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.