Melonpan Recipe (Japanese Melon-Shaped Bread Covered with Sweet Cookie Dough)

Melonpan are Japanese sweet buns covered with a thin layer of cookie dough. They take many steps to make but freshly-baked Melonpan are scrumptious!

Melonpan (Japanese Melon-Shaped Bread)

How to make melonpan
Course Dessert
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword authentic
Servings 5 pieces
Cook Time 90 minutes Time for chilling cookie dough, fermenting and resting bread dough are not included in cook time.
Translator Get Francis Mug
Bread Dough
  • 140 g Bread Flour
  • 25 g Johakuto or Powdered Sugar see the note below when using regular granulated sugar
  • 1/3 tsp Salt
  • 5 g Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder if dry milk powder is not available, use lukewarm milk instead of the lukewarm water.
  • 3 g Instant Dry Yeast a little less than 1 tsp (3g)
  • 1 tbsp Beaten Eggs
  • 70 ml Lukewarm Water
  • 15 g Butter
  • Bread Flour for dusting
* 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 15 ml, 1 teaspoon (tsp) = 5 ml
* The ingredients contain Amazon affiliate links.

Instructions

Bread Dough and 1st Fermentation
  1. Let's make the bread dough next. Add the sugar, salt, non-fat dry milk powder and instant yeast to the bread flour. Whisk the flour mixture well. Dilute the beaten egg with the warm water. Gradually pour it into the flour and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed.
  2. Clean the spatula with a scraper and place the flour mixture on a pastry board. Gather the crumble flour mixture and form it into a ball. Briefly knead it with your hands.
  3. Throw the dough on the pastry board, fold it away, grab the side of the dough and throw it again. Gather the dough with the scraper. Knead the dough with your hands using your body weight. Repeat this process until the dough is less sticky.
  4. Flatten the dough and spread on the butter. Gather the rim of the dough toward the center and knead in the butter. When the butter is mixed in, gather the dough with the scraper and form a dough ball.
  5. Like shown before, continue to throw the dough on the board. Knead the dough on the board and throw again. Repeat this throwing and rolling process for 10 minutes. The dough is now smooth and glossy.
  6. As shown in the video, shape the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 40 minutes. This conventional oven can keep its inside warm for fermentation.
  7. The dough has now risen by 50% in volume. Remove the plastic wrap. Dip your finger in bread flour and make a hole in the dough. If the hole quickly disappears, the dough needs more fermentation. Measure the dough to get the total weight.
  8. Dust bread flour on the pastry board and put on the dough. Flatten the dough and remove the gas inside. Roll the dough into a long cylinder. Divide the pre-measured dough into 5 even pieces. Make sure they are equal in weight.
  9. Spread the dough toward the other side of the cutting surface. Shape each dough piece into a ball. Make sure the bottom is tightly closed. Line up the dough balls on the cooking tray dusted with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 20 minutes at a room temperature.
2nd Fermentation and Baking
  1. Let's shape the dough into Melonpan. Reshape each bread dough into a ball, cover with the cookie sheet and adjust the shape. Hold the dough upside down and stretch the cookie sheet up to the center.
  2. Pinch the bottom of the bread dough and dip the cookie dough in sugar. Hold the Melonpan on your palm and make a diamond pattern on top with the scraper.
  3. Line up the Melonpan on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  4. Let the Melonpan sit in the warm place for the second fermentation. This conventional oven can keep the inside at 37 °C (99 °F). After 40 minutes of the second rise, the Melonpan are almost doubled in volume.
  5. Let's bake the Melonpan. Preheat the conventional oven at 170°C (338 °F) and bake the Melonpan for about 12 minutes. When each Melonpan gets slightly brown on top, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Cool them down on a cooling rack and they are ready to serve!

Recipe Notes

If johakuto or powdered sugar isn’t available, grind granulated sugar with a blender or food processor. If you don’t have the equipment, you can also use regular granulated sugar but mix until the mixture doesn’t have a grainy texture and it is combined thoroughly. We used johakuto sugar in this recipe. Johakuto is the most commonly used sugar in Japan and has a slightly moist texture.
When making the cookie dough, remove the butter remaining on the balloon whisk thoroughly, and add it to the bowl. This process is important to keep the measurement accurate.
Be sure to bring the egg and butter to room temperature (approx. 20°C/68°F). When you push the butter with your finger, it should be soft enough to form a dent.
The fermentation time depends on its temperature so be careful not to over-rise the dough. You can also let the dough rise in a styrofoam box filled with warm water. In that case, cover the bowl with a plastic bag and make sure the steam won't wet the dough.

This post was last modified on 06/20/2020

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  • The first time I made this recipe it turned out great but on my 2nd and 4th time making the dough, it was too sticky to even knead as it just stuck to my hands instead. I tried to add more flour to help with the stickiness, but it didn't help. I also tried kneading for longer before and after adding the butter but the dough still wasn't as smooth as the picture. What could I have done wrong?

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    • If all the ingredients are measured by weight using a kitchen scale properly and the dough is still too soft, please try the following procedure to make the dough using your hands.🤔

      Make a dent in the center of the flour mixture in a bowl.
      Add a small amount of egg to it.
      Combine the flour mixture with your hands.
      Add some more egg and combine.
      Repeat the process as if you are making the dough larger a little at a time.
      You should be able to get a nice and smooth dough when all the flour is mixed in.
      If the dough seems to become too soft, stop adding the egg.

      Hope you will get a good result next time.😊

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  • Is it possible to prep the dough at night and bake in the morning? At which step should I refrigerate the dough?

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    • This bread recipe will not turn out the way you want it to using a long fermentation method at cold temperature.

      You can store the cookie dough, either a large dough ball or 5 circles in the refrigerator. In the morning, you can shape the cookie dough and bread dough into melonpan.🍈🍞

      Thank you for your question.😊

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  • I'm considering flavoring my melonpan with matcha or fruit powder, how much would you recommend adding? I'm very new to bread making so I want to make sure I don't upset the chemical balance in the dough! ^^

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    • If you're new to bread making, we recommend following the exact steps in the video for the first time. Many things can go wrong in this recipe. If you don't prepare the dough quickly, it will get cold or dry out. Please watch our video several times before cooking so that you can do it smoothly.😊

      If you want to flavor your melonpan, you should probably start with the cookie dough instead of the bread dough. We will check the amount of matcha in the cookie dough and get back to you later.🐩👩‍🍳💓

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      • I will try the matcha in the cookie dough - thanks for the advice! ❤️

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        • You are welcome.😊 Try adding 2 to 3 g (0.07~0.1 oz) of matcha powder to the cookie dough. Sift the matcha, cake flour and baking powder with a mesh strainer before adding it. We haven't used any fruit powder, so we are not sure about the amount. Thank you for trying our melonpan recipe!🐩👩‍🍳💓

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          • Thank you so much for the advice on the matcha powder!! The melonpan turned out great! Until I accidentally stuck my thumb in one while taking them out of the oven, but it was still delicious!

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          • Thank you for sharing the photos!😍 It's very well done and I can't believe this is the first time you've made it.🍈🍞 Chef is saying she wants to try it out.👩‍🍳😋 P.S. I can see a dent made by your thumb.😆👍

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  • Can I substitute the bread flour with all-purpose? Or does it make a difference

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    • You can use all-purpose flour instead of the bread flour. The bread flour contains more gluten or protein than all-purpose flour, and it will help to create a gooey/chewy and moist texture of the bread.🍞😋

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  • So everything went right (I guess) until last fermentation.. it didn’t puff upwards. Just puffed outwards. What did I do wrong? The bread dough didn’t stay a ball when I rounded it out though. Was sort of puddy like.

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    • It looks like the dough is over-fermented. Try reducing the fermentation time or slightly lowering the temperature. If the temperature of the dough is too high or the fermentation time is too long, it will result in over-fermentation.

      For the first photo, you don't see any fine air pockets in the bread. The edge of the finger test hole is sharp compared to the one In the video. (photo attached)

      Thank you for sharing the photos.😊 Hope this will help you make delicious bread.🍞

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    • Sorry the others didn’t upload

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    • Picture after baked

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