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Melon Pan

by ammr (follow)
Bread (238)      Japan (2)     
If you're feeling adventurous, try this recipe. Melon pan (also called melon bun, or melon bread) is a type of Japanese sweet bread. It doesn't really have any melon flavor in it, the name actually comes from how the bread looks like. Variety exists now, with some recipes actually incorporating melon while some use chocolate chips. Essentially, it is a soft bun, covered with crunchy cookie dough.

Preparation Time: 120 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 8 buns

Cookie dough
75g butter, soften
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bread dough
1/2 cup 1 tbsp milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/3 cups bread flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
15g butter, soften
1 tsp active dry yeast

Prepare the cookie dough. In a large bowl, whisk the butter until smooth and creamy, then mix in the sugar. Whisk again until pale and creamy.

Add beaten egg little by little and mix well. Add vanilla extract and whisk again.

Sift in the flour and baking powder gradually, mixing until just combined. It will be very sticky and is unable to handle at the moment. Stop whisking once everything has come together.

Tilt dough into a cling film. Using the cling film, roll the dough into a log and then wrap it. Refrigerate.

Meanwhile, prepare the bread dough. Warm milk in microwave for 10-15 seconds, or until lukewarm. Add yeast, stir and leave aside.

In a large bowl, place bread flour, sugar and salt. Give them a mix.

Add milk and yeast mixture and then egg. Bring everything together into a dough.

Tilt the dough out into floured work surface, and knead for about 2 minutes. At this stage, dough would be hard and slightly dry.

Flatten the dough, and add soften butter. Fold the dough into itself, encasing the butter.

Knead the dough to incorporate butter. The dough will separate and looks messy, but do not despair. Keep on kneading for 5-10 minutes. The dough will come together again into a smooth lump.

Once smooth surface achieved, and the dough is no longer sticking to surface, place into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to proof for 45 minutes.

Prepare some caster sugar in a bowl for dipping.

Tilt bread dough out onto work surface. Divide into 8 equal pieces (cut dough in half, then half again until you get 8 pieces).

Work with each piece individually. Knead slightly for 1 minute, and form a ball. Place aside.

Take out cookie dough from refrigerator. Cut into 8 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball. Place ball in between two plastic sheets (use opened up ziploc bag), and flatten into round disc using a heavy based pan, or your hand.

Carefully remove from plastic sheet and place on top bread dough ball. Stretch the sides so it covers the entire bread dough.

Pick up a ball. Pinching the base, dip the cookie part of the ball into caster sugar. Place back onto tray.

Score the top in a diamond pattern. Leave to proof for another 40 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170c for 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Best served warm.

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