Melon Pan is a Japanese sweet bread with a thin cookie crust on top. It is one of the most popular Kashi Pan (sweet bread) in Japan, loved by the young and the old.
Melon Pan was created about 50 years ago in Kobe by a bread baker. Originally Melon Pan was football-shaped rather than round. Because the bread was shaped similarly to the melons commonly eaten at that time, it was named Melon Pan. Today, Melon Pan is more typically a round shape with the signature look of grid line indentations. The flavor usually has nothing to do with the name, but more recently some bread makers try to add a melon flavoring or even fruit itself to the dough. You can add melon extract to the cookie dough if you can find it (never found in the US). We added lemon zest and vanilla extract here, and that gives a nice sweet smell.
There are a lot of sweet breads at Japanese bakeries, which are on almost every corner in cities. Many breads have been influenced by French or other European pastries. Living in Southern California, it is hard not to notice that the Mexican bread “Concha” has an awfully similar look to Melon Pan. There is a possibility that Concha may have got to Japan somehow and inspired Melon Pan, you never know. However it started, it evolved on its own in Japan in many directions, adding flavorings mentioned above or other ingredients like cocoa and chocolate chips. Some have an extra crunchy cookie surface or a soft moist top, you can find whatever you like.
Melon Pan is time consuming to make at home (a lot of waiting), but not difficult. It may be a little tricky to handle yeast bread for beginners, but don’t be discouraged! Watch our Japanese Basic Bread Recipe, and you will know what to do. And fresh home-made Melon Pan is as good as or sometimes better than those at bakeries, so it’s worth the effort, we promise!
- 75g butter, room temperature
- 60g sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 200g cake flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, grated
- 1 recipe of bread dough from Japanese Basic Bread
- Add butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer and mix for 2 minutes. Add egg and mix, and then add cake flour, vanilla and lemon zest. Mix well. Form the cookie dough into a log and chill for 30 minutes.
- After finishing step 4 in Japanese Basic Bread Recipe (making 8 small dough balls and letting rest for 15 minutes)
- Cut the chilled cookie log into 8 pieces, and roll out into 5" (12cm) flat rounds. Then cover the bread dough balls with the cookie dough rounds. Roll the cookie surface in sugar, and score with a knife in a grid pattern. Place on the baking sheet with parchment paper and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
- Bake at 400F for 9-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.