I loved polo buns.. I started to like polo buns surprisingly is not in Hong Kong but the cha chang ting (茶餐厅） – a type of Hong Kong fast food type of outlet when I was stationed in Shanghai. Then, I was an expatriate and everyday we have to eat out. Whenever we ate at this type of restaurant, we definitely ordered this polo buns.
It is rather unusual to serve buns in a restaurant that cater for lunch and dinner. It is not for breakfast but a snack beside the main course. The buns are rather small, may be half the size of what i have prepared in this illustration and what attracted most diners was it came with a thick slab of butter. The crispy skin went so well with that thick slab of butter and the soft buns.
Polo bun or pineapple bun is a type of soft, sweet bun commonly found in Asia. The word “Polo” in Mandarin is literally translated to pineapple. In another word, it is supposed to be a soft bun that have skin that resembles the skin of pineapples. The buns were wrapped with a soft cookie dough on top of the buns, when it proved for the second time, the plain dough will start to make the soft cookie liked dough to break and those resembling the skin of a pineapple. Some have used a knife to cut into a pattern of a pineapple skin.
Some of the outlet here did sell this type of bun with char siu fillings but I am rather unsure why it was not sold as such in Singapore but not in Hong Kong.
I have a post earlier but I have decided to rewrite this post. There will not be much a history of background but just recipes. I have change the dough recipe with my potatoes buns recipe . This recipe is definitely soft, and i have prepared it many times. The dough is quite easy to handle for shaping.
In this recipe, I have divided it into 12 buns. However, I found that it is slightly bigger than those sold in the restaurants. Therefore, I will suggest to divide the dough in 18 buns.
As for the butter fillings, it is up to individual. If you are going to serve it with a thick slab of butter, there is no need to have a butter fillings.
Lastly, the buns are best served hot when the cookies dough is still crispy. It will become soften when it is cooled. It is still delicious but lack the crunchiness of the cookie dough. You can re-bake at low temperature to make it crispy again.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare 18 small buns
- 250 grams of bread flour
- 125 grams of mashed potatoes puree
- 80-100 grams of lukewarm water
- 50 grams of white castor sugar
- 30 grams of milk powder (optional)
- 30 grams of butter
- 8 grams of instant yeast
- 1 egg
- Pinches of salt
Cookie dough toppings
- 75 grams of melted butter
- 150 grams of self raising flour
- One medium egg, lightly beaten
- 50 grams of icing sugar
- 30 grams of milk powder
- 8 pieces of 1 cm x 3cm x 0.2 cm cold cut butter (sizes is just for reference and you can just cut the butter in a small piece) – optional if you are serving with a slab of butter
- One egg yolk for egg washing
- Some fine sugar for sprinkling
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Melt the butter in an microwave oven for 1 minute. Add in beaten eggs, sifted icing sugar, milk powder and self raising flours. Mixed well until it form a soft sticky dough and set aside. Divide into 18 pieces and set aside.
- Boil the potatoes until soft. Either use a fork to mash it or transfer the boiled potatoes to a blender, add the about 80 grams of water, blend until as fine as possible . (Note that it is optional to use blender to get the potatoes puree. If your potatoes are very easy to mash, fork mashing will do. As my potatoes is very hard to get cooked, I have resorted to the use of blender to get the puree)
- Transfer the mashed potatoes or puree to a mixing bowl. Add bread flour, eggs, yeast and sugar. Use a spoon to slightly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the dough hook in the machine to beat the dough at medium to low speed (speed 2 in Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, put the butter, change from medium to high speed (speed 4 kin Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid) for about 7 minutes until the dough is smooth and leaves the side of the mixing bowl.
- Take a small piece of dough and lightly stretch the dough. If it can form a thin film of dough without breaking, the kneading is considered as adequate.. This is called windowpane test.
- Transfer the dough out to a lightly flour surface. Shape round and let it proof for about double in size. Cover with a clingy wrap or wet towel during proofing.
- After first proofing, punch the dough, lightly knead for 1-2 minutes and divide into 18 pieces.
- Take one dough, shape round, flatten it, put a piece of butter at the centre of the dough, seal it and shape round again.
- Take a piece of the cookie dough, shape round and pressed it flat .
- Put the dough bowl on top of the cookie dough, turn over and ensure the cookie dough cover all the surface. Use a knife to cut the pattern as shown in the picture and let it prove until 2 times.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- Egg wash the buns and sprinkle generously with the white sugar on top.
- When the buns are double in size, bake in the pre-heated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm with a thick slab of butter.
Eating this bun really bring fond memories on my stay in Shanghai.. It was lunch time but everyone ordered a small bun beside a huge plate of fried noodles.. The attractiveness of this aromatic cookie dough bun plus a thick slab of butter is really an enjoyment that cannot be forgotten.
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