Matcha Pineapple Buns with Red Bean Filling – Recipe

Pineapple buns? Melon pan? Pretty much the same thing: both are a soft, fluffy and buttery roll covered in a crunchy biscuit-like pastry. In other words, the stuff of breakfast dreams.

While 'pineapple bun' is the Chinese name and 'melon pan' is the Japanese name, they don't originally feature any pineapple or melon at all: the names only reflect the pattern of the pastry-coated surface of the bun. Nowadays modern bakeries might make actual pineapple or melon-flavoured versions (not unheard of), but the classic flavour is just butter.

I used a similar tangzhong method to the milk bread loaf I made recently, only I just used milk to make it lighter this time instead of using cream.

Need a visual? Check out my at-a-glance 'making of' YouTube video:

Ready? Let's go.

(Makes four buns.)

Ingredients for Tangzhong:

12g bread flour
50ml milk

Rest of Bread Ingredients:

65ml milk
5g yeast (fresh or dry active)
1 tsp caster sugar
200g bread flour
1 tbsp matcha
30g more caster sugar
15g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 a beaten egg (save the other half)

Ingredients for Crust:

50g plain flour
1 tsp matcha
30g unsalted butter, softened
30g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp beaten egg


100g red bean pastem divided into 4 portions

Sugar Dip:

100g caster sugar, stirred with 1 tsp matcha in a bowl


1. First make the tangzhong: in a nonstick pan, gradually whisk the milk into the flour so there are no lumps. Switch the heat on to a medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and tip onto a plate, covering with clingfilm to cool completely.

2. Warm the other portion of the milk together in a small pan until just a little warm, then pour over the 1 tsp sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir to combine, and leave for a few minutes until bubbling.

3. Now add the rest of the bread ingredients, plus the cooled tangzhong and the yeast mixture, into a large bowl, and stir to combine. Tip out onto a work surface and knead for about ten minutes, so the dough becomes smooth and springs back when you try to stretch it.

4. Pop the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover. Let it proof until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how warm your room is).

5. Punch the dough back down and divide it into four portions. Cover and let rest for another 15 minutes.

6. To make the crust pastry, simply stir all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth dough. Divide into four, roll them up into balls, and then roll them out into flat, thin circles (I do this between two sheets of baking paper to stop them from sticking).

7. Flatten out each bread dough ball slightly, pop a portion of red bean paste into the centre of each, and pinch shut to make balls again.

8. Place a disc of pastry on top of each ball and roll around in your hands so it sticks. firmly to the dough. Using a butter knife or dough scraper, score a diamond pattern into the pastry.

9. Line a baking tray with nonstick baking parchment. Dip each bun pastry-side down into the matcha sugar, and place pastry-side up on the baking sheet. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and bake your buns for 15 minutes. Cool before eating.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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