to Taiwan.  In 1931, a bakery in Tokyo obtained a patent for the cookie dough on top of a bread dough.  This cookie dough is made of flour, butter, sugar and milk.  Some experts in Japan say it had its origin from Austria ("viennoiserie," rings a bell?)  This is the bun that I had when I was a kid in Taiwan.  Today, you still find them in every bread shop and pastry shop over there.  







It's my son's soccer training this afternoon and it's our team's turn to bring afternoon tea for the boys.  Boys all have a sweet tooth somewhere, don't they.  I thought they would be happy with these soft buns with cookies on top - two treats in one bite.  But guess what?  I should have gone one extra mile.  I asked my boy how he liked these rolls on the way home.  He said, "Mum, some custard (in the center) would be GRAND."   

So, these are not GRAND enough.  How I adore - the economy of his words.  


My formula for the bread dough (for 12)  

  • 350 g white bread flour
  • 60 g almond milk powder (or just milk powder)
  • 244 g soy milk (or just milk)
  • 60 g water
  • 3 g instant dry yeast (or 1 tsp)  

My ingredients are not conventional.  Normally there would be loads of butter and eggs for that rich flavor in this type of soft buns.  I simply cold retarded my dough overnight to try to improve its natural flavor.  

The dough would normally go through intensive kneading to pass windowpane test.  But I did the James MacGuire no-kneading and folding impression on this dough instead.  

My formula for the cookie dough (for 12)  

  • 135 g white bread flour
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 80 g butter
  • 30 g egg (about 1/2 an egg)  

The trick with this cookie pastry, as with any tart shell, is time.  Once it's mixed, it needs to breath and relax in the refrigerator (overnight, preferably).     


It's baked in 190C (375F) for 15 to 18 min  

A savoury variation with stir-fry noodles and vegitables (without the cookie dough on top) follows:


I once made it with leftover spaghetti mince, and it was a hit with my boy and his friends.  

Other sweet variations:


             with strawberry cookie top                                                 with coffee flavoured cookie top  


My son is ordering a peanut cookie top for his sports day next weekend.    



p.s.  The bun has nothing to do with real pineapple save for the criss-cross indentation on some of them which resembles the pineapple skin. 


ehanner's picture

I am trying to understand the process of the shaping and forming on this. So you roll out the bread dough between wax paper and drop an amount of cookie dough in the middle. Then pull the edges up and seal the package. I'm assuming you bake seam side down. When I look at the cross section crumb image I see an aerated bread like crumb. That is the cookie expanded inside?

I haven't ever seen anything quite like this and would like to understand so I can give it a try.


Shiao-Ping's picture

Floyd's melon bread is clearer (but you've got it now.)  Shiao-Ping

Floydm's picture

Yum, those look delicious. 

I tried making melon bread a couple of years ago from a recipe someone else posted here.  I should try this one soon.  My kids loved them.

Shiao-Ping's picture

It shows the shaping process a lot clearer than mine.  Hey, if you mix in some choc. chips with the cookie dough, you'll be a hero to your kids!


ehanner's picture

I had it backwards. The cookie dough is on the outside. That makes more sense now.


SylviaH's picture

 Shiao-Ping!  Another wonderful recipe!  Thank you!


PiperBaker's picture

Thanks for the idea--this looks great.  My 2-year old daughter loves bread of any kind, and is all about helping out.  I'd bet she would love to help shape the bread dough and roll the pastry dough.  I'll definitely have to try this one in the near future. 

Shiao-Ping's picture

Make sure you put the cookie dough into the fridge for at least 30 min to an hour, or it will be really hard to handle.  And, if your weather is very hot, it's best to leave all 12 cookie doughs in the fridge and bring them out one by one as you shape it together with the bread dough (which can be left out).

salma's picture

Looks like a very interesting recipe Shiao-Ping.  Thanks for clearing up the making process Eric and Floyd.  Might try it this week.  I dont know how custard filling might stay put in there but I might try some fig or strawberry jam.