19 Jan 2014

メロンパン ・ Melon Pan

This time I will not start this post by saying how long I've been wanting to bake these... Sometimes I get these weird (or not) cravings for Japanese food so that I spend all the waking hours (and sometimes while sleeping too) imagining what Japanese food to make next. Mostly my obsession happens during the colder months as then I start to crave for anything with a broth (Japanese foods with a broth are so yummy) and as the colder months here in Finland are also the darkest, I always crave for anything with carbohydrates and sugar (and who are better at making sweet foods (excluding the French also) than Japanese as their shops are full of wonderful pastries, sweets and wagashi.

Melon Pan is a sweet bun with cookie dough on the top. To my knowledge it doesn't have any melon in it, but the name comes from the pattern cut to its surface. In Japan you can buy melon pan from grocery stores and bakeries plus they even have specialized shops selling only melon pan (in all the colours of the rainbow, of course).

The recipe I used was clear and the buns baked perfectly, but the end product was too sweet for my taste. I think the problem might actually have to something to do with the difference in sugars. The "basic" sugar in Japan is very fine in granule and seems to be somewhat moist as in Finland the ordinary sugar is bigger in granule and dry. And as the bun is rolled in sugar before baking it, I'd guess, the coarser the sugar is, its quantity in weight will be higher on the surface (aargh, I don't know how to explain it in English, I hope you get the idea). Next time I might skip the dipping in sugar or then use the extrafine granule sugar (Siro) or then just sprinkle it on top as the sugar coating makes the surface look very nice after baking. In Happy Home Baking's recipe there is a mention you could use melon extract in the cookie dough. Maybe that is used in those storebought melon pan in Japan, as these buns I made seem to be lacking some taste. So next time I'll put some vanilla to the cookie dough. It might also be that as being a Finn, I seem to be making the assumption that a sweet bun always includes cardamom, and as it's now lacking, it doesn't seem to be a sweet bun, although it is actually cloyingly sweet. I might also next time increase the bun:cookie ratio, as I prefer buns anytime!!!

I otherwise followed Cooking with Dog's recipe, but I reduced the sugar amount in the cookie dough from 35 grams to 28.  (Gosh I'm jealous for that oven of hers!)

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