Melon pan is Japanese sweet bread made to resemble the shape of melon through its crisp cookie crust. It is quite similar to Mexican conchas, Chinese pineapple bun, and Korean soboro bun.
This melon bun traditionally does not contain any melon. But some newer recipes do incorporate melon puree into the dough.
Here I am using pandan as the flavor and the color. If you prefer a more original recipe, feel free to use Japanese matcha powder instead or omit the pandan.
The criss-cross pattern on top is more common for melon pan, but I have seen the parallel lines and turtle shape before. So enjoy making a variety of these at home.
I have a few other bread recipes that you might enjoy:
Melon Pan [Japanese Melon-Shaped Bread]
- 35 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 50 g granulated white sugar
- 30 g lightly beaten egg
- 110 g low protein wheat flour/cake flour
- ¼ tsp pandan paste can be substituted with 1 tsp matcha powder
- 110 g high protein wheat flour/bread flour
- 40 g low protein wheat flour/cake flour
- 18 g granulated white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 80 ml milk warm to 40-50°C or follow your yeast product instruction
- 20 g lightly beaten egg
- 14 g unsalted butter room temperature
- In a medium bowl, whisk butter until creamy. Then whisk in sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Add egg and whisk until well-blended.
- Switch to a silicone spatula and mix in flour until almost combined. Then add pandan and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer onto a cling wrap. Wrap and refrigerate until firm.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Make a well on its center.
- Pour milk and egg into the center. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until all dry is absorbed.
- Transfer dough onto work surface and start kneading with your hands for about 1 minute.
- Wrap the butter into the dough, then continue kneading. It will be messy and oily. But the more we knead, the less sticky it becomes. Add a little flour onto the work surface and the dough if it is easier for you to knead.
- After 10-15 minutes of kneading, the dough will become smooth, elastic and not sticky. Transfer into a bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap. Let it ferment for about 1 hour or until double in size.
- Divide cookie dough evenly into 10 balls. Refrigerate again with a cover until needed.
- After bread dough has doubled in size, release the gas inside by pressing it down. Transfer onto work surface and divide evenly into 10 balls. Cover them with a cling wrap to prevent drying out.
- Press a chilled cookie ball between two pieces of parchment paper to a thickness of about ¼-inch. You can use a dough scraper or anything with a flat side to press.
- Remove the top parchment paper. Take one bread dough and roll again to release any gas. Then place the dough ball onto the center of cookie dough.
- Flip over so the cookie dough is facing up and remove the second parchment paper. Gently press to wrap all sides of dough ball with the cookie dough. The bottom part of dough ball can be left unwrapped.
- Dip the ball into a bowl of granulated sugar (2 tbsp) to coat the cookie dough. Then use a dough scraper or knife to gently score criss-cross or any pattern onto the cookie.
- Place on a baking sheet and cover with a cling wrap. Repeat with the rest. Let them sit and rise until one and a half times bigger.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F or 200°C for 12 to 15 minutes.