Friday, October 17, 2008

Hong Kong Style Polo Buns

Posted by Quinn at Friday, October 17, 2008

These Polo Bun/Por Lor Yau/Pineapple Bun are what I initially made in accordance with World Bread Day. However, I chose to use the tri-col0ured bread as my post instead of this. Let me clarify first of all, I'm not from Hong Kong but I do love these buns a lot when I was in Hong Kong for a holiday trip and secondly, these buns have no pineapple in it. The name is derived from its appearance (check out the criss cross pattern).

I've used the recipe here which I've nicely translated it to English for you all with important tips and points to note.

This is the bread dough placed in a greased pot and covered with a damp cloth, left to prove in a warm ambience.

That's the polo pastry, the crispy crumbs on top.

The picture above is after being eggwashed and criss-crossed. The first picture above is how it looked like after proving.

You could do criss cross like that too if you like but do not cut in too hard like me. Lightly will do.

The buns ready to be baked.

The pattern is visible but not really touchable.... Hmmmm, probably I cut in too hard. I think the only hard part about making the bun is when you need to assemble th polo pastry with the brad dough. I didn't encounter that sorta problem because I've done that numerous times :) If you look at the original site where I got the recipe, you will notice one need to expand the polo pastry and have it cover at least 3/4 of the bread dough.

It's like wrapping a filling into a bun but you don't do it all the way. Or like wrapping mooncake filling with the skin to get even skin (Picture 9 to Picture 13). Just click on the link leading to original recipe and you'll understand what I mean. It's really not as hard as it seems. And the original recipe posted comes with lots of step-by-step photos.

Recipe translated: This recipe yield 4 large polo buns

For bread dough:

150 bread flour
1 tbsp milk powder
30g white sugar (I use 2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tbsp beaten egg
1 tsp instant yeast
70g water
1 tbsp (15g) butter

I do not have a breadmaker so I mixed all the above except for buter and knead for about 5mins. I then add in the butter and knead for about 15mins to form a smooth dough. I did not add in any extra water. It was very very very (yes, I stress here, very very very!) sticky even after adding in the butter but as you keep kneading, it will form a smooth, non-sticky dough. Here, a plastic spatula really helps in scrapping the dough off the table and back into the dough again and again. Lotsa of banging and throwing of the dough probably helps as well.

Upon getting a smooth dough, prove it, covered until 2.5 times its original size. I prove it for an hour or so.

While the bread dough is raising, make the polo pastry.

For polo pastry:

30g butter
25g icing sugar (I ran out of this and substituted with white sugar)
1 tsp milk powder
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp beaten egg
50g plain flour

Beat the butter until light and fluffy and gradually add in the sugar, salt and milk powder. For me, I beat until all sugar dissolves.
Add in the tablespoon of egg and have everything bind together.
Lastly, fold in the plain flour and do not overmix. It's alright if it is sticky and you could add in a little extra plain flour (just a little).
Divide into 4 portions and chill it in the fridge fo 30mins.

I did not add in any extra flour and used a plastic spatula to have everything come together nicely. I then weigh it and chill it in the fridge until ready to use. I need to stress this again, a plastic spatula really helps!

By now, the bread dough should be ready. Check the bread dough to see if it pass the finger tip test (use a finger and press into the dough surface. If the indentation made stays, then it's done. If it springs back then it's not ready yet and prove longer).

Once ready, punch out all the gas within the bread dough and knead lightly. Weigh into 4 portions and roll into rounds. Let it rest for 15mins.

After 15mins, remove the chilled polo pastry from the fridge and roll into perfect rounds.

Now, assemble them together. Expand the polo pastry by applying gently even pressure so that it covers more than 3/4 of the dough. Twisting and turning the dough helps in covering it evenly too.

Add 1 tsp of milk into previous leftover egg mixture and use this as egg wash. Brush onto the 4 buns.

With a sharp knife, gently draw criss cross/chequered patterns onto each bun.

Prove it again until 2.5 times its original size. (I did this by leaving the tray in the oven, door closed for 1 hour).

Bake at a preheated oven : 180°C for 15mins or until golden brown.

And the end product. (Mine's obviously not brown enough yet plus I am too stingy with the egg wash!)

Nevertheless, these were good and definitely a keeper. Ver soft and fluffy right our of the oven. Upon cooling or reheating it in the microwave, it sorta got toughen up a little and didn't taste as good. If I'm gonna keep it until tomorrow, I'll probably reheat it in a preheated oven at 160°C for about 7 mins.

I like mine plain or probably with a square of butter. That's the original way and how it's supposed to be.

That's the end of this post. I do hope you all will try it and like it just as much as I did.


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