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 a 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 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. That's 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

How to Make Handmade Melon Pan

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


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 decoration)

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

2) Making the Melon Pan Biscuit Dough

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

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

3) Preparing the Melon Pan 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 remaining 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 to push and knead 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 the butter. 2-3 minutes of kneading by machine will be enough to proceed to the next step.

4) Resting the Bread Dough

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

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 (each should be 65-66g).

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 let it rest for an additional 15 minutes at room temperature.

6) Kneading and Shaping the Biscuit Dough

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

Knead it well until it becomes smooth and slightly stretchy. Shape each piece into a 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.

Dip 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.

7) Resting the Melon Pan

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

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

8) Baking the Melon Pan

Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160°C (320°F) and bake for another 5 minutes until done!

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

Notes about storing melon pan: Melon pan tastes best when eaten fresh. If you can’t consume them all at once, you can freeze the leftovers in a freezer bag for 2-3 weeks. Reheat them by microwaving for 30-50 seconds or popping them into your toaster oven for a minute or two to crisp up.

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