555. Coconut Buns/ Chinese Cocktail Buns/ Gai Mei Bao

April 27, 2016mayurisjikoni
Blog post

Cocktail or Cock tail???

We Knead to Bake’s #38 bake for the month of April are Coconut Buns or Chinese Cocktail Buns or Gai Mei Bao. These buns were supposedly created in the 1950s in Hong Kong. The owners of a local bakery were left with unsold buns and instead of throwing them away they decided to ground the buns, added sugar and used it as a filling for new buns. These days left over bread has been replaced by a sweet buttery coconut filling. There are two meaning to the cocktail buns. One is that the exotic mixture of filling deserved the name cocktail much like the cocktails created in bars and pubs. The second is that Gai Mei Bao literally means cock’s(chicken) tail bun. The buns are soft and slightly sweet filled with a buttery sweet coconut filling. These buns are typical Hong Kong style buns. The topping, a mixture of flour, butter and sugar is usually piped, 2 lines, on the buns before baking.
Try out this tasty, delicious buns and a must for coconut lovers. I found that the buns tasted better the next day as the buns were infused with the coconut flavour.





Makes 8
Recipe adapted from : The Woks of Life

For the buns:
2½ cups plain flour(all purpose flour)
1½ tbsp corn starch (corn flour)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp instant dry yeast
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
⅔ cup warm milk

extra flour for dusting
extra butter for greasing

For the filling :
50g (approx 3 tbsp) soft butter
1½ tbsp sugar
1½ tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
⅛ cup (2 tbsp) milk powder
⅓ cup fresh grated coconut

For the topping :
2 tbsp milk
25g (1½ tbsp) soft butter
2 tsp sugar
2tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)

some milk for brushing on top
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

Preparation of the dough for the buns :

  1. Sieve flour, corn flour and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar and yeast. Mix well.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the egg and milk.
  4. Form a dough.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 -15 minutes by hand or 7-10 minutes by machine till it is soft and pliable.
  6. Grease the bowl lightly. Form the dough into a ball.
  7. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover it with a cling film. Place the bowl in a warm place.
  8. Let the dough rise for 1½ hr or till its double in size.
Preparation of the filling :
  1. Cream the butter and sugar lightly.
  2. Add the flour, milk powder and coconut and mix well into a paste.
  3. Divide the paste into 8 parts.
Preparation of the topping :
  1. Cream butter and sugar till its mixed.
  2. Add flour and mix and finally add the milk.
  3. Mix well and keep on the side till required.
Final preparation of the buns :
  1. Divide the risen dough into 8 parts.
  2. Roll the parts into balls.
  3. Roll one part into a small oval shape about 4″X 3″.
  4. Put one part of the filling in the middle of the dough.
  5. Pinch the two long ends together Seal the ends well.
  6. Tuck the ends to form an oval shape.
  7. Place the bun on a greased or parchment lined baking tray with the sealed part under.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 with the remaining dough and filling.
  9. Cover the buns with a tea towel and left them rise for 45 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  11. Brush the buns with milk.
  12. Place the topping mixture into a piping bag or a plastic bag. Snip off the end to form a small hole.
  13. Pipe 2 lines of the topping on each bun. I piped 3 as I had enough topping.
  14. Sprinkle the buns with sesame seeds.
  15. Place the tray in the oven and bake the buns for 20 -25 minutes or till the buns are golden in colour.
  16. Remove the buns from the oven.
  17. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
Tips :
  • You can brush the buns with sugar glaze or honey as soon as they come out of the oven. I didn’t do that as there’s enough sugar in the buns.
  • Next time I will probably make more filling as I found the filling too little.
  • I will also make the buns smaller as they were pretty big.
  • If you don’t get fresh grated coconut, you can use frozen fresh grated coconut.
You may want to check out the following :
leopard patch bread




  • Rafeeda AR

    April 28, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I had to withdraw from the WKTB since I was having a lot of wastage while baking bread… 🙁 And the first challenge happened to be this lovely bread! They sound so buttery and delicious, definitely to be bookmarked to make once the vegan diet ends… 🙂

  • Amrita Roy

    April 28, 2016 at 8:46 am

    I liked the pattern on the Buns…

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 28, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Rafeeda these buns had a brioche like texture I guess because of the egg. Also the filling is delicious, though I would add a bit more next time. You can probably try out half the recipe as my 8 buns too were pretty big.

  • Mayuri Patel

    April 28, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks Amrita.

  • Jolly Homemade Recipes

    May 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I have never tried bread loaf, wanna try but worried it comes perfect or not, but your all recipes of bread are so perfect, wanna try soon bread recipe from your blog

  • Mayuri Patel

    May 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Jolly, try out the simple buns and then progress from there. Its really not that difficult. Once you bake bread at home you will not the ready made ones.

  • Preethi’scuisine

    April 14, 2020 at 7:32 am

    Buns looks so good. I love coconut buns. Thanks for the lovely recipe. Would love to try this recipe soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks Preethi, you’ve reminded me that I haven’t baked these again in a long time.

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