These traditional melon buns from Japan are eaten by the millions every year!
A melonpan (meronpan, also known as melon pan, melon bun or melon bread) is a type of sweet bun from Japan. Similar versions of the buns are also popular in Taiwan, China and Latin America. They are made from an enriched dough that is coated in a thin layer of crisp cookie dough. Whilst they resemble a rock melon, they are not normally melon flavored, although in more recent times it has become popular for bakeries to add some melon to melon bread. Among the many variations that exist, you may find;
- some with a few chocolate chips between the cookie layer and the enriched dough layer
- some non-melon versions flavored with caramel, maple syrup, chocolate, or other flavors, sometimes with syrup, whipped or flavored cream, or custard as a filling.
- In the case of such variations, the baker might drop the word melon or may keep it despite the lack of melon flavor, as in “chocolate melon pan”.
The name has a bilingual etymology, since melon is a loan word from English, while pan is from the Portuguese word for bread. In parts of the Kinki, Chagoku and Shikoku regions a variation with a radiating line pattern is called “sunrise”, and many residents of these regions call even the cross-hatched melon pan “sunrise”.
The Melon pan and the pineapple bun from Hong Kong are very similar.
- The Japanese style is lighter in weight and taste, slightly dryer and has a firmer outer layer (including top cookie crust) which resists flaking. Its Hong Kong counterpart should be treated with care as the top cookie crust tends to flake easily.
- The Hong Kong version is also moister and is generally soft on the outside and inside and has a stronger butter flavour.
Japanese food culture is based on rice, but there are also have many different types of bread, such as;
- An-pan – sweet bean paste in the bread
- 100g of flour
- 30g of butter
- 2 Tablespoon of caster sugar or frozen snow sugar
- 1/2 of egg
- a pinch of vanilla-oil or lemon oil if you like
To Make Cookie Dough
- Place butter in a bowl (room temperature)
- Add sugar and mix well until it became smooth (whitish color)
- Add half of the beaten egg, mix well, and add the remaining egg and mix again.
- Shift the flour in a bawl and mix it with spatura.
- Place the dough on a plastic film. Make cylinder shape and place in a fridge for about 30 minutes.
- 150g of Bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon of fat-free milk powder
- 2 Tablespoons of egg
- 1 teaspoon of dry yeast
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 55cc of warm water
- 30g of butter
- a pinch of salt
Make bread dough
- Place the bread dough ingredients in a cup for 10 minutes.Place bread flour, egg, milk powder in a bawl and add mix well.
- Add the butter and salt in a same bowl and mix it until it combine together.
- Place the dough on a big plate, knead and stretching until the dough become smooth, coherent and pliable. (The dough is sticky at first but it’s become stiff)
- When you have a nice smooth dough ball, put into a ball, cover with plastic film and let rise for about 30 minutes. (The best temperature is about 40 degree C)
- Take out the dough, pinch down, and divide into 4 pieces with scraper. Roll each piece into a ball, let rest for 10 minutes under a damp kitchen towel.
- Take out the cookie dough and flatten out each piece into a thin round with plastic film. Place the bread dough in the center and turn it upside down.
- Cover the bread dough with the cookie dough.
- Put sugar on the surface and make some slit.
- Cover with wet clothe and leave them in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
- Prepare the oven to 180 degree C and bake them for 10 minutes first (to make the cookie dough crispy), then 160 degree C for 12 minutes after.