Melon Pan, also known as meronpan, is a delicious Japanese bread/cookie combination. Named after the shape (not taste) of a melon, shown as criss-cross cuts on the cookie layer, this bread is a tasty midmorning snack and would go great with tea or coffee.
My first attempt at Melon Pan turned out rather nicely. I decided to do a simple non-stuffed version, although I did dye the cookie layer green to add a bit of spice. Next time I want to try a filled version, either with custard or Nutella/chocolate chips.
Sadly they all disappeared by the time I got back with my camera…
Some other improvements I would like to make: making the dough a bit more softer (replace some of the water with milk) and sweeter (add a tbsp of honey), cooking them at a lower temperature. I would also make 12 rolls instead of 9, although it might be harder to add filling with the smaller dough size. Adding nuts or fruit to the inside might be worthy to investigate.
Recipe from Wild Yeast:
Yield: 9 2.5-ounce (3-inch-diameter) rolls
- Mix: 30 minutes
- First fermentation: 1.5 hours
- Divide and shape: 10 minutes
- Proof: 1 hour (during this time you also mix the cookie dough and “dress” the rolls)
- Bake: 20 minutes
- Cool: 45 minutes
Ingredients for bread dough:
- 206 g white flour
- 49 g cold water
- 2.5 g (3/4 t.) dry instant yeast
- 3.7 g (5/8 t.) salt
- 80 g egg (about 2 small or 1.5 large)
- 29 g sugar
- 49 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Ingredients for cookie dough:
- 51 g unsalted butter
- 65 g sugar
- 29 g egg
- 1.5 g (3/8 t.) vanilla extract
- 154 g pastry flour (I used Giusto’s organic)
- 3.1 g (3/4 t.) baking powder
- 2 g (1/3 t.) salt
- For bread dough: use a stand mixer. Mix flour, water, yeast, salt, and egg on low speed until just combined.
- Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. The dough has quite a stiff consistency at this point.
- Turn back to low speed and add sugar in two batches. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated. The dough is softer after the addition of the sugar.
- Mix in medium speed about 10 minutes, until dough has reached a medium-high level of gluten development. The dough is soft and sticky.
- Again in low speed, add the butter and mix for a few minutes until it is incorporated.
- Turn to medium speed and mix about 6 minutes, until gluten is quite well developed.
- Transfer the dough to a container and cover tightly.
- Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for about 1.5 hours, until approximately doubled in volume.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 9 pieces of about 43 g each.
- To shape each piece into a ball, place it on an unfloured section of counter and cup your hand lightly over it, with your hand resting on the counter. Move your hand quickly in a tight circular motion until the dough forms a smooth, tight ball.
- Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the sheet with plastic wrap or slip it into a large plastic bag. The rolls will proof for about one hour altogether, or until nearly doubled in volume.
- Meanwhile, make the cookie dough: Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Whisk flour with baking powder and salt, and sir the dry ingredients into the wet ones, mixing until just combined. Divide the dough into 9 balls of about 32 g each, and place them in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 360F.
- After the rolls have proofed for about 50 minutes, roll the cookie dough into 3.5-inch-diameter rounds and drape them over the rolls. The cookie dough encases the top and sides, but not the bottom, of the bread.
- Using a paring knife, score the cookie dough in a diamond pattern.
- Bake at 360F for 18-20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.
- Cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, enjoy with a cup of coffee or green tea.