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    How to Make Handmade Melon Pan-Japanese Taste

    How to Make Handmade Melon Pan

    by Ayako Kidokoro

    Bread Freezer-friendly Breakfast Popular Vegetarian

    “Melon Pan” is a classic sweetbread and a very popular treat among all generations in Japan.

    It is quite simple bread that features a mix of a thin crispy cookie-like biscuit and fluffy bread, and the round shape of it makes everyone smile.

    Even though it is called “Melon Pan”, it usually does not taste like melon. Instead, its appearance resembles a melon. In particular, it looks like musk melon, a luxurious and high-class Japanese fruit.

    People are obsessed with melon pan and there is even a Melon Pan Festival in Tokyo. There are even bakeries that specialize in making only Melon Pan, a Melon pan character, and even a song about Melon Pan! It truly is a must-try treat when you come to Japan!

    There are several theories on how Japanese people started eating Melon Pan. The most famous story is about an Armenian Baker working at the Emperor Hotel, who started baking a mixture of galette and Russian bread in 1910. Another famous theory is about a bakery in Kobe, which created a sweet bread in the shape of the Sunrise. It is why some bakeries in Western Japan call Melon Pan “Sunrise Pan”. If you want to learn more about melon pan, check out our article on Japanese breads.

    Maybe now you’ve become curious about melon pan and want to try it out for yourself. We will introduce a classic and traditional melon pan recipe that you can easily make at home. We will be making our recipe by hand, but you can of course use a stand mixer to make the process faster if you have one. We’ll also share some tips along the way to guarantee your success in the kitchen.

    The aroma of freshly baked Melon Pan will make your family’s and friends’ mouths water and will have them wanting to devour them immediately. We hope you'll enjoy our recipe!


    Prep time: 40 mins

    Cook time: 1hr 20mins

    Total time: 2hrs 0mins

    Total servings: 6

    Difficulty: Medium

    • 30g Unsalted Butter (for the cookie biscuit dough)
    • 55g Sugar (for the cookie biscuit dough)
    • 25g Beaten Egg (for the cookie biscuit dough)
    • 95g All-Purpose Flour (for the cookie biscuit dough)
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (for the cookie biscuit dough)
    • 160g Bread Flour (for the bread dough)
    • 40g All Purpose Flour (for the bread dough)
    • 4g Instant Dry Yeast (for the bread dough)
    • 30g Sugar (for the bread dough)
    • 26g Beaten Egg (for the bread dough)
    • 105-115ml Milk (for the bread dough)
    • 2g Salt (for the bread dough)
    • 30g Unsalted Butter (for the bread dough)
    • Sugar (for decoration)

    Expert's Tip

    Nisshin Violet Special Flour for Tempura and Confectionery 1kg

    This All-Purpose Flour works perfectly to create a fluffy texture for bread and a crisp texture for biscuits. It can also be used when making butter cake, sponge cake, cookies, and even for frying foods like tempura or karaage. This is a must-have item at home. 


    Picture 1: Ingredients for the biscuit dough picture 2: Ingredients for the bread dough and the decoration
    1) Gathering the Ingredients

    Gather all the ingredients together and bring them to room temperature. 

    (Picture 1: Ingredients for the biscuit dough, Picture 2: Ingredients for the bread dough and the decoration)

    Tip: Using bread flour and all-purpose flour to make the texture of melon pan soft and fluffy, but feel free to use only all-purpose flour.

    Mixing the butter and sugar together Adding in the flour Combining the flour into the dough Placing the dough onto plastic wrap Ready to place the cookie biscuit dough into the refrigerator
    2) Making the Biscuit Dough

    Place your room temperature, softened butter and sugar into a large bowl and whisk them together until creamy. Add in the beaten egg and vanilla essence and mix well to combine. 

    Sift the flour into the dough and lightly mix the dough with a spatula. Mix until the flour is evenly combined into the dough. Be careful not to overmix the dough. 

    Adding the bread ingredients to the bowl Mixing the dough together Adding the butter Kneading the dough Stretching the dough to see the gluten development
    3) Preparing the Bread Dough

    In a large bowl, add half of the bread flour, all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast, and sugar. Add the beaten egg to the opposite side of the bowl from where the yeast is. Pour the milk directly on top of the yeast. (See the first picture for reference.) Mix the dough thoroughly with a spatula until it becomes smooth. 

    Once smooth, add in the rest of the bread flour, salt, and butter. Then continue mixing the dough. When the dough is no longer powdery, transfer it to a clean work surface. Use the palms of your hands and push and kneed the dough. (See the fourth picture for reference.) 

    This dough is quite sticky, but once the butter has fully absorbed into the dough, it will eventually become very smooth. (It can take up to 10 minutes to reach this point.) 

    When the dough is smooth, stretch it out to see if the gluten has developed enough. If you don’t know how to check, basically the dough should not tear when stretched. (See the fifth picture for reference.)

    Tip: Pouring the egg over the yeast will prevent it from dissolving properly into the dough, so please be sure to add the egg on the opposite side of the yeast.

    Note: If you are using a stand mixer, add flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and egg directly into the bowl. Then, turn the machine onto a low speed and stream the milk in very slowly. After about 1.5 minutes of kneading, add in butter. 2-3 minutes of kneading by machine will be enough to proceed to the next step.  

    Resting the Bread Dough
    4) Resting the Bread Dough

    Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place the dough in a warm place (40°C (104°F) for 25-35 minutes) until the dough has doubled in size.

    Dough with poked hole Punched dough to release the gas Cutting the dough and measuring the size Rolling each piece of dough into a smooth ball Resting the 6 dough balls under saran wrap
    5) Cutting and Shaping the Bread Dough

    After the bread dough has rested, dust your index finger with flour and poke the center of the dough. (See the first picture for reference.) If the hole does not spring back, the dough is ready. 

    Punch the dough to release the built-up gas that was created while it was resting. (See the second picture for reference.)

    Remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a work surface. Measure the weight of the dough (it should be around 390-400g) and cut the dough with a dough scraper into 6 equal pieces (they should be 65-66g each.)

    Knead each piece nicely and shape them into evenly round and smooth balls. (See the fourth picture for reference.)

    Cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest it for an additional 15 minutes at room temperature. 

    Stretching out the cookie biscuit dough Shaping each piece of the cookie discuit dough Adding the bread dough inside of the cookie biscuit dough Dipping the top of the melon pan into sugar Using a dough scraper to carve lines into the melon pan to give it a melon shape
    6) Kneading and Shaping the Biscuit Dough

    Roll the cookie biscuit dough out and cut it into 6 pieces.

    Knead it well until it gets smooth and becomes a little stretchy. Shape each piece into round circle and then flatten them with a dough scraper. (Each piece should be around 10cm wide.)

    After 15 minutes of resting, roll out the bread dough again and shape it into rounds. 

    Place the cookie biscuit dough onto the bread dough. Repeat this process with all 6 pieces. 

    Place the top of the now-formed melon pan into a bowl of granulated sugar. Hold the bottom side of the biscuit dough to spread the sugar around evenly. 

    Using a dough scraper or knife, score the biscuit dough surface diagonally, in a 3 by 3 pattern to give the bread its melon appeal.

    Note: Making the cookie biscuit dough can be a bit tricky. It is important to knead, smooth, and stretch out the biscuit dough before shaping it to avoid cracks while baking.

    Resting the melon pan
    7) Resting the Melon Pan

    Place the shaped melon pan onto a baking sheet and cover it in plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm place (40°C (104°F) for 20-25 minutes). 

    In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F).

    Baked Melon Pan
    8) Baking the Melon Pan

    Bake at 180°C (356°F) for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160°C (320°F) and bake another 5 minutes and it's done!

    Tip: You’ll know your melon pan are fully baked when the color of the bread bottom should be light brown. If the bottom of the bread is still white, bake it for another 1-2 minutes.

    Notes about storing melon pan: Melon pan tastes like heaven when you eat it freshly made. If you can’t consume them all at once, you can also freeze the leftovers in a freezer bag for 2-3 weeks and reheat them by heating them in the microwave for 30-50 seconds. You can also pop them into your toaster oven for a minute or two to allow them to crisp up. 

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