Every evening, at dinner time, I’d knead up the bread and let it do its first proof in the refrigerator, just so that I can have an hour more sleep. But just as important is that a slow proof-ed bread tends to be softer. I like my breads really soft.

Yesterday night, my son went to bed without dinner as he was very tired. When I unpacked his lunchbox, I realized he did not eat lunch either. He got bored with having the same thing for breakfast and lunch.

So today, I used that kneaded bread made last night to make some of these which are his favorite: Melon Pan as the Japanese call it, or Pineapple bread, as the Chinese (mainly Hongkongers and Taiwanese) would call it.

Contrary to expectation, there’s no pineapple nor melon in there. It is named after its pattern that bakers draw on them just prior to baking. I often wonder who invented this first, and since its Japanese name is really in Katakana, it must be foreign to Japanese. Just not sure if they learned the breads from foreigners and then added the melon or cookie part.

Since the Japanese sweet and soft breads have a relatively longer history, I tend to think the HongKongers and Taiwanese borrowed the idea from the Japanese. But I am not sure, just a guess.

What’s unique about this bun is the combination of a cookie and a bread in one bun. It is a soft sweet bread topped with a sweet cookie (like a short bread). The Taiwanese version has a filing in there, while the Japanese versions tend to be just plain bread.  Since I was rushing this morning, I just left out the filing in the bread and made a Japanese version. I have included the recipe of a berry filing herein, anyway. The Chinese versions use an egg wash, while the Japanese ones have a coat of fine sugar.

Melon Bread

Melon Bread

Ingredients

Bread

262g Bread Flour (high protein/gluten flour)

10g Milk Powder

4g Instant Yeast

30g Sugar

1 tsp Salt

30g Unsalted butter (cold)

105ml Water at 30°C

Starter

1 Tbsp Bread Flour

3 Tbsp Water

Cookie

55g Sugar

55g Unsalted Butter

130g Self-raising Flour

1/2 egg

Filing

55g Unsalted butter

25g Egg

2 Tbsp Corn Flour

65g Milk Powder

45g Dried Berries (cranberries, berries, etc)

Method

    Filing
  1. Cream the sugar and butter till light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg.
  3. Add the corn flour, milk powder and dried berries.
  4. Combine and refrigerate.
  5. Cookie Dough
  6. Put the butter, flour and sugar into a blender and blitz until it looks like coarse bread crumbs, less than 30 seconds.
  7. Add enough egg until it comes into a dough. Shape into a log and keep it in the refrigerator.
  8. Starter
  9. Mix the water with the flour and cook it under medium heat for about 2 minutes, until it looks thick, do not let it boil. Remove and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  10. Bread
  11. Add all ingredients except the butter, together with the starter and knead till the dough is elastic.
  12. Add the butter and knead till it passes the window pane test.
  13. Shape the dough into a ball and put it into a bowl with cling wrap. Proof at 28°C for 40 minutes.
  14. Cut the bread + 2nd proof
  15. Divide the dough into 9 equal portions and shape each into a ball.
  16. Leave to proof, covered, for another 10 minutes.
  17. Shaping the buns + final proof
  18. Roll out the cookie into a disc of about 3.5 inches.
  19. Divide the filing into 9 portions.
  20. Bury the filing into the bread dough, seal and then wrap the bread into the cookie disc. Do not seal the cookie dough.
  21. Holding the exposed end of the bread dough, deep the buns into fine sugar.
  22. Cut the surface of the bun to resemble pineapple skin.
  23. Leave to proof for another 40 minutes, at 40°C.
  24. Bake
  25. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes, on a middle shelf.
https://recipe.mei.kitchen/melon-bread-%e3%83%a1%e3%83%ad%e3%83%b3%e3%83%91%e3%83%b3-or-%e8%8f%a0%e8%90%9d%e9%9d%a2%e5%8c%85/

This cooking with dog channel is fun and they provide great instructions! I did not use their recipe, though. The instruction in a step-by-step visual fashion is really good, except that I did not make the cookie dough using creaming method. I used a simple rub-in or blender method, which cuts the preparation time to a fraction.