The Japanese call it melonpan, Mexicans have a version called concha, and the Chinese have bo lo bao which translates to pineapple bun. They’re all sweet breads with a crumbly topping of sugar, butter, and flour. Contrary to their names, there are no melons, seashells (concha) or pineapples used in the making of these breads. The names simply refer to the decorative designs that are formed with the sweet toppings.
All I’ve got to say is great recipe but not one that you want to make by hand because this dough is very wet and sticky. I definitely recommend using a stand mixer for this or things could get really messy.
Ammonium bicarbonate is used in the food industry as an raising agent for flat baked goods, such as cookies and crackers, and in China in steamed buns and Chinese almond cookies. It was commonly used in the home before modern day baking powder was made available. In China it is called edible or food-grade “smelly powder”. Many baking cookbooks (especially from Scandinavian countries) may still refer to it as hartshorn or hornsalt (e.g., NO: “hjortetakksalt”, “salt of hart’s horn”) In many cases it may be substituted with baking soda or baking powder or a combination of both, depending on the recipe composition and leavening requirements.Compared to baking soda or potash, hartshorn has the advantage of producing more gas for the same amount of agent, and of not leaving any salty or soapy taste in the finished product, as it completely decomposes into water and gaseous products that evaporate during baking. It cannot be used for moist, bulky baked goods however, such as normal bread or cakes, since some ammonia will be trapped inside and will cause an unpleasant taste.
Ammonium bicarbonate, also called food-grade or edible baker’s ammonia, can be easily found in many Asian supermarkets. Here’s a photo of the packaging so you have an idea of what to look for when shopping: