The other more popular suggestion is that appearance of the cracked surface of the cookie dough layer resembles a rock melon/ cantaloupe, and hence the name.
It seems that the pattern on these Melon Pan can differ in certain regions of Japan where they prefer to create a radiating pattern that represents the sunrise.While the crosshatch pattern is more common, an equally popular practise is to decorate the surface of the cookie dough by pressing into it with small teddy bear or star shaped cookie cutters.
Versions of the Melon Pan are also made in neighbouring Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and also as far as Latin America (the Mexican Conchas ) which is possibly the origin of this Japanese bread. The Conchas are also bread rolls but covered with a coloured cinnamon flavoured cookie crust. The bread dough for Melon Pan is mostly left plain, though some people add chocolate chips, while others fill the buns with cream cheese, custard/ pastry cream or even chopped chocolate. You can go whichever way you choose, plain or with some filling or flavour. You can also use your choice of flavouring for the cookie dough like chocolate, green tea, pineapple, etc if you like.
Both the bread and cookie doughs are made with egg as this gives the bread a better texture. If you don’t eat egg, you can leave them out, but substitute for it in the bread dough with a tablespoon of yogurt or milk for good texture. Melon Pan is not very difficult to make and you can even make the cookie part of the dough ahead, as it needs refrigeration.
Do take a look at this video which is an excellent tutorial on making Melon Pan . If you live in warmer climates like I do, you don’t need to proof the dough in the microwave as suggested in the video, and room temperature works just fine. Melon Pan are best eaten the day they’re made. This recipe makes 8 burger bun sized (the ones we get in India) Melon Pan. You can bake a half batch or even make smaller Pan by dividing both the doughs into 10 or 12 instead of 8.
Read full post.....