|Mascot ,Mr G, waits impatiently for buns to cool|
At last, the melon bun can be recorded in the annals of the family recipe book as ' almost been there, done that'.
There was a fare amount of deliberation whether to log this, on account of its lack of looks, but I decided it would be a good record of how to do it better the next time. So here it is.
This bun has been one of my girl's favorite but the addition of the pastry dough pushes the complexity of the project many notches upwards. Until HHB's very detailed instructions and attractive pictures, I was not even entertaining any thoughts of attempting it.
The intricate patterns on the bun was a showcase of her baking talents and my daughter looked at them like a display shelf in the bakery. I have provided myself an escape clause by not promising her anything near HHB's though any resemblance would be a bonus.
She, of course, is happy as long as her bun has that sweet crunchy cover.
It was with great trepidation I set out to make this - a thousand things can go wrong, as any first time endeavor always does. And what a self fulfilling prophecy it turned out to be ! Without my reading glasses, I mis-proportioned 10 buns instead of HHB's 12. The pastry was too tacky to handle and did not stay put where it was, causing the bun to keel over. It refused to be put right and after several attempts, I surrendered to the natural order of things.
On hindsight, with my level of competence, it would have been easier if I had left the dough to do a second rise before topping the pastry crust just before baking.
One thing I did right, though. I tweaked the water downwards, since it has been raining and the humidity might get in the way of a manageable dough.
Verdict : Nowhere near HHB's fancy Melon buns but the gargantuan sweet crust compensates for the lack of looks . The extra milk powder lends a rich aroma to the bun. The crust is mildly sweet but would be better with a sprinkling of caster sugar. A melon flavor in the crust will also be nicer. And perhaps plus some chopped almonds in the pastry crust for textural contrast ?( or maybe some coffee flavor to become 'roti-mum' ? ) For decadence, I stuffed the bun with leftover chocolate pralines, to my girl's delight. Overall, lots to improve and this is definitely a project in progress.
Original recipe from http://happyhomebaking.blogspot.com/2007/08/japanese-melon-pan.html
Makes 10 buns ( 12 portions would be better )
300g bread flour
6g instant yeast
36g caster sugar
18 g milk powder (instead of the original 6g - it was an accident which didn't do much damage. Phew !)
180g water ( original recipe calls for 200g but due to the humid weather, I used 10% less, which turned out OK. Another Phew ! )
30g unsalted butter ( room temperature)
80g unsalted butter (bring to room temperature)
90g caster sugar
80g egg, lightly beaten
200g cake flour
2g baking powder
( melon essence and a handful of roasted almonds, chopped for version 2)
Chocolate pralines for stuffing.
caster sugar for dusting ( omitted here )
Here's what I did :
Whisk dry bread ingredient in a mixing bowl. I poured dry mix, butter, water into the bread machine, press dough mode and left it to knead and ferment. Retrieve 1.5 hr later, when the machine beeps.
Meanwhile, to prepare the pastry, mix cake flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Set aside. Beat butter, sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beat well. Sift in flour and mix well with a spatula. Divide into 10 portions( original's 12 ). Chill until ready for use.
When bread dough is ready, stretch it on floured work top, fold into thirds. Divide into 10 portions. Stretch each portion and fold into thirds again. I folded in half a chocolate praline here. Rest dough for 10 minutes, covered.
Retrieve pastry dough from the fridge. Flatten each portion of the pastry between plastic sheets. Drape over the top half of the prepared bun. Plastic gloves will allow easier handling.
Rest pastry covered dough for 40 minutes, covered. ( Next time, I will drape pastry on dough only just before baking )
10 minutes into baking time, preheat oven to 170C. Bake 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking tray and cool further on a cookie rack. Enjoy!