Ever since high school, when I saw Yakitate Japan, I have been obsessed with melon bread. Melon bread, or melonpan (メロンパン), consists of a soft roll of bread coated with a sugar cookie exterior. It is sometimes filled with cream cheese,pastry cream, and more. Every time I go to the Korean market, I am tempted by the melon breads at the bakery. Melon bread originates in Japan, but it is popular throughout Asia. At first, I was confused as to why it was called melon bread-melon bread contains no melon. It turns out the name comes from the appearance of the bread, which is said to resemble a melon.
Melon bread is fun to make at home. It involves a bit of work because you make a yeast dough and a cookie dough, but the results are well worth the effort.
1/2 tea sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tea salt
3 T melted butter
1 1/4 flour
1/2 tea baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Extra sugar for rolling
Start by making your yeast dough. Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water and sugar. Make sure you water isn't too hot. You don't want to kill all of your yeast. In a big bowl mix together the flour, salt, melted butter, and yeast mixture. You can mix it with a stand mixer or by hand. The mixture will start off crumbly, but as you mix it it will come together into a dough. Add more water if your dough is too dry, or more flour if your dough is too sticky. Knead your dough for ten minutes or so.
Grease your bowl lightly and put the dough in, turning it to get oil on all sides. Cover your bowl with a damp kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise. I heat up a pot of water on the stove until it is boiling and pour the hot water into a casserole dish. I put this dish in my oven with my dough to create a warm place for my dough to rise.
Once your dough has doubled in size (with my set up this took an hour), knead it lightly for five minutes or so to get some of the air out. Divide your dough into twelve pieces and roll them into balls. Put your dough balls on a cookie sheet and put them back in a warm spot to rise for another 15 minutes.
As your dough balls rise, you can make the cookie dough. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Add in the sugar, egg, and melted butter. Stir it up until it forms a dough. Stick your cookie dough in the fridge for a few minutes if it is too soft to work with.
Take your bread dough out of the oven when it is done rising and turn the oven to preheat at 350 degrees F.
Divide your cookie dough into 12 pieces and roll them into balls. Between two pieces of saran wrap, smoosh the balls down with your hand until they form circles of cookie dough.
Take your now puffy bread dough and put a piece in the center of a cookie dough circle.
Wrap the cookie dough around the bread dough until the ball is covered in cookie. Dip the top of the cookie covered ball in a small bowl of sugar to coat. Using a knife, cut diamond shaped marks in the top of your melon breads.
Put your completed balls on your baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Do not be alarmed if some of the cookie topping spreads out onto the cookie sheet a bit when baked. This can happen if you add too much cookie to a dough ball. It is still delicious!