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27 de May de 2024
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What is and how to make Meron pan or Japanese melon bread?

4 de June de 2024

Meron pan or meronpan (メロンパン in Japanese) is a type of sweet bun originally and very popular in Japan. They are made with an enriched dough covered with a thin layer of crispy cookie dough. Their appearance resembles a melon and, because of their name, most people think that this bread tastes like melon, but traditionally it does not taste like melon. However, in recent years it has become popular for manufacturers to add melon flavor to Japanese melon bread.

In addition, there are variations of meron pan, including some with a few chocolate chips between the cookie layer and the enriched dough layer, and versions flavored with caramel, maple syrup, chocolate or other flavors. There are also versions with custard as a filling, among others.

meron pan
Meron pan homemade

📋 Meron pan Recipe: How to make Japanese Sweet Bread

Melon Pan

Recipe by Thaïs GarcíaCourse: DessertCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Intermediate
Servings

8

Preparation time

2

hours 

30

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

3666

kcal
Total time

2

hours 

45

minutes

Meron Pan is a Japanese sweet bread that has a crunchy outer layer and a soft interior. This bread is recognizable by its cookie topping, which gives it a special texture and flavor with a slight hint of vanilla. It is very popular in Japan and is enjoyed both for breakfast and as an afternoon snack. Its name comes from its appearance, which resembles a melon, although there is no actual melon in it. Each serving has about 458 calories, making it a delicious treat.

Ingredients

  • Bread dough
  • 300g baker's flour

  • 40g chopped butter

  • 25g sugar

  • 4g salt

  • 160ml milk

  • 1 extra large egg

  • 3g dry yeast

  • Cookie dough
  • 240g plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 80g butter

  • 80g sugar

  • 1 extra large egg

  • 1/2 vanilla essence

  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Make the cookie dough by placing the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light and creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.
  • Fold through the flour and baking powder.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 8 small balls and set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Mix the egg, yeast, milk and sugar in a bowl or small jug.
  • Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and add the liquid mixture and stir to form a soft dough.
  • Transfer to an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead for about 10 min or until smooth and elastic.
  • With the mixer motor running, add the chopped butter until the butter is combined and a silky smooth dough forms (about 10 more minutes).
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and set aside in a warm place to proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Divide the bread dough into 8 equal-sized balls and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth.
  • Put the chilled cookie dough into a wrapper about 5mm thick.
  • Once it is rolled place a bread dough on top of a cookie dough ball and wrap it together with grab wrap.
  • Take the cookie dough ball diagonally and sprinkle the icing sugar.
  • Repeat the process for all 8 rolls.
  • Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment or baking paper and cover with a clean damp cloth and set aside for about 40 minutes or until they double in size (like when we make pizza).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.

Notes

  • Leavening: Be sure to allow the bread dough to rest and rise properly to obtain a fluffy texture. This may take 1 to 2 hours depending on the room temperature.
  • Forming: When wrapping the bread dough with the cookie dough, try to make the coating uniform so that the final result is consistent in texture and flavor.
  • Baking: Pay attention to the baking time to prevent the cookie topping from burning. It is best to bake at a moderate temperature and keep an eye on the bread during the last few minutes.
  • Storage: Melon Pan is best when eaten fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. It can also be frozen and reheated in the oven.
  • Variations: You can experiment by adding ingredients such as chocolate chips, matcha or cocoa to the cookie dough for different flavors.

❓ What does Meronpan taste like?

Meronpan has a mild and sweet flavor. The outer layer, which is crunchy, has a sugary touch, while the inside is spongy and less sweet. Traditionally, it has no melon flavor, but some modern manufacturers add that flavor or fill it with creams of different tastes. So, in its classic version, it is more reminiscent of a sugared bun than a melon.

Difference between meronpan and Mexican conch shell

The taste and texture of meronpan and conch are different, although they are physically similar.

  • Melon Pan: Soft and sweet flavor with a crunchy and sugary outer layer. The inside is spongy.
  • Shell: Sweet flavor, often with hints of vanilla or chocolate. The top layer is sugary but less crunchy than Melon Pan, being softer and crumbly.

Contribution from our community of readers: The ones from Mexico are soft on the outside, as well as the bread toppings are also soft, different from the meron pan which is somewhat crunchier (Contribution made by Jesús E.M).

🍬 Flavors or ingredients of meron pan

Meron pan traditionally has a mild and sweet flavor with no filling. However, there are several modern versions with different flavors and fillings. The recipes for meron pan are endless, but these variations are the most famous. If you make your own Japanese melon bread recipe and you can add any of these:

  1. Classic: Sweet flavor without fillers or added flavors.
  2. Melon: With melon flavor, sometimes colored green.
  3. Chocolate: With chocolate dough or chocolate shavings added (The easiest to find and the one we tourists usually like the most).
  4. Vanilla: Flavored with vanilla, similar to some variants of Mexican concha.
  5. Matcha: Flavored with green tea (matcha), very popular in Japan.
  6. Strawberry: Strawberry-flavored dough or filling (usually available in the winter season).
  7. Maple Syrup: Maple syrup flavored, most common in some specialty bakeries.
  8. Caramel: With caramel-flavored dough or filling.
  9. Custard: Filled with custard cream, which gives it a creamy texture.
  10. Pumpkin: Pumpkin-flavored, taking advantage of a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine (famous in the season from October to December).
  11. Pastry Cream: Pastry cream filling, which can be of different flavors.
  12. Ice cream: Thanks to the ice cream, this sweet will have a great contrast with fresh bread, and you can even enjoy it in winter with a cup of tea (as the Japanese do).
  13. Glazed: This variant has a sugary glazed layer instead of the cookie layer, similar to a donut.
  14. Zunda: Zunda is a special sweet soybean paste from the city of Sendai, capital of Miyagi Prefecture. Here you can easily find this sweet along with other zunda-flavored delicacies.
  15. Milk tea: This variant of milk tea infusion is uncommon, but some stores sell it seasonally.
  16. Hojicha: Hojicha is a green tea roasted over charcoal, which gives it a special aroma. It is an excellent companion to the Melon Pan flavor.
meron pan
Different types of Meron Pan flavors

📜 History of meron pan

For fans of melon bread it is also important to know its history, but the exact origins of this bread are unclear: According to one version, Meron pan was created in 1910 when Japanese businessman Okura Kihachiro brought an Armenian baker named Sagoyan to Japan. Sagoyan, who had worked for the Romanovs and at the Imperial Hotel in Manchuria, apparently made the bread based on a French galette.

Another version tells that initially the Meron Pan had an oval shape and represented a Korean melon. During the 1930s, a bakery in Kobe (western Japan) sold a sweet bread with a pastry on top, shaped like the rising sun. They called it Sunraizu (サンライズ), meaning “sunrise.” In some regions of western Japan, Melon Pan is still called Sunraizu, but there is no difference between the two.

🍴 Where to buy meron pan and price?

The price of a Meronpan in Japan can vary depending on the place and the store where you buy it. We have seen prices between ¥150 and ¥300, depending on the popularity of the establishment, the quality and if it has any special flavor or filling (if you see queues at the place you can be sure of two things: It’s good and it’s more expensive). In some upscale bakeries, it may cost a bit more, while in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores it is usually in the lower price range (e.g. AEON).

Kyuei (Tsukishima)

meron pan
Kyuei Store at Tsukishima Station

Kyuei is only a 3 minute walk from Tsukishima station. Although Tsukishima is known for its monjayaki restaurants, this Meron Pan store also enjoys a great reputation and is ideal for enjoying a dessert after dinner. The freshly baked bread has a very crispy outer layer and a fluffy interior. It is also quite large. It costs only ¥180, so you’ll probably want to grab more than one for seconds.

Kimuraya (Ginza)

meron pan
Kimuraya store in Ginza

Located just a minute’s walk from the A9 exit of Marunouchi Ginza Station, Kimuraya is an elegant and high quality bakery that offers, among other products, Meron Pan. This bread is distinguished by containing real melon puree mixed with cream filling inside. Although Kimuraya is best known for its anko bread, Meron Pan has recently gained popularity.

Kagetsudo (Asakusa)

meron pan
Kagetsudo store in Asakusa

The famous Asakusa meronpan is in Kagetsudo, 15 minutes from Asakusa station. They have another stall near Kaminarimon gate, but the main store is located near Sensoji Temple. Established in 1945, this store has been making homemade Meron Pan ever since and serves more than 800 customers a day. Due to its popularity with both tourists and locals, the bread is often sold out by 4pm, so go early if you want to try it.

Melon Pan Factory (Oimachi)

Melon Pan Factory is another exceptional store located 1 minute away from Oimachi Station that sells freshly baked Meron Pan with several different flavors, including chocolate, matcha, strawberry, among other flavors.

SEKAI DE NIBANME NO OISHII YAKITATE MELON PAN ICE (Shibuya)

Also called in Japanese: World’s Second-Best Freshly Baked Melon-Pan Ice Cream

meron pan

This store is 8 minutes away from Shibuya Station, near Yoyogi Park. They serve melon ice cream, which is prepared by adding a scoop of ice cream to the center of freshly baked Meron Pan. Among the ice cream flavors, you can choose between vanilla, chocolate or matcha. We love it with chocolate, because we have a sweet tooth.

As the bread is still warm, the ice cream melts beautifully as you eat it in your mouth (but be careful not to burn yourself, I know it’s good but as the bread opens up with the bite it can release hot steam and burn you). It is a good idea to drink the melted ice cream with a straw after finishing the Meron Pan. But if you prefer, you can also order the bread alone.

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