Melon Pan

Doesn’t actually contain melon.

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Whenever I visit a Japanese bread shop I always head straight for the melon pan. The sweet, crunchy topping combined with a soft, fluffy bun makes this bread great for kids or people with a sweet tooth (I have a maaassive sweet tooth).

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I first heard about this bread from anime and manga and at first I thought: “Whaaaat? Melon flavoured bread?”. But no, this bread is just shaped like a melon. Although there are many modern variations where people went all “Why not?” and actually flavoured it with melon.

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I’ll stick with the classic plain melon pan thank you very much.

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“Pan” means bread in Japanese by the way.

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I got this recipe from Cooking with Dog, and no, the chef doesn’t use dog meat in the videos. It’s basically a Japanese cooking channel on Youtube narrated by a dog with a suspicious French accent. I really recommend checking them out!

Ingredients (makes 5)

Cookie dough

  • 25g softened unsalted butter
  • 35g sugar
  • 25g beaten egg
  • 80g cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Bread dough

  • 140g bread flour
  • 25g sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 5g non-fat dry milk powder
  • 3g instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg
  • 70ml water
  • 15g softened unsalted butter

Method

Cookie dough

  1. Whisk the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar to butter and beat it until fluffy and pale.
  2. Gradually add the egg to the sugar/butter mixture.
  3. In another bowl, add baking powder to cake flour and sift it.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix. Add the next third. Mix. Then add the last of the dry ingredients. Mix. (Don’t over-mix)
  5. Shape the dough into a cylinder shape in clingfilm. Put in the fridge. Meanwhile, make the bread dough.

Bread dough

  1. Add sugar, salt, milk powder, and yeast to bread flour. Mix well.
  2. Dilute egg with water and gradually add to the dry ingredients. Mix.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball and briefly knead until less sticky.
  4. Flatten dough and knead in butter. Knead for 10 mins until the dough is smooth and glossy.
  5. Cover the dough with clingfilm and let the dough rise for 40 mins, or until roughly doubled in size.
  6. Knock down the dough and divide into 5. Shape the dough into a ball, and place the dough balls onto a lined baking pan. Cover the dough with clingfilm and rest the dough for 20 mins.
  7. Meanwhile, divide the cookie dough into 5 pieces. Flour your hands (doesn’t matter which flour you flour your hands with) and roll the cookie dough into balls. Flatten the dough to make flat discs. Put the cookie dough in the refrigerator.
  8. After the bread dough is done resting, put the cookie dough over the bread dough ball and roll the roll (ahaha) into some sugar.
  9. Using a bench scraper (or any thin thing, really), make a diamond pattern into the cookie dough on the surface of the bread, so it looks like a melon.
  10. Let the dough rest for 40 mins.
  11. Bake at 170°C for 16 mins, or until the bread is slightly browned on top.

Notes

  • This is the melon the bread is supposed to resemble. Yeah I kinda don’t really see it.
  • When dividing the dough, it’s much easier to use a weighing scale so you get evenly sized buns (nobody likes uneven buns).
  • Cooking with Dog said to bake the bread for 12 mins but mine didn’t get any colour on the top until quite some time later, so just keep an eye on your bread. Might also want to try baking at a higher temperature to get a better colour on the top.
  • The recipe can be confusing since it measures the eggs in grams. I found that one large egg was enough for the whole recipe.
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