Melon Pan メロンパン

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  • Learn how to make Melon Pan, a classic Japanese sweet bread covered in a thin layer of crisp biscuit/ cookie crust with grid line pattern on top.

    Melon Pan on a rack.

    Do you think about the foods that you used to enjoy in your childhood and still long for them once in a while?  Kashi pan (菓子パン) or Japanese sweet bread has a special spot in my heart, especially my favorite Anpan (あんパン) and these Melon Pan (メロンパン).

    Living abroad, there are not too many Japanese bakeries that sell freshly baked kashi pan; therefore I had to learn to make them mself.  Today I’ll show you how to make Melon Pan with both the hand kneading method as well as the stand mixer method.  Are you ready?  You’ll soon be able to make these freshly baked Melon Pan in your own kitchen!

    Watch How To Make Melon Pan【Hand Kneading】

    Watch on YouTube

    Watch How To Make Melon Pan【Stand Mixer】

    Melon Pan is a classic Japanese Kashi Pan, I’ll show you how to make this delightful treat either by hand kneading or with a stand mixer.

    What is Melon Pan?

    Melon Pan is sweet bread covered in a thin layer of crisp biscuit/cookie crust with grid line pattern on top.  The Japanese word for bread is “pan (パン)”, which came from the Portuguese word for bread.  Now why is it called “melon“?

    Does it taste like melon?  No, traditionally the bread does NOT include melon flavor or the fruit itself.  Then why is it called Melon Pan if there is no melon flavor?

    There are a few different theories for the origin of Melon Pan’s name (still no conclusive theory even today).

    Some say that the original melon pan was invented during the Meiji Era.  The bread resembled an oriental melon (マクワウリ) with the parallel lines on the crust, and was filled with sweet white bean paste (shiro-an) inside.  During that time, the oriental melon was sold as “melon” so they started to call this “Melon Pan”.

    Melon Pan on a plate.

    By Sanjo (Own Photo (Own work)) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    In Taisho Era, the similar round bread with biscuit/cookie crust was introduced to western and southern western Japan (Osaka and Hiroshima area), and they named it “Sunrise (サンライズ)” bread.   Later on, this round Sunrise bread started to be sold as Melon Pan throughout Japan, as the appearance resembles a muskmelon, which was (and still is) highly prized fruit.

    Today, if you visit the Kansai area, the football shape bread you see above with white bean paste filling is what they call Melon Pan.  They still refer to the round bread with biscuit crust Sunrise bread (while it’s known as melon pan everywhere else).  Our local Andersen bakery that started in Hiroshima also calls their Melon Pan “Sunrise”.  In Shikoku Island, Melon Pan is called “Koppepan (コッペパン)”.

    Other theories on the origin of the name says the word “melon” comes from “meringue (メリンゲ)”, which is placed on top of the bread dough before being baked.  Maybe we’ll find out the Melon Pan’s origin one day.  Who knew Melon Pan is quite mysterious bread?!

    Melon Pan on a plate and a bottle of milk.

    Variations of Melon Pan

    There are some Melon Pans that include chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or even matcha, and some bakeries put custard (cream) inside the bun.

    In recent years, a lot of bakeries started to add real pureed melon or melon syrup (from either real melon or the green melon syrup we use for shaved ice) in the dough to add “melon” flavors or color.  However, for today’s recipe I made my Melon Pan with classic ingredients.

    Melon Pan on a wire rack.

    There’s no doubt kneading the dough in a stand mixer is much easier and faster.  But I want to encourage everyone to make bread with your hands once in a while even though you have a stand mixer.

    It does require more time and effort, but when I knead dough with my hands I feel it’s different.  The difference in taste might be too subtle to recognize but maybe there’s that extra special ingredient … called love 🙂

    To be completely honest the hand kneading method and stand mixer method both tasted the same to our family.  Perhaps it’s because I am not an expert baker.  I will say using the stand mixer was much easier and requires a lot less manual work compared to hand kneading.  Let me know if you do try both method and tastes the difference.

    Bread Similar to Melon Pan in the World

    • Pineapple Bun – Hong Kong, Taiwan, China (We buy this bread from a Chinese bakery and it’s delicious!  The biscuit/cookie crust is not as crispy or firm as Melon Pan, so it flakes very easily.  Pineapple buns are softer and fluffier than Melon Pan.)
    • Soboro Bread – Korea
    • Rotiboy (Mexican coffee bun) – Malaysia
    • Conchas (Mexican sweet bread) – Mexico

    Does your country have similar bread like Melon Pan?

    Melon Pan on a wire rack.

    I hope you will enjoy making this Melon Pan recipe!  If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook.  Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch with me on FacebookGoogle+, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates.

    4.37 from 11 votes
    Melon Pan (メロンパン) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com
    Melon Pan
    Prep Time
    3 hrs
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    3 hrs 15 mins
     
    Course: Breakfast, Snack
    Servings: 10 Melon Pans
    Ingredients
    Main Dough
    • 225 g bread flour (225 g = 1 ¾ cup) (extra for sprinkling)
    • 25 g cake flour (25 g = scant ¼ cup) (No cake flour? See Notes)
    • 3 g kosher salt (3 g = 1 tsp)
    • 40 g sugar (40 g= 3 Tbsp)
    • 4 g instant dry yeast (4 g = 1 ¼ tsp) (See Notes if you use active dry yeast)
    • 1 large egg (1 egg = 46-50g/ml) (beaten)
    • 50 ml whole milk (50 ml = 3 ½ Tbsp) (keep at 86F/30C) (See Notes)
    • 50 ml water (50 ml = 3 ½ Tbsp) (keep at 86F/30C)
    • 35 g unsalted butter (35 g = 2 ½ Tbsp) (cut into small cubes and at room temp)
    Biscuit Dough
    • 60 g unsalted butter (60 g = about 4 Tbsp) (at room temp)
    • 100 g sugar (100 g = ½ cup)
    • 1 large egg (1 egg = 46-50g/ml) (beaten)
    • 200 g cake flour (200 g = 1 ½ cup + 2 Tbsp) (No cake flour? See Notes)
    • 2 g baking powder (2 g = ½ tsp)
    Toppings
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Melon Pan Ingredients
    HAND KNEADING
    1. In a large bowl, combine 225 g (1 ¾ cup) bread flour, 25 g (scant ¼ cup) cake flour, 40 g (3 Tbsp) granulated sugar, and 3 g (1 tsp) kosher salt.
      Melon Pan 1
    2. Add 4 g (1 tsp) instant dry yeast and 1 large beaten egg to the bowl with dry ingredients.
      Melon Pan 2
    3. Add 50 ml (3 ½ Tbsp) milk and 50 ml (3 ½ Tbsp) water, both at 86F (30C). Using a silicon spatula or your fingertips, gently mix the ingredients together until they are combined.
      Melon Pan 3
    4. In the beginning, dough is very sticky and wet, but keep mixing until it forms a loose, sticky ball. Also use the dough to pick up the flour on the sides of the mixing bowl. This step should take about 2 minutes. Transfer the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface.
      Melon Pan 4
    5. Press the heels of your hands into the dough, pushing forward slightly. Fold the top half of the dough in half back toward you. Then rock forward on the lower part of your palm to press it flat.
      Melon Pan 5
    6. Turn the dough slightly (to clockwise), fold it in half, and rock into it again with lower part of your palm. This process is called "punching" the dough and the goal is to lengthen and stretch the gluten strands in the dough. Repeat for 5 minutes or so. Tip: If the dough doesn't seem to be losing its stickiness, sprinkle more flour over the top and work it into the dough. You can lightly dust your hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking too much.
      Melon Pan 6
    7. After “punching” for 5 minutes and the dough gets more elastic, press and stretch the dough, about 10 inches (25 cm). Then put small cubes of 35 g (2 ½ Tbsp) unsalted butter on top of the dough. Roll up the dough tucking the butter in, and then continue the kneading process.
      Melon Pan 7
    8. Your hands, dough, and the work surface will get oily and messy in the beginning. Don't’ be panic. I recommend using a metal/silicone dough scraper to collect the dough stuck on the work surface once in a while and keep kneading.
      Melon Pan 8
    9. As you knead, the dough will absorb the butter and it will eventually become very smooth and easier to work with. Finally, start banging the dough onto the work surface and fold it over away from you. This helps develop gluten (elasticity). Bang the dough, turn it 90 degree, and “punch” it, using the lower part of your palm. Continue this process for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth, supple, and silky. Tip: Don’t let go of the dough when you are banging onto the work surface and don’t let it rest for too long between turns.
      Melon Pan 9
    STAND MIXER
    1. In a stand mixer bowl, combine 225 g (1 ¾ cup) bread flour, 25 g (scant ¼ cup) cake flour, 40 g (3 Tbsp) granulated sugar, 3 g (1 tsp) kosher salt, and 4 g (1 tsp) instant dry yeast. Whisk all together.
      Melon Pan 10
    2. Set your mixer with a dough hook attachment.
      Melon Pan 11
    3. Add 1 large beaten egg and 50 ml (3 ½ Tbsp) milk and 50 ml (3 ½ Tbsp) water, both which have been kept at 86F (30C), to the bowl with dry ingredients.
      Melon Pan 12
    4. Start kneading on low speed (speed 2). Use a silicon spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl a couple of times.
      Melon Pan 13
    5. Continue to knead until it clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl.
      Melon Pan 14
    6. Once dough starts to come together, add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until butter has been incorporated. Then increase speed to medium and knead until dough is silky, smooth and elastic.
      Melon Pan 15
    HAND KNEADING & STAND MIXER
    1. When the dough gets silky and smooth, pull the end of your dough with your thumb and fingers. Keep spreading the dough with your fingers, stretching the dough into thin translucent membrane. This test is called Windowpane Test to see if the dough's gluten has been developed enough. If the dough tears, the gluten isn’t quite ready yet. Knead the dough for another 2 minutes and test again.
      Melon Pan 16
    2. Shape the dough into a ball by pulling all sides of the ball to the bottom and pinching them together. Place the dough in a bowl (the seam on the bottom).
      Melon Pan 17
    3. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. I use a Proof setting (100F / 38C) in my oven.
      Melon Pan 18
    HAND KNEADING
    1. In a large bowl, add 60 g (About 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter and mix with the silicone spatula until it becomes smooth.
      Melon Pan 19
    2. Add 100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar and mix with the silicone spatula until they blend well together.
      Melon Pan 20
    3. Slowly add very small amount of 1 large beaten egg (46-50 g/ml) into the bowl and blend well together before you add another small amount of the egg. Continue until all the egg is well blended.
      Melon Pan 21
    4. Sift 200 g (1 ½ cup + 2 Tbsp) cake flour and 2 g (½ tsp) baking powder into the mixture.
      Melon Pan 22
    5. Using the silicone spatula, mix well until the dough is not floury. Collect the dough and make into a ball.
      Melon Pan 23
    STAND MIXER
    1. In a clean stand mixer bowl, add 60 g (About 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter and 100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar.
      Melon Pan 24
    2. Mix until well blended and smooth.
      Melon Pan 25
    3. Slowly add very small amount of 1 large beaten egg (46-50 g/ml) into the bowl and blend well together before you add another small amount of the egg. Continue until all the egg is well blended.
      Melon Pan 25-b
    4. Sift 200 g (1 ½ cup + 2 Tbsp) cake flour and 2 g (½ tsp) baking powder to the mixture.
      Melon Pan 26
    5. Mix until it’s incorporated and the dough is not floury. Then take out the dough and form into a ball.
      Melon Pan 27
    HAND KNEADING & STAND MIXER
    1. Measure the weight of the biscuit dough. It should be around 400-410 g. Remember the weight as you’ll need it later (to measure 1/10 of the dough).
      Melon Pan 28
    2. Roughly cut the dough into 10 pieces.
      Melon Pan 29
    3. Starting from the big piece, measure the weight again till it weighs 1/10 of the total weight (in my case, 40-41 g). If it’s heavier, pinch off the dough and add the extra dough to a smaller dough, by stuffing the extra into the inside of the smaller dough.
      Melon Pan 30
    4. Roll the 10 pieces of biscuit dough into 10 balls. Place them on a baking sheet lined with silicone baking mat or baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until it hardens a bit.
      Melon Pan 31
    = MAIN DOUGH =
    1. Once the dough has doubled in size, dust your index finger with flour and put it in the center of the dough. If the hole doesn’t close, then the dough is ready for next step.
      Melon Pan 32
    2. Remove the dough with silicone dough scraper and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Press the dough with your hands to release gas in the dough and deflate.
      Melon Pan 33
    3. Fold the dough in thirds and then fold in thirds again. Flip to keep the seam side on the bottom. Shape the dough into a ball. To close the seam line, rotate the dough (clockwise) with both hands while the seam line is touching the work surface.
      Melon Pan 34
    4. Measure the weight of the main dough. It should be around 460-470 g. Remember the weight as you’ll need it later (to measure 1/10 of the dough).
      Melon Pan 35
    5. Using a dough scraper, roughly cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Starting from the big piece, measure the weight again till it weighs 1/10 of the total weight (in my case, 46-47 g).
      Melon Pan 36
    6. If it’s heavier, pinch off the dough from the center and add the extra dough to a smaller dough, by stuffing the extra into the inside of the smaller dough. Knead to combine well. Shape each dough piece into a nice round ball, pulling from all the sides and tuck into the bottom. Place the dough on your left (right) palm, and rotate it with your right (left) hand, keeping the seam side on the bottom.
      Melon Pan 37
    7. Put the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Cover the dough with plastic wrap (I use a portable cupcake holder lid) to prevent from drying. Rest the dough for 15 minutes at the room temperature.
      Melon Pan 38
    = BISCUIT DOUGH =
    1. Put the Biscuit Dough on the lightly floured work surface and flatten the dough with your hand.
      Melon Pan 39
    2. Using a rolling pin, roll out into 4 inch (10-12 cm) flat rounds. Continue the rest until the main dough is ready.
      Melon Pan 40
    = SHAPING & BAKING =
    1. After 15 minute of resting, flatten the main dough with your hand and fold in thirds.
      Melon Pan 41
    2. Then fold in thirds one more time and pinch both ends to shape the dough into a ball.
      Melon Pan 42
    3. Pull the dough from all sides towards the seam on the bottom. Place the dough on your left (right) palm, and rotate it with your right (left) hand a few times, keeping the seam side on the bottom.
      Melon Pan 43
    4. Place the Biscuit Dough on your palm and put the Main Dough in the middle, seam side facing up.
      Melon Pan 44
    5. Then flip to show the Biscuit Dough on top. Gently pull all sides of the Biscuit Dough wrapping around the Main Dough.
      Melon Pan 45
    6. Coat the Biscuit Dough with granulated sugar (2 Tbsp) and remove the excess sugar. Then using a dough scraper or knife, gently score the Biscuit Dough into crisscross pattern (I score 3 lines each side).
      Melon Pan 46
    7. Place the dough on the baking sheet, seam side on the bottom. Cover the dough with plastic wrap to prevent from drying.
      Melon Pan 47
    8. Let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough rises one and a half (1.5 x) in size, about 50 minutes (I used the Proof setting (100F / 38C) in my oven).
      Melon Pan 48
    9. When the dough has risen half way, preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Note: If you are using the oven for proof, you have to transfer the dough to a warmer place so you can preheat the oven.
    10. Bake at for 13-15 minutes. Toward the end of baking if you see the bread is not being browning evenly, rotate the bread once so that the bread gets even color.
      Melon Pan 49
    11. Once bread is baked, transfer to a wire rack and let it cool. Keep in an airtight container or bag after it’s been cooled. Enjoy!
      Melon Pan 50
    Recipe Notes

    Prep Time includes resting time for dough.

    Cake flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour and corn starch. Here’s how.

    1 cup AP flour - 2 Tbsp. AP flour + 2 Tbsp. cornstarch = 1 cup cake flour

    Be sure to sift the flour to distribute the cornstarch well before using it in your cake batter.

    Instant Dry Yeast: If you're using active dry yeast, it requires being activated in a little bit of warm water (110F/43C) before being added to the rest of the ingredients. In this recipe, add the active dry yeast in 110F/43C milk, hotter than the temperature specified in the recipe because if the milk is not hot enough, the yeast won't dissolve nicely. More about the difference between instant dry yeast and active dry yeast, read here.

    Whole milk: I highly recommend using whole milk instead of reduced fat milk, but it's up to you.

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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