Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MELON PAN ( Japanese bread rolls covered with crunchy cookie dough )

This is a Japanese bread made in the form of buns with a layer of cookie dough covered on top. The bread inside is soft and sweet where as the cookie crust on top is crispy and crunchy. In Japanese language "Pan" means "Bread".
Now we wonder why the bread is named melon pan when there is actually no melon added to it. There are a couple of suggestions to this. One is that the sugar cookie topping is in a crosshatch pattern similar to a Japanese melon wedge which is cut in this manner and bent backwards for serving ( like we sometimes serve mango ). The other suggestion is that the cracked surface of the cookie dough layer resembles a rock melon / cantaloupe .. hence the name.Some Japanese bakers add melon extract to get the melon fragrance in the buns. I have added lemon rind which also enhances the flavour specially when you re-heat them in the microwave for a few seconds before eating. You may also add any other flavouring of your choice in the cookie doughThe bread dough is usually left plain but sometimes people like to add chocolate chips, pastry cream / custard etc etc..
Both the doughs have egg in them which gives a better texture. If you are a vegetarian just substitute the eggs with a tablesppon of yogurt or milk.The bread is not really very difficult to make but I would suggest you see the video link given below to understand the process clearly.

Please see this video before you start making this bread.


For Bread Dough:

All purpose flour .. 1 & 3/4 cups ( little extra for dusting )
Milk powder ....... 2 tbsps
Instant yeast ........ 1 tsp
Salt ..................... 1/2 tsp
Cold water ......... 1/3 cup
Egg .................... 1 (beaten)
Sugar ............... 1 tbsp
Butter ............. 25 gms ( room temparature)

For Cookie Dough

All purpose flour ... 1 & 1/3 cup
Baking powder .... 3/4 tsp
Salt ...... a generous pinch
Butter ..... 60 gms ( room temperature)
Castor sugar ... 1/4 cup
Egg ..... 1
Vanilla extract ... 1/2  tsp
Lemon zest ..... 1 tsp
Granulated sugar needed  for dusting.


We start with the cookie dough.

1. In a large bowl whisk together butter and sugar until creamy.

2. Add the beaten egg and continue whisking to a smooth texture.

3. In a bowl sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder. Spoon this gradually into the bowl whisking with a spatula. Be careful not to over mix.

4. Remove the cookie dough on a plastic sheet shaping like a cylinder. Tie the edges and refrigerate it for one hour.

Now let us make the bread dough.

1. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and milk powder.
2. In a small bowl whisk the egg with cold water and gradually add it to the flour mixing with a whisk or a spatula.

3 Mix well and remove it on a kneading board or plain surface.
4.Knead it well.

5. Roll it and hit it on the board for a few minutes until it is no more sticky. ( you can sprinkle a little flour if needed )

6. Gather the dough with a cookie cutter and knead to a smooth texture.

7. Pat it like a flat bread (roti) and spread the butter on it.

8. Gather the edges and make a bundle and keep kneading until the butter is incorporated in the dough.

9. Make a neat bundle or bun. Place it in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap.

10. Let it sit in a warm place for 40 minutes or until it is risen to double.

11. Dip your index finger in the flour and make a hole in the dough to test it.If the hole disappears then it needs more fermentation.

12. Check the weight of the dough and roll it into a cylindrical shape. Divide it into 5 equal parts.

13. Check the weight of each one to make sure.they are divided equally.

14. Knead into a bun shape and place them on a tray , cover with a plastic wrap and  rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. Make sure to leave enough space between them as they become double the size after resting.

In the meantime ...

1. Take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator and divide into 5 equal parts.

2. Check the weight of each part to make sure they weigh the same.

3. Take each piece of the cookie dough,roll it between your palms to get a smooth texture.

4. Place it in between the plastic sheets. Press with the cookie cutter to flatten it to 3 and 1/2 inches diameter round shapes.

5. Line them in a floured tray.Cover it with a plastic wrap and place the tray in the refrigerator to rest.This will make the cookie dough easier to handle.

6.Now take the rested bread rolls, roll them in between your palms and re-shape them into smooth buns.. Cover them with the cookie dough sheet and adjust the shape. Hold the dough upside down in your hands and seal the edges.. Holding the edges roll the pan in the granulated sugar.

7. Placing it in your palm, make diamond pattern on the surface. Place them on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet (butter paper) leaving enough gap in between them.. Leave them again for fermentation in a warm place for about 30 - 40 minutes. After the second rise the bread pans will be doubled in size. Bake these in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F for 12 - 15 minutes. When it gets slightly brown colour remove from the oven and cool them down on a cooling rack.

Now your melon pan are ready to be served.They taste good when eaten fresh but you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days. Just microwave them for half a minute before eating.

This is the bread # 15 we made for the month of March in the bread baking group  We Knead To Bake started by - Aparna Balasubramanian. 

Recipe  adapted from - A Bread A Day   -

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  1. Perfectly made bread and am yet to try this one

  2. Stepwise pictures rocks, incredible and beautiful looking melon pan.

  3. Your buns look perfect. Loved the step wise photos.

  4. wow this is an interesting bread looks great.The process seems lengthy but I am sure worth it for the taste.

    1. Yes Nayna.. it is a lengthy process no doubt..but at the end of the day it was worth the efforts..

  5. Lovely buns! I might give them a go one day, looks like a great way to relax while baking/kneading ;)

  6. You have an amazing collection of recipes Shobha! Got to try this one!

    1. Thanks Priya.. Your comment makes me really happy.


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