Melonpan consists of two main components: a fluffy, cloud-like dome of bread and a sugar-crusted hatched top. Every crunch of crystalized sugar is followed by a little puff of billowing softness, making for a sweet, sweet harmony. It is one of the most beloved breads in Japan, and if you’ve had one firsthand, it’s clear why. While melonpan can be purchased at many Japanese bakeries, making them at home can be far more time consuming — and that’s where melonpan toast comes in. It has the same textures and flavors, but without the hours in the kitchen.
This recipe is adapted from vegan food creator Lisa Kitahara of Okonomi Kitchen, who has cultivated a large social media following for her innovative Asian dishes. She first shared her melonpan toast on her food blog in October 2020, but the recipe really went viral later on TikTok, where it has over 650,000 views. As a child, her mom would bake up fresh melonpan as a weekend treat, but as her family got older and busier, her mom adapted the same melonpan technique for toast, which saved time while keeping all of the flavor.
Her original recipe calls for melted vegan butter, but this version uses unsalted dairy butter instead. The melted butter is then combined with sugar and flour to form the sugar cookie topping. You can simply smear it on top of a slice of milk bread, but to get a more precise topping, gently roll it out between parchment paper and then trim away the edges to create a bread-sized square before indenting the lines on top.
From start to finish, the entire process takes about 10 minutes to make two slices. Now time yourself getting ready to go out and walking to a bakery, and it’ll be clear what’s faster.
Makes 2 slices
Cook: 10 mins.
Note: If you don’t have a toaster oven, use an oven broiler. Toast one side of the bread under high until golden brown, about three minutes. Then spread the cookie dough on the untoasted side and broil for three minutes, or until lightly golden brown, rotating the pan about halfway through.
• 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
• 45 grams (4½ tablespoons) all-purpose flour
• 25 grams (2 tablespoons) white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
• 2 slices milk bread
1. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, flour and sugar using a spoon. Mix until a ball of cookie dough forms. Set aside.
2. Spread the cookie dough evenly over one side of each bread slice. Using the back of a small knife, create hatch marks to resemble melonpan. Top with a small sprinkle of sugar.
3. Toast in a toaster oven for five minutes, or until crisp and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven. Serve immediately.
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