If you have enjoyed the Mexican Pan Dulce, then you most certainly will like Japanese Melon Pan. This similar bread is not only popular in Latin America and Japan, but also in Taiwan and China where in Hong Kong it is know as a pineapple bun. A simple enriched yeast roll around which is wrapped a slightly sweet cookie topping cross-hatched with a sharp knife, resembling a halved mango scored in a diamond shape and turned inside out. Mini-chocolate chips can be added to the yeast roll dough as a variation and/or the cookie dough can be flavored with citrus zest or colored with a matcha powder for a traditional Japanese green tea flavor. The bread is best enjoyed the day it is made, but is still delicious warmed next day. When I make these again, I will make smaller bite size rolls as they are quite filling. This video is very helpful in learning how to prepare and shape the dough and cookie topping.
This unique and delicious bread is the monthly challenge for our We Knead to Bake group on Facebook chosen by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, our lovely and talented admin and an inveterate baker of all breads, sweet and savory.
Melon Pan-Japanese Melon Bread
A Bread a Day and other sources
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (25 grams), room temperature
1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional
1-1/3 all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, (60 grams)
1/4 to 1/3 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
Bread Dough Preparation
Whisk together the flour, nonfat dry milk powder, yeast and salt in a bowl of choice, whether mixing by hand or machine. In a smaller bowl, beat together the egg and water. Add to the flour mixture. Knead (on low speed in a machine) until it all comes together as a dough. Then knead (medium speed) until you have a mildly stiff dough. Add the sugar and knead well.
Add the butter and knead, first at low speed, then on medium speed, until the butter is completely incorporated into the dough and is smooth and elastic. The dough should be well-kneaded to develop the gluten. Shape the dough into a round and place it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about an hour or so. While the dough is rising, make the cookie dough.
Cookie Doug Preparation
In a bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and lemon or orange zest. Beat on low speed until just combined.
On a sheet of plastic wrap, shape the cookie dough into a log. Refrigerate until needed to complete the dough preparation.
Once the bread dough has doubled, remove to a lightly floured work surface. Line a baking sheet with parchment or alternatively, lightly grease the baking sheet. Deflate the dough and divide into eight equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the other pieces covered, so they don’t dry out. Unwrap the cookie dough and slice into eight equal pieces. Using two sheets of plastic wrap, place one round of cookie dough between the two and using a flat bottomed pan, press down on the dough to flatten until reasonably thin.
Gently place the cookie dough circle over one ball of dough pressing the cookie dough edge to the bread dough ball so that it covers the top and sides of the dough ball, but leaves the bottom open. Holding the cookie dough covered ball of dough, gently press it into some caster sugar. Then using a dough scraper or the dull side of a knife, mark the top of the cookie dough side with a cross hatch/diamond pattern. The cross hatch should be deep enough or it will disappear when the bread dough rises and bakes. Repeat for the remaining seven dough balls.
Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Let rise for about an hour. Bake at 350°F (180C) for about 25 minutes or until the tops begin turning brown. Avoid over-browning or the underside of the bread will burn. Transfer to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
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