Vegan Melon Pan (Japanese Sweet Bread) |メロンパン

Soft, fluffy pillows of bread hugged by a crunchy, sweet cookie top. This vegan version of a classic Japanese bakery good has all the flavor of a traditional melon bread, but made with wholesome ingredients.

What is Melon Pan?

Japanese melon pan (メロンパン) was my favorite sweet bread as a kid. Whenever we went to a Japanese bakery I would always go for the melon pan. It’s basically sweet bread covered in a cookie! What could be better?? Don’t be fooled by its name though — it doesn’t actually have melon in it (a fact I was not aware of until last year when I first started making my own). It’s called melon pan simply because the cookie on top of the bread is cut in such a way that it makes the bread look like a melon. Misleading huh, like why didn’t they just add a little bit of melon flavor in the bread too?

INGREDIENTS IN JAPANESE MELON PAN

So if there’s not actually melon in it, what is melon pan made from? Well, it can actually be made quite easily from just 9 plant-based ingredients:

  • Bread Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Salt
  • Instant Yeast ⟶ you can also use active dry yeast, but increase the amount by ⅛ tsp and add the yeast to the soy milk first, letting it sit for a few minutes until foamy
  • Soy Milk ⟶ you can sub another plant-based milk, but I prefer soy milk since it’s higher in protein and fat
  • Oil ⟶ use a neutral liquid oil such as melted refined coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • Ground Chia or Flax Seeds ⟶ act as an egg replacement to hold the cookie dough together
  • Cake Flour ⟶ or use 1/2 cup – 1 tbsp all purpose flour, and add 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Baking Powder
  • Matcha Powder ⟶ optional for a greener color

That being said, you can add some pureed melon or melon juice into the dough if you want (just cut back on some of the milk) but they are equally delicious without. You could also add some chocolate chips into the batter — now that would really be good. I always forget to add them, but if you love chocolate I highly recommend folding some chocolate chips into the dough. Honestly there are lots of variations you can make, so I’ll probably have future posts dedicated to different flavors of this melon bread 😀 Also note, I added 1/4 tsp of matcha powder to the cookie dough, but this is purely for color and you can’t even taste it. So if you don’t have matcha, just omit it.

VEGAN MELON PAN THAT ANYONE CAN MAKE!

I know there are a lot of steps to make this and it may look daunting, but it’s really not that much work. The longest part of it is just letting the dough proof, but everything else is very straightforward. I realize a video may be more helpful than the instructions I have written, so hopefully I’ll get a video up soon, but until then you can watch Peaceful Cuisine on youtube — there’s a great melon bread video that actually inspired me to make my own! The cookie layer may break a little when you wrap it around the dough, but don’t worry! As long as it’s sticking to the dough, you’re fine. It may not have the same beautiful melon pattern but it will taste just as delicious 🙂

HELPFUL BAKING TOOLS

STILL HUNGRY?

Check out these other sweet vegan breakfasts!

I hope you love this Vegan Melon Pan as much as I do! If you do make it, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking, leave a comment/rating below, and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy baking ♡

Japanese Melon Bread (Vegan)

Soft, fluffy pillows of bread hugged by a crunchy, sweet cookie top. This vegan version of a classic Japanese bakery good has all the flavor of a traditional melon bread, but made with wholesome ingredients.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Bread

  • 1 cup bread flour (127g)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar (24g)
  • ¼ tsp salt (1.5g)
  • ½ tsp instant yeast (1.6g)
  • cup soy milk (80ml)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (30ml)

Cookie Topping

Instructions

  • PREPARE BREAD DOUGH: In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast. Stir in milk and oil till combined, then turn out dough onto a floured surface.
  • KNEAD: Knead with your hands for about 10 minutes, adding flour if needed. When ready, the dough should be smooth and just slightly sticky, but it shouldn't stick to your hands. Check out these tips for checking if your dough is sufficiently kneaded.
  • PROOF: Roll your dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Place a tea towel or saran wrap over the bowl and let the dough rest until doubled in size. I place mine in the oven on the "proof" setting, but if yours does not have this setting you can simply just turn the light on. You can also leave it out at room temperature, but your rise may take longer. The warmer the environment, the faster it will rise. (Don't rush it though. Flavors deepen as the dough proofs.) 
  • PREPARE COOKIE DOUGH: While your dough is rising, prepare your cookie dough. Mix together ground flax/chia seeds and milk and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. Cream together coconut oil and sugar, then beat in flax mixture until well combined. Sift in flour, baking powder, and matcha powder. Mix until a uniform dough forms. Form dough into a ball and set aside until ready to use. You want your cookie dough to be rollable but not wet. If for some reason your cookie dough is very soft to the point that it doesn't hold its shape, chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes, then take it out and let it rest at room temperature until pliable.
  • CHECK BREAD DOUGH: My bread dough usually takes about 1 hour to proof. To test if it is done, poke a hole in the center of the dough with your finger. If the hole doesn't close back up, it is ready. 
  • PUNCH DOWN: Punch down your dough and flip onto a non-stick surface. Divide the bread dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a ball.
  • ASSEMBLE MELON PAN: Divide the cookie dough into 6 pieces. Roll each out into a flat disk shape. Place one bread dough ball in the center of one disk. Wrap the cookie dough around the bread dough so that it covers most of the surface. Repeat with remaining dough. 
  • CREATE MELON PATTERN: To make the "melon" pattern on the breads, make 3 shallow cuts across the top of the cookie dough, then make 3 more cuts in the opposite direction to produce the melon pattern.
  • 2ND PROOF: Place the breads on a lined baking sheet and cover with saran wrap. Place in a warm environment and let rise for about 20 minutes. It should increase in size during this second proof. 
  • PREHEAT & BAKE: While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. The bread should feel slightly firm but still soft inside. Transfer to a cooling rack and let the breads cool completely. 

Notes

*This is purely for color and adds no flavor to the bread, so feel free to omit.

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