An Pan is a Japanese sweet bread with Anko (sweet red bean paste) inside. It is an old-fashioned kind of bread, and one of the most popular snack breads of all time.
An Pan was created in the late 19th century, and it became tremendously popular right away. Although people in Japan were not familiar with bread back then, they got to like An Pan which is similar to traditional Japanese sweets because of the use of Anko.
Today, there are a lot of sweet breads at Japanese bakeries (which by the way are in every corner in the cities in Japan!), many influenced by French pastries. There are all sorts of breads and fillings, using creams and fruit jams, but An Pan is still the most beloved one. It is sweet, soft, and nostalgic.
An Pan is time consuming to make at home (a lot of waiting) but not hard. And fresh home-made An Pan is as good as or sometimes better than those at bakeries. You can eat them at the best time: not right out of the oven, but when it’s still warm. Yum!
We put black sesame seeds for garnish, but poppy seeds are the traditional decoration for An Pan. If you have them, go ahead and use them. Either way, you’ll have a very tasty treat or two for yourself.
- 200ml milk, lukewarm
- 5g active dry yeast
- 30g sugar
- 240g bread flour
- 60g cake flour
- 5g salt
- 10g dry milk powder
- 30g butter, room temperature
- Anko (half the recipe)
- egg wash: 1 egg plus pinch of salt, mixed well
- black sesame seeds
- Put lukewarm milk, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer bowl, then whisk well. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Combine bread flour and cake flour, and add to the milk mixture. Add salt and milk powder, and start the mixer kneading with a dough hook at medium speed.
- When the dough is becoming a ball (after about 8 minutes), add soft butter and knead for another 4-5 minutes until the butter is completely incorporated. Cover with plastic, and leave in a warm place about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
- Make balls of Anko, each 1.5" (or 4cm) in diameter and about 1 1/4oz (or 35g).
- Take the dough and deflate the gas from the dough. Put on to a cutting board, and cut into 8 equal pieces about 2.5oz (or 70g) each. Form into small balls. Let them rest for 15 minutes covered.
- Flatten a ball of dough with a rolling pin to a 4" (or 10cm) round. Put a ball of Anko in the center of the round, wrap with dough, and pinch the ends of the dough so that the Anko is sealed inside the dough ball. Repeat for remaining dough and Anko.
- Place shaped dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving 2" (or 5cm) space between the balls. Brush egg wash (the mixture of egg with a pinch of salt) on the surface of the dough, and sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top. Leave them to double in size, about 1 hour.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400F(205C) for about 10 minutes until they brown.