Thursday, 13 August 2009

"Pineapple" buns aka Bor Lor Bau

Going through a chinese baking phase so that my food gets eaten, but these de-lovelies I found were in want of a touch more sugar I think. Will adjust for next time. However, as a first attempt, the parentals were very pleased at the reduced sugar content.

A bit of background before I get into this, Bor Lor Bau's are a staple of chinese bakeries. They are called "pineapple" (bor-lor) buns (bau) because they have the funky pattern that look like pineapple. Occasionally you will see recipes with a tiny touch of crushed pineapple in the mix, but I suspect that may have been the result of a rogue trade descriptions officer. This particular recipe was extracted from a newspaper recipe my new sort-of-cousins-in-law supplied. The triple rise was also a helpful hint from their dad.

As for most chinese cakes, I have little clue why the ingredients are as they are. I mean, milk powder, custard powder and 1 piddly teaspoon of carnation milk?? What do these things DO?? By the way, the carnation milk was just that. I think it was evaporated but I could be wrong. The recipe in chinese just reads carnation. Mother dearest said her mate had said it would help prolong the life of the buns, like adding preservatives. One should not reason why, but appreciate the fact that the other recipe called for ammonium bicarbonate which I have no idea where to buy.

All in all, a worth bake. Officially by the way the recipe makes 16, but I made 10 giant ones. Don't be fooled - what fits innocently in the hand expands rapidly in the oven...

Bread buns:
1lb strong white flour
4oz sugar
1 egg
2 tsp yeast
2 oz butter
2tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp milk powder
8fluid oz warm water

1. Mix all but the final ingredient together
2. Add water slowly. 6oz cold water can be used if desired but will give a slower rise. Not sure why the yeast isn't prepped with warm water first but this is the recipe I got.
3. Form a dough and knead for a good ten minutes till elastic and dough like (just looks sticky before you do)
4. Cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours till doubled. Slow rise = tender, fast heat rise = tougher. Your call.
5. Beat down and leave to rise again (not usually called for in recipes but again, tender tender).
6. Form into buns and leave on greaseproof (these days I use parchment paper as the stuff has never failed me yet)
7. Brush with water and leave to rise.
8. Brush with egg wash and place crumb coating on top.
9. Score crumb coating and brush with egg wash.
10. Bake for 15-20 minutes at Gas Mark 5.

Crumb coating:
100g plain flour
45g sugar
55g butter
2tsp milk powder
1tsp carnation milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg yolk
yellow food colouring
vanilla extract

1. Cream sugar and butter
2. Add all the damp products
3. Add all the dry ingredients
4. Form into dough and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes
5. Roll out into little rounds - bear in mind this is just crumble, accept that it rips and tears and makes a mess. Don't work it too much or you'll end up with... dough.
6. Make enough rounds as you have rising buns.

1 comment:

pink-kimono said...

Used six ounces of sugar in the bread and it's a bit closer to what I want. I think a touch more should perfect it. Will try 7oz of sugar next time.

Notes to future bakers
1. Do not rise overnight, the recipe does not lend itself well and smells strongly of fermented yeast. Not a deal breaker but still.
2. Do put the crumb layer on after buns have risen otherwise it splits and you end up with bald bits of bun.