Melonpan is an Asian-style bun (i.e., soft and fluffy white bread) with a crisp, cookie-like top sprinkled with sugar. I haven’t looked much into the origins of the bun but the hubs and I speculate it’s called melonpan because the top part of the bun makes it look somewhat like a melon. It’s very similar to bo-lo buns or pineapple buns (no pineapple in these buns) that are popular in Hong Kong and Singapore. However, there isn’t a tonne of butter in this bun, unlike bo-lo buns which are served with a slab of butter in the middle. To read more about the differences between the buns, click here.
I was motivated to make these buns after watching a Cooking with Dog video on it. I would highly recommend watching the video before making the buns. I enjoy the Cooking with Dog series as the recipes are detailed and descriptions given are clear. This is the first recipe I have tried though and the buns turned out well. Am hoping to try out other recipes in the future.
The hubs and I gobbled down the buns within 2 days. The buns are best eaten fresh from the oven but are still nice the day after. I would recommend reheating first in the microwave and then placing it in the toaster oven for another 1-2 minutes to get the top nice and crisp.
(recipe from Cooking with Dog; watch video here)
Makes 5 melonpans.
For the cookie dough top:
- 25g unsalted butter, softened
- 35g granulated sugar
- 25g beaten egg
- 80g cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the bun:
- 140g all purpose flour
- 25g sugar
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 5g non-fat dry milk powder (I used buttermilk powder)
- 3g instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon beaten egg
- 70ml warm water
- 15g butter, softened
- To make the cookie dough top: Whisk butter till creamy and gradually add the sugar. Mix till sugar is dissolved and color changes to a pale cream.
- Gradually add the beaten egg and mix till combined.
- Sift cake flour and baking powder together twice.
- Add one third of the flour to the batter and mix. Add another third and mix. Add the rest of the flour and mix till combined. Be careful not to over mix the dough.
- Shape the dough into a cylinder, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
- To make the bun dough: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, non-fat dry milk powder and yeast and mix together using a whisk.
- Mix the egg with the warm water.
- Gradually pour the egg mixture into the flour and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed.
- Place flour mixture on a pastry board or surface for kneading. Form into ball and knead the dough with your hands. I tried kneading the dough using my stand mixer but found that kneading it by hand is more effective.
- Knead the dough until it is less sticky. Flatten the dough and rub the butter on the surface and gather the dough into a ball.
- Continue kneading till the dough is smooth and glossy, about 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen (about 50%), divide the dough evenly into 5 balls. To check if the dough is ready, you can stick a floured finger in the middle of the ball and if the dough does not bounce back, the dough is ready.
- Let dough balls rise for another 20 minutes.
- Remove cookie dough from the fridge and divide into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten till each piece is about 3.5 inches in diameter. To do this, you can place the dough in between two pieces of cling wrap or waxed paper. Press the dough using a dough scraper or any flat tool (I used my biscuit cutter tin). You can also use a template, placed underneath the cling wrap to help you.
- Place the completed circles back into the fridge.
- Once dough balls have completed their second rise, ensure each dough piece is a ball. Cover each ball with the cookie dough and pinch the bottom. The cookie dough will not cover the whole dough ball 100%. Dip the top of the ball into sugar and the create a diamond pattern on the top of the bun using a dough scraper or knife.
- Let rise for another 40 minutes on a pan lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 340ºF.
- Bake the melonpan for about 12 minutes or until slightly brown on top. Mine took longer, about 20 minutes.