Posted on 19 Comments

Pai Bao (Hong Kong Sweet Bread)

Pai Bao

I’ve baked and tried many types of sweet soft breads, but I think I have finally found my absolute favorite one and it is called Pai Bao.

It is soft as a cloud, sweet, and shreds like a string cheese. Unbelievable 😉

Thank you Christine for this amazing recipe.


Sourdough starter



  • 370g bread flour
  • 70g sourdough starter
  • 200g milk
  • 65g sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12g dry milk powder
  • 30g sweetened condensed milk
  • 8g salt
  • 40g soft unsalted butter
  • 1g of instant dry yeast (optional)

Shiny glaze 

  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs water


Day 1


  • 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let it sit at a room temp 74-78F for about 8-10 hours until starter reaches its peak (at least triples in volume).
  • Learn how to make starter from scratch here).


Tangzhong is a method of mixing bread flour and milk over medium heat. This process helps to gelatinize the starch. Which provides super soft texture to the bread.

  • Mix flour and milk in sauce pan , cook it over medium heat, continue mixing until thick paste will be formed. Cover and let cool down before use in the dough.

Day 2


  • 8 am in a bowl of mixer add milk,  sourdough starter, tangzhong, dry instant yeast (if using), sugar, dry milk powder, egg yolk, condensed milk and whisk all together. Add flour, mix until no dry flour remains.
  • Start mixing the dough on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 minutes, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Add salt and mix for a couple more minutes. The dough should start to form a ball.
  • Add soft butter, mix for 10-15 more minutes on high speed until the dough is well incorporated and comes up together and the mixing bowl will become clean.
  • Cover and let it proof for 3-4 hours at 76-80F/ 24-28C.
  • During that time perform 2 stretches and folds.
  • The dough should become puffy.
  • 11-12pm transfer the dough to the fridge for cold fermentation until the evening (for 8-9 hours).
  • 9 pm remove the dough from the fridge.
  • Divide in to 16 pieces (about 55g each).
  • Round each piece in a ball, let rest covered 5-7 min.
  • Then roll each ball into a strip and roll each strip into a tight roll (I used a 9×5 inch pan so the length of each dough roll was 5 inches to fit into the pan).
  • Place the rolls into the loaf pan tightly, like shown on the picture.
  • Cover the dough and let it proof for overnight ( for 8-9 hours) at 70-72F /20-22C  until it doubles in volume.

Day 3

  • 7am preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Bake pai bao bread for 15 min, lower temperature to 350F, bake for another 12-14 min until golden brown.
  • While bread is baking prepare shiny glaze, by mixing 1 tbs of honey and 1 tbs of water.
  • Remove bread from the oven, spread the shiny glaze on top of the bread while it is still hot.

Let your Pai Bao cool down and enjoy!

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Pai Bao (Hong Kong Sweet Bread)
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19 thoughts on “Pai Bao (Hong Kong Sweet Bread)

  1. I noticed from photo that ingredients have egg but you didn’t write egg ?

    1. Sorry, forgot!
      You will need 1 yolk

  2. Do I add egg yolk when mixing in liquid ?

    1. Yes ☺️

  3. Can I substitute sweet condesed milk with honey?

    1. I haven’t try with honey, but i think it should be delicious 😋

    2. I feel like you failed to mention how sticky the dough is, unless my bread flour is not strong enough. But I have baked this bread 4 times already because it is delicious by the way, but it is very sticky. When I added more flour the first time, the dough wasn’t as soft. So I followed the recipe to the letter and the dough is sticky.

  4. Can I make this with yeast … instead of starter .. how can I modify the recipe for that?

    1. Hi!
      Use 1% of yeast from total amount of flour.

  5. Can we substitute the yoke, my family is vegetarian

    1. Hi!
      You can substitute yolk with any fruit purée

  6. Hello, could I omit the milk powder?


    1. Hi!
      Yes, you can

  7. What happens if you don’t use the yeast?

    1. It still be delicious with slight hint of sourness.

  8. This pai bao is a fabulous bread. Love the Crumb! I read somewhere that u prefer not making recipes printable to help environment and I support that. In an effort to make your recipes easily without a printed copy could u add the function that will keep a recipe lite up without phone going dark? Sorry but I can’t remember what it’s called. I love your blog and each recipe of yours I’ve made has been great. Any chance u could add cinnamon rolls?

    1. Thank you so much for suggestion! Will work on it 🙏

  9. If I shape it as a pan loaf, do you think it’ll keep its form nicely? or it’s too soft? Thank you

  10. What can I use instead of milk powder? Can I use more condensed milk?
    Also made your cinnamon rolls- Amazing!
    Thank you

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