It's actually bread, but it's sort of a bread coated in a biscuit-y crust. Are you following?
Yep, sometimes Japanese food is a little strange, but Melon Pan is a favourite of many Japanese food lovers. Some of you might not have heard of it, but it really is breaking into the UK and you can find it at some city bakeries now too.
Melon pan sounds like a strange concept, being a bun and biscuit fusion, but it's very delicious and we recommend it be served with a nice matcha latte!
The Melon pan recipe starts with a basic dough, but since the bread dough is wrapped in biscuit dough, it's a bit tricky and perhaps the sort of challenge you might see on The Great Japanese Bakeoff. However, don't fear, we're here to walk you through the entire process and make it totally stress-free. Masterful Japanese baking is at your fingertips.
For the Bread Dough
1 3/4 cups of Self Raising Flour
2 Tbsp Dehydrated Milk Powder
1 Tsp Dried Yeast
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Cool Water
1 Beaten Egg
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
25g Softened Butter
For the Cookie Dough
1 1/3 cups of Self Raising Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
60g Softened Butter
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Caster Sugar for Dusting
We will start by making the bread dough. Place the powdered milk, flour, yeast and salt in a bowl or ideally an electric freestanding mixer. Whisk these ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and water until quite smooth. Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients, and use a kneading hook on your mixer (or a spoon and then your hands!) to combine the ingredients into a dough. Knead until the dough is moderately firm.
Now you can knead the tablespoon of sugar into the dough. Knead well to ensure even distribution.
Add the softened butter into your mixer and knead that into the dough too. If you are using hands this will be messy work, so make sure the butter is in the middle of the dough! Mix / Knead well to combine.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place somewhere warm, or set your oven to about 30/40 C and place the dough bowl inside and leave to rise.
It should take one hour to rise by about half.
Whilst the dough rises we're going to make the cookie dough. Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and lump-free.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mix then stir until just combined as a dough.
Roll this dough into a cylinder, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 mins.
Once the bread dough has risen, remove from the bowl, flatten and divide into buns. These can be as big or as small as you wish!
Take the cookie dough cylinder from the fridge and slice into the same number of portions.
Now flatten a piece of cookie dough to about 1/4 inch of thickness, then place a bun of bread dough in the centre. Wrap the cookie dough around the bun and ensure there are no openings.
Do this to every bun, then roll in sugar.
Take a knife and make the traditional criss-cross pattern across the dough lightly.
Place the melon pan on a tray, cover with cling film and leave to rise again, and meanwhile, you can heat the oven to 180c.
When risen slightly, cook the melon pan for 15-20 mins until golden brown.