Pineapple Bread – FAIL… and finally, Success!


Seeing as how the title of this blog is Pineapple Bread, I knew I had to eventually make an entry dedicated to this wonderfully delicious bread. Known also as 菠蘿包 (pronounced: bwoh lwoh bao) in Taiwan and other Asian countries, this bread actually does not contain any pineapple. Instead, it derives its name from the criss-cross design on its cookie dough exterior that causes it to look somewhat like the pineapple fruit. In Japan, these breads are known as melon pan (with pan being the Japanese word for bread). For that, I have no explanation.

I got this recipe from Angie’s Recipes, and I used her recipe for Japanese Melon Pan. However, I substituted the chocolate she used as a filling with red azuki beans instead. I love love LOVE azuki. Love. I made a few other modifications to the recipe as well in order to convert it properly to the English system of measurement instead of SI units. So I have posted the recipe at the bottom with my version.

(I won’t rant –too much– about this now, but I would just like to say that Americans are stupid and should have converted to using the metric system of measuring things YEARS ago and making everything easier and more universal rather than having to deal with annoying pounds and ounces and figuring out conversions between grams, weight, etc. Bah HUMBUG! End rant.)

Now, I tried this recipe twice. I thought the first batch was too small with only four pieces, so I doubled the recipe to make eight.

But the first time, as you shall see, was… well…

Not so good.

Out of the four of them, the best one looked like this:

Not that it didn’t taste fabulous. Inside, the bread and red bean were sweet and fluffy. My parents just scraped off the burnt portions (like any normal, self-respecting parents who often are forced to eat their daughter’s creations), and these four little buns were gone pretty quickly:

You see, I was in a rush that day and just left the buns in the oven and told my mom to take them out when they were done. Not a good idea. Apparently one second they were fine, and the next second… a burnt mess.

So I tried again!


This time I made sure I had time to be there the entire time.

Lined up, the pineapple bread buns were very cute! I had a difficult time getting the red beans inside the dough, but I think that’s just a matter of practice. And the outer cookie dough was a bit sticky to handle, but an extra layer of sugar on top helped create a barrier between my knife and the sticky dough.

Almost good enough to eat…

And… success!! It looked “normal” this time! The chronic problem of not quite-finished dough inside was there (I’m going to have to bake a bit longer next time and allow the dough to bake a little longer), but it came out beautifully.

Voila! Pineapple Bread!

RECIPE for Pineapple Bread (as adapted from Angie’s Recipes):

Makes 8

—–> Bread

  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • generous 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • approximately 2-4 tbsp azuki beans

—–> Topping

  • 3 3/4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • generous 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • extra sugar for sprinkling


  1. Mix all the dough ingredients (minus butter) until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the butter and knead until it is well incorporated (it might be difficult at first, but keep at it, and it will come together). Cover and let rise for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. For the topping, beat the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and egg and mix well. Sift in the cake flour and baking powder, then divide the mixture into eight portions, wrap tightly, and place to chill in the fridge while the bread portion is rising.
  3. After the bread has risen, punch down the dough to release the gas and divide the dough into eight portions and roll into balls. Allow the dough to rest for approximately 5-10 minutes, and then stuff each piece with the azuki beans (it’s up to you how much you want to put in– I usually put in around one to two teaspoonsful).
  4. Remove the cookie toppings from the fridge and flatten each piece into a disc large enough to cover one bun, and then coat each azuki-stuffed dough piece with the topping. Allow the topping to cover as much of the ball as possible, and then sprinkle the topping liberally with sugar. Note: I usually kept the topping in saran wrap, and then flattened the dough while it was still wrapped because it was inevitably sticky and this made it easier to wrap around the dough balls.
  5. Cut the pineapple crisscross design (or any other design of your choice), and then let the buns rise for 40 minutes at room temperature or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Right before baking, I glazed the top of the buns with an optional egg wash. Bake in a preheated 340 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. If the tops isn’t brown enough for your taste, broil the buns for five minutes on low.



6 Responses to “Pineapple Bread – FAIL… and finally, Success!”

  1. 1 michelle

    is it possible to make this without the filling? i like the ones without a filling, just the bread. if i leave it out, would it effect the outcome??? help? i ate some pineapple bread at 85 degrees celsius in irvine, california and i miss them so much i love love them! damn central valley, we don’t have crap! 😦 i want to move down south. 😦

    • 2 Jeanne

      i LOVE the 85 Cafe in Irvine! I went to it every day the past week, I think, before I moved back up north!!

      It’s definitely possible to make it without the filling. I would recommend making double the batch for the dough, then. Otherwise you’ll end up with barely enough bread for one piece of bread. I haven’t actually tried making it that way before though. if I do, then I’ll do another post for ya. ^_~

  2. 3 writestar1

    thanks for the recipe!
    i will try it this weekend 🙂

  3. Ouuu… gonna have to give this recipe a try.
    Gotta eat it with a nice big slab of butter sandwiched between while the bread is still warm.

  4. Just had this bread today from Bao Bao Bakery in Boston and it was sooo delicious, so I was off looking for a recipe and here I am. Your Pineapple bread looks fantastic, can’t wait to try it out. Thanks~!

    • 6 Jeanne

      Oooh, Antonette– let me know if and when you make it! I kind of want to make it again– it’s been a while. 😀

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