Traditional Melon Buns or Melon Pan

  • Serves: Makes 8
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Variations: Green Tea Melon Buns; Cocoa Melon Buns; Green Tea Melon Skin Buns

Buns and photos by Orange Piggy © Sarah Phillips
Hi Sarah, This is my recipe for traditional style melon buns.

4g instant active dry yeast
100 ml warm water; about 120 to 130 degrees F measured with an instant read thermometer
20 g granulated sugar
20 g egg (from about 1/2 large egg)
200 g bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 g unsalted butter, soften

Brown sugar melon skin dough:
120 g cake flour
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

40 g unsalted butter
40 g brown sugar
40 g egg

about 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand for about 8-10 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine dissolved yeast, sugar, egg, 1 cup of flour and mix on low speed until combined. Add the remaining flour, salt and butter and knead on low speed for 3 minutes.

3. Increase to medium speed and knead for 6-7 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough stop sticking to the bowl.

4. Remove the dough from the stand mixer bowl and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl then cover tightly with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel or damp cheese cloth and let rest for 40 minutes or until double in size.

** While the dough is resting, make melon skin:

5A. Sift together the flour and baking powder, set aside.

5B. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light in color (can do it by hand using a large wooden spoon or by handheld or stand mixer but do NOT overmix). Drizzle the egg little by little and and stir until smooth. Gradually add the flour and mix until the flour is thourouhly incorporated into the dough. Do not overmix or stir too vigorously.

5C. Divide the melon skin dough into 8 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Put the balls on a tray and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. (Melon skin dough should rest in the refrigerator about 20 minutes).

6. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and deflate the dough. Roll the dough out and fold the dough into thirds.

7. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Do not shape into neat balls now.

** While the dough is resting, roll out the melon skin dough.

8A. Take the melon dough balls from the refrigerator and knead them briefly with your hands to soften. If it is too cold, it will crack.

8B. Put a ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten it lightly with your hand and then roll it with a rolling pin to 10 cm circle. Repeat with the remaining balls.

To assemble:
1. Put the 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Shape each bread dough into a ball by pinching it. Put a melon skin circle on your palm and put a bread ball on it. Wrap the melon skin around the bread ball, leaving the bottom unwrapped. (Melon skin will burst during baking if the bread is completely wrapped). Do not fuss too much to wrap it too neatly. Dip the wrapped bun in the granulated sugar to coat the top. Repeat with remaining bread dough.

2. Make shallow lines on top of each melon bun dough with a dough scraper or thin metal spatula. Do not cut the lines too deep. Let the dough rise about 25-30 minutes or until about 1.5 times in size.

1. Position rack on center shelf and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until done. The melon skin will be dry and lighter in color. The buns will also smell done.

3. Cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely.

The melon buns are best eaten within the same day they are baked. Freeze the leftover buns.

Green Tea Melon Buns: Add 2 teaspoons green tea (matcha) powder with bread flour.

Cocoa Melon Buns: Use 190 g bread flour and 10 g unsweetened cocoa powder.

Green Tea Melon Skin Buns: Add 1 teaspoon green tea powder to the cake flour. Substitute brown sugar with 40 g granulated sugar.

Bread and photo by Orange Piggy © Sarah Phillips

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