Those of you who know Japan will surely know melon pan! Melon pan, available in all convenience stores across Japan, is a kind of sweet bread bun. Melon pan is made from an enriched dough covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough… and it’s gooooood! They’re called ‘melon pan’ not because of a melon flavour, but because they are supposed to resemble cantaloupe melons in appearance. Traditional melon pan is just a bread bun, but you can also buy flavoured melon pan and melon pan filled with fillings such as cream, chocolate or red beans.
I never dreamed I could make my own melon pan, but then I came across this recipe on the Sushi Sushi website: How to Make Melon Pan. They made it sound easy enough, so I thought I’d give it a go! On your marks, get set… BAKE!
Melon Pan (メロンパン)
Ingredients for Bread Dough
- 1 3/4 cups (230g) self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp dehydrated milk powder
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (80ml) cool water
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 25g softened butter
Ingredients for Cookie Dough
- 1 1/3 cups (185g) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 60g softened butter
- 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- caster sugar for dusting
First make the bread dough. Place the powdered milk, flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and water until smooth.
Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients, and combine the ingredients into a dough.
Knead until the dough is moderately firm. Knead the tablespoon of sugar into the dough. Knead well to ensure even distribution.
Knead the softened butter into the dough. Knead well to combine. This is messy work!
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place somewhere warm, or set your oven to about 30/40 C and place the dough bowl inside and leave to rise. It should take one hour to rise by about half. (I don’t think my dough rose enough, but I left it more than an hour.)
Whilst the dough is rising, make the cookie dough. Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and lump free.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mix then stir until just combined as a dough.
Roll the dough into a cylinder, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 mins.
Once the bread dough has risen, remove from the bowl, flatten and divide into buns. These can be as big or as small as you wish! (I made 8 and they were a decent size.)
Take the cookie dough cylinder from the fridge and slice into the same number of portions.
Now flatten a piece of cookie dough to about 1/4 inch of thickness. Place a bun of bread dough in the centre. Wrap the cookie dough around the bun and ensure there is no openings. Do this to every bun, then roll in sugar.
Take a knife and make the traditional criss-cross pattern across the dough lightly.
Place the melon pan on a tray, cover with cling film and leave to rise again. Meanwhile you can heat the oven to 180 C.
When risen slightly, bake the melon pan for 15-20 mins until golden brown.
There you have it – home-made melon pan! They’re not as good as the real thing, and I think they could do without the vanilla, but they’re still pretty yummy! I’m feeling quite proud of my first attempt at bread making! I think Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would be proud!
I’ll be back in February with a new recipe! If you have any suggestions, or perhaps you would like me to try one of your recipes from a book or website, please leave a comment below or get in touch! All the recipes I try on this blog have some connection to Japan and, because I don’t eat meat, they need to be vegetarian or pescetarian. I’m particularly interested in helping to promote Japanese recipe books, so do let me know if you have one I might like!