Japanese melon bread is a sweet, fluffy bun covered in a crisp almond cookie crust. This popular snack is such a tasty treat!
1 2/3 cups (200 g) bread flour
3 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14.2 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 large egg, room temperature
110 ml water, room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons (35.5 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar
1/2 large egg, room temperature
2/3 cup (90 g) cake and pastry flour
1/3 cup (32 g) almond flour
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
granulated sugar, for coating
Mix bread flour, brown sugar, dry yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Crack egg into a small bowl. Lightly whisk it with chopsticks to blend the yolk with the whites, then divide the egg evenly into two small bowls. Set one aside for the cookie dough. Add the other to the bread dry ingredients along with water. Mix well with chopsticks.
Mix in the butter. Once the dough starts to come together, move it to a clean work surface. Knead it well for 10 minutes. Make sure that you knead the bread enough, otherwise the buns will turn out small and dense. It should bounce back when pressed.
Form the kneaded bread dough into a ball and place it back in the mixing bowl. Covering with plastic wrap and let it rise for forty minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar. Add the half egg that you set aside earlier and mix.
In another bowl, mix the cake flour and almond flour together well.
Add the dry ingredients in with the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Put the dough into a plastic, zip-top sandwich bag. Shape it into a flat rectangle (see image in post above), and set it on a flat surface inside of the fridge to cool.
Punch the bread dough and separate it into 8 balls. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes before proceeding with with next step.
Use scissors to cut both sides of the bag of cookie dough, leaving the bottom intact. Open the bag and cut the dough into eight even pieces. Remove the dough pieces from the bag.
Take one pieces of cookie dough and form it into a rough sphere shape. Place it between the two sides of the plastic bag. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a circle a little bigger than a ball of the bread dough.
Place the circle of dough in the palm of your hand. Set a ball of bread dough in the centre, and wrap the cookie dough around it. Only the very top of the bread dough should be poking out, which will be the bottom of the bun (see images in post above).
Flip the bun over in your hand to have the proper side facing upwards. Gently dip the bun into a bowl of granulated sugar, making sure that all of the cookie crust gets coated.
Using a knife, delicately cut a melon design into the bun with four vertical and four horizontal stripes. Be careful when cutting. You want to cut deep into the cookie layer, but without quite cutting through to the bread underneath. If you cut too far, the cookie layer will split apart while baking.
Place the bun on a baking sheet and repeat the steps to make the rest of the buns. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow the bread to ferment again for another 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Remove the plastic wrap from the baking sheet, and bake the bread for 13 minutes. Cool the bread to room temperature. Enjoy soon, fresh is best.
Keywords: Japanese melon bread