Saturday, 9 January 2016


I discovered melon-pan (literally melon bread) when I was in university after the Hubby introduced me to an anime called Yakitate! Japan.  It's all about bread and I loved it.  I'm a bit of an obsessive when it comes to Japanese culture and food is something that fascinates me.  (I really want to try some more Japanese sweet baking at some point).  Melon-pan is something that has popped up a number of times but until Yakitate! I didn't really understand what it was.  Put simply, it is a bread roll encased in a layer of sweet cookie dough.  The 'melon' part actually comes from the way it looks rather than tasting like melons.  That said, it is possible to get melon flavoured melon-pan.

Going back to this made me marvel at how much the Internet has changed in just a few years.  Once I finally knew what melon-pan was, I was determined to try it!  I scoured the Internet for a recipe that was in English (or could be translated reasonably well) and eventually found one.  The result was interesting.  Quite complicated and I distinctly remember the cookie dough being runny.  You dipped the bread in it.  It was weird (and also made it hard to get the melon pattern).  I don't think the bread cooked brilliantly but they were okay and the combination of the bread and the cookie dough is quite delicious.  Fast forward to now, when I was struck with nostalgia for melon-pan.  I no longer had my original recipe so had to find a new one.  My goodness there were loads!  No trawling like the first time.  The one I ended up going for is from Mari Nameshida's blog.  I have her cookbook and I like her stuff.  This recipe was really simple, though I made a couple of changes since I don't have dried milk powder.

The final result was lovely.  Not too sweet and the two parts went together nicely.  The bread was actually properly cooked, as was the cookie dough.  I wish I had been able to slice the top properly.  My pattern isn't very noticeable.  I also probably could have done with keeping them in the oven a little longer so the colour was a bit darker on top.  Ah well.  Will be making these again as the Hubby ate most of them before I had a chance.

Recipe - adapted from Mari's Tokyo Kitchen
Makes 4

  • 70ml/fl.oz scalded milk, allowed to cool so it is just warm
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 150g/oz strong white flour
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • Pinch of salt
Cookie dough:
  • 100g/3.5oz plain flour
  • 30g/1oz butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Start with the bread dough.  Combine the scalded milk, instant yeast and sugar together in a cup and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, egg and yeasted milk until combined.  (Make sure you get all the sugar out the milk cup).
  3. Add the butter and salt and mix until it forms a sticky dough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a plate.  Stretch the dough away from yourself and then fold over on itself.  Give the plate a quarter turn and repeat.  Keep doing this for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and less sticky.
  5. Shape into a smooth ball, cover with with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes in a warm place).
  6. Meanwhile make the cookie dough.  Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until it is smooth and pale.
  7. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  8. Fold in the flour until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
  9. Shape the dough into a cylinder and wrap in clingfilm.  Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  10. Once the bread dough has risen, take it out and give another knead in the same manner as before to knock the air out.  
  11. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll each into a ball.  Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for about 20 minutes (until noticeably bigger).
  12. Cover a tray with greaseproof paper.
  13. When dough has risen once more, remove the cookie dough from the fridge and divide into four.
  14. Place a piece between two pieces of clingfilm and roll out into a thin round.  Place one of the bread rolls in the middle of the cookie dough, upside down, and then wrap the cookie dough around the bread.  Place right side up on the prepared tray.  Repeat for the other 3 rolls.
  15. Use a sharp knife or dough slicer to draw a cross-hatch slit pattern in the top of the cookie dough and sprinkle each roll with sugar.
  16. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ĔC/375°F/Gas Mark 4.
  17. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 2 and bake for another 15 minutes or so.
  18. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.

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