Bunny melon pan

Easter is around the corner and even though I don’t celebrate, Christianly speaking, It has always been an occasion for family celebration and to eat Easter chocolate bunnies 😉

Melon pan is a Japanese soft bread covered in a layer of cookie. It is very similar to Conchas, a Mexican version of this sweet bread.

In Japan you can buy melon pan almost everyewhere and it is sometimes served with ice cream- YUM! Check this post if you want to learn more about Japanese melon pan.

Melon pan in Japan is pretty big. I made a smaller ( and healthier) version which is dairy and egg-free and vegan-friendly!

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t easy to create a (cute) bunny face on melon pan. The firsts attempts were pretty ugly lol !

I also had to test the recipe a couple of times because I struggled with the ears, which kept breaking off from the head. To get prettier and more resistant bunnies, I found out that flattening one side of the ear bread dough and tucking it slightly under the head bun works perfectly.

The cookie dough is naturally colored with baked yam powder. Since potato/yam powder acts like corn starch, I used all purpose flour instead of the cake flour. If you cannot find yam powder, you can use potato or corn starch instead, or you can replace all purpose flour with cake flour.

I recommend using strong bread flour to make this recipe, but if you can’t find it, you can use all purpose flour instead. Please remember that any replacement affects the final result. For flour conversions, please refer to table in this post.

I highly recommend using a stand mixer fitted with hook attachment to knead the bread dough. You can of course knead it by hand but it will take longer!

The bread is sweet, vanilla-flavored and has hidden chocolate chips inside! So good! If you prefer plain bread, please feel free to omit vanilla and chocolate chips.

I opted for non-dairy milk and butter but you can use dairy products if you prefer. If you’re using vegan butter, please opt for plant-based butter that comes in a stick instead of regular margarine (tub).

I posted a video tutorial on how to assemble the Bunny melon pan. You can watch it on my Instagram page @foodie.yuki and on my Facebook page @foodie.yuki !

As always, I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe! If you make this Bunny Melon pan, be sure to drop a comment below and tag me with your recreations on Instagram @foodie.yuki !

Bunny Melon Pan

Dairy and egg-free, vegan-friendly
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Servings: 6 melon pan
Author: Yukiko @foodie.yuki

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with hook attachment

Ingredients

Ingredients for bread dough

  • 220 g bread flour
  • 20 g light brown sugar
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) fine salt
  • 3 g (1 tsp) instant yeast
  • 30 g vegan butter / dairy butter softened
  • 140 ml soy milk warm
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) mini chocolate chips optional

Ingredients for cookie dough

  • 60 g icing sugar
  • 60 g vegan butter /butter softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 30 ml soy milk room temperature
  • 140 g all purpose flour * see blog post for replacements
  • 1 tbsp baked yam powder * see blog post for replacements
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar for rolling

Instructions

Make the bread dough

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with hook attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast.
  • Add soy milk, butter and vanilla and knead until soft and elastic ( 10-15 minutes).
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1-1,5h).

Make the cookie dough

  • While the bread dough is resting, make the cookie dough.
  • Place softened butter into a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and whisk until fluffy.
  • Add flour, yam powder and salt. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine. Don't knead.
  • Form a log, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Assemble the bunny melon pan

  • Deflate bread dough and divide into 6 large pieces (about 50g each) and 12 small pieces (about 8g each).
  • Add chocolate chips to the larger pieces and roll into balls.
  • Roll the small pieces into logs and shape into bunny ears. Cover while working with cookie dough.
  • Divide cookie dough into 8 pieces. Roll 6 of them into balls and flatten into discs.
  • Wrap cookie dough around the buns. Coat the cookie dough with granulated sugar and score the top into crisscross pattern.
  • Divide the remaining 2 pieces into 12 smaller pieces. Flatten the pieces and shape into ovals to cover the ears.
  • Apply ears over the main bun. Make sure to tuck the ears under the head to keep them in place.
  • Place on baking sheet, covered for 40 min.
  • Bake into preheat oven at 180C for 15 min.
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