Pork Sung Buns

These Pork Sung Buns (also known as Pork Floss Buns or Rou Song Bao) ignited quite a few rounds of debates and do-overs. Kitchen debates are ongoing events at our house. We seldom agree on a meal or a dish, and someone is always bound to have a word or two about this or that. I think I’m probably the biggest complainer (about that…you won’t get any arguments from the family!).

This recipe is no exception, and the question we kept coming back to was whether or not to employ a certain ingredient––mayonnaise. A traditional Pork Sung Bun is made with a milk bread base, and a thin layer of mayonnaise is spread on top. That’s what allows the pork sung (basically a mild form of shredded pork jerky) to adhere to the top of the bun.

One of my concerns was that mayonnaise is made with oil and eggs, requiring it to be kept refrigerated in order to stay fresh. I even asked a baker at a local Chinese bakery about the use of mayonnaise, and how long the pork sung buns were allowed to sit out in the bakery case. He explained that they were usually sold quickly, and that he expected people to “eat them right away” anyway.

After some research and poking around, I found a Chinese recipe that offers the best of both worlds: the mayonnaise is no longer raw after baking, and the addition of scallions makes the bun ultra-savory. We also decided to integrate the pork sung throughout the bun with a special folding method, rather than having it all sit on top. I think this modified version is definitely a step up from the original.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

A few remarks before we begin: While making our milk bread recipe––which is also used in many of our Chinese bakery bun recipes––a large handful of people found that the dough was too sticky and needed extra flour. I want to let everyone know that I do tap the measuring cup when measuring flour to avoid air pockets. It’s also the case that the more damp or humid the climate, the more flour you’ll likely need. If it’s too dry, on the other hand, you can add an extra tablespoon of milk.

Pork Sun Buns: Recipe Instructions

For this recipe, you’ll need store-bought pork sung, or pork floss, pictured below.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt (add everything to the mixer in that order). Using the dough hook attachment, turn on the mixer to “stir.” Let it go for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to push the dough together.

Don’t Have Cake Flour or Bread Flour?

Feel free to substitute all-purpose flour for both! We have since extensively re-tested this recipe, and have not found that using 100% all-purpose flour in this recipe makes a meaningful difference to the result.

After 15 minutes, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough will grow to 1.5X its original size. Check out our original milk bread recipe for photos of this process!

After the hour of proofing, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes to get rid of air bubbles. Dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a dry cloth while assembling the buns.

Take each piece of dough and roll it out into a rough 4×6″ rectangle.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise onto the dough…

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

And then sprinkle with pork sung and chopped scallion.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Roll it up lengthwise into a tight cigar shape.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Cut the cigar in half lengthwise, with about an inch on one end still attached, so that the piece of dough almost looks like a pair of pants.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Twist the dough together, with the cut sides facing up, and tuck the ends underneath the bun.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the process until all the buns are assembled.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Cover the buns with a clean, dry kitchen towel, and allow to rise for another hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Before baking, brush each bun with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com
Pork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, by thewoksoflife.com

Bake for 13 – 15 minutes, until golden brown. After baking, remove the buns from the oven and immediately brush each bun lightly with simple syrup. This is what gives these pork sung buns their signature shine!

Pork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.com
Pork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.com
Pork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.comPork Sung Buns, A Chinese Bakery Recipe, by thewoksoflife.com

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