The weekend was relaxing, slow paced and languid on choice. As we sat out sipping first tea, the Sun was already up. Delicious warmth of the Sun, nippy air, a million bird songs, aroma of autumnal blooms was like a lullaby. There being no compulsion to scurry in the kitchen packing tiffins and running around to be in time, we stayed out in the Sun in cheerful unconsciousness not bothering to keep a track of the time.

A rustle of the leaves and some movement around our fish pond caught attention. We saw a Crow Pheasant. Perhaps it was attracted by the water but a little reluctant to enter the pond. We placed a bird bath close to the pond for our guest.

After a planned brunch, we gathered in our kitchen and soon there were animated conversations amidst the clink and clank of the pots and pans. We decided on baking Melon Pans. Kids wanted to have fun shaping some like turtles.  There was a lot of mess but great fun too, and,  the tray finally entered the oven.

Melon Pan is a classic Japanese sweet bread covered with a thin layer of crisp cookie crust with grid line pattern on top. Melon pans are made from an enriched dough.

You’ll love to bite into the crisp cover with soft sweet buns inside.

Melon Pan 


Main Dough
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cake flour*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fine sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon dry instant yeast
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3 ½ tablespoon warm milk
  • ¼ cup of warm water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons butter cut into cubes

Cookie Dough
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup fine sugar or powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 ½ cup and 2 tablespoons cake flour*
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar for topping
  • And also, some chocolate chips

Main Dough
  1. Whisk together the first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Now add beaten egg, warm milk and 3 ½ tablespoons warm water.
  3. Use a spatula to gently mix the ingredients together until well combined.
  4. The dough will be wet and sticky and a bit messy. You may use your hands to bring it together. In case if the dough is dry, you may add more water.
  5. Once it comes together as a loose ball, transfer it to the counter dusted with flour.
  6. Knead dough by pushing it forward with the heels of your hand and then pulling it back with fingers.
  7. Stretch the dough, fold the top half of the dough in half back toward you. Stretch and repeat.
  8. Repeat this process for about 5 minutes. This will develop gluten strands. The dough will become more and more manageable and supple. If the dough is sticky, dust your hands with flour and knead.
  9. After 5 to 8 minutes, once the dough becomes smooth and elastic, stretch into a rectangle. Put cubes of butter and roll up the dough. Begin to knead by stretching and pulling.
  10. Your hands and work surface will become greasy and messy initially but with time, the dough will keep absorbing the butter and become manageable.
  11. Bang the dough on the work surface and roll it away from you. Repeat. Push out with the heels of your palm and pull it back. After 5 to 6 minutes, you’ll get a smooth silky dough.
  12. Shape the dough into a ball by pulling from the sides to the bottom and pinching them together.
  13. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a cling film. Keep in a warm place for 1 ½ hour.
  14. While the dough is rising, work on the cookie dough

Cookie Dough
  1. Beat together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg and beat till well mixed.
  3. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add to the wet mixture. Mix till dough comes together.
  5. Collect the dough and make it into a ball. Keep in the refrigerator.
  6. After 50 minutes when the dough becomes hard, cut into 10 equal pieces.
  7. Take 3 pieces and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Crumble the three pieces and add cocoa powder. Knead till you get a uniform colour. Put it back in the refrigerator.

Shaping Main Dough
  1. Transfer the risen dough onto the counter, press the dough and deflate.
  2.  Fold in in thirds and repeat.
  3. Shape it into a ball. With a sharp knife divide into half and make five equal pieces of both the halves. You get 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball by stretching and folding the sides.
  4.  Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 
  5. Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Shaping Melon Pans
  1. While the dough balls are resting, take out cookie dough pieces on the floured counter. Shape into balls and roll out into small circles of about 10 cm one by one.
  2. Take dough pieces. Deflate and fold in thirds. Shape into balls by stretching and folding.
  3. Take cookie circle in your hand, place dough ball with the seam side up and wrap around cookie circle. Repeat for all the pieces. 
  4. Dip the melon pans into a bowl with sugar. Dust off extra sugar and make three cuts each side with a knife.
  5. If you want to shape some like turtles, pinch out 4 small pieces of dough for face, two flippers, and a tail. Shape the pieces. Prepare a paste with 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour and water to get a glue-like consistency. Dip them into this paste and attach them.
  6. Place on the baking tray, seam side down. Cover with a cling film and keep in a warm place to rise for about 50 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. The tops should begin to brown. 
  8. Rotate bread pieces for even browning. Use choco chips for eyes for turtle-shaped bread
  9. Cool in the rack. Store in an airtight container.

*If you do not have cake flour, you can make it at home,

Take 1 cup all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons flour. Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Mix well.

When God was creating seasons, he became partial to Autumn and bestowed it with boundless beauty, great warmth, and immense grandeur. By creating Autumn, God infused beauty in our lives. Beauty is a source of great happiness and bliss.

Majority of our time is being spent in the lap of nature that is so welcoming and soothing. Our curry leaf plant is full of fat caterpillars waiting for nature’s magic wand to convert them into beautiful butterflies. 

Some more caterpillars are being nourished by brinjal plants and we don’t mind the leaves being chomped but definitely wonder at the patterns carved so perfectly.

Peacock tree keeps attracting butterflies. A garden lizard is hiding on the top branches of the same tree and sunning itself while keeping an eye on them calmly.

The Yellow trumpet flowers bloom profusely inviting bees in great numbers. There is constant hum as we stand under the tree and the mild fragrance of the blooms intoxicates our senses.

My daughter while watering the plants discovered a small pumpkin hiding in the tall grass.

 We decided to make pumpkin soup for the cold evening and Honey Beet bread to go with it.

The bread has the autumnal feel to it. It turns out tasty, beety and beautiful, speckled with shreds of beets. If you love beets, you'll definitely love this bread.

Honey Beet Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup grated raw beets
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • I tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons oil (any vegetable oil)

  1. Whisk together first two ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze out the juice from grated beets. Add grated beets to flour mix.
  3. Add honey to water and mix well. Add yeast and cover for 10 minutes. Yeast  should begin to foam. Add butter.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and knead dough. Keep adding warm milk while kneading to get a very soft and supple dough.
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around dough so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a dry and warm place to rise for 1 hour or until double.
  6. Punch dough and knead for another 4 -5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer dough to a floured counter. Roll it out into a rectangle not bigger than the width of the pan you are using. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place it in a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan with the seam side down.
  8. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave it to rise for 1 hour or till it crests above the rim of the pan.
  9. During the last 10 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till it turns golden from the top and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, cover with a foil.
  11. Remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool in the rack.
  12. Slice next day.

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    Our host this month is Karen Kerr who  blogs at - I admire her baking skills.Thank you, Karen for the interesting theme and for hosting the event.  She chose root vegetables as the theme this month. Follow our Pinterest board right here.Links are also updated each month on this home page.
    This is what we baked this month.........

  • Beetroot Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
  • Caramelized Onion Cheddar Bread from Hezzi-D's Cooks and Books
  • Caramelized Onion Gouda Casatiello from Hostess at Heart
  • Carrot Spiced and Teff Bread from kidsandchic
  • Garlic Cheese Bombs from Sizzling Tastebuds
  • Ginger Sweet Rolls from Passion Kneaded
  • Honey Beet Bread from Ambrosia
  • Korean Onion Bread from Gayathri's Cook Spot
  • Potato Dinner Rolls from Cook's Hideout
  • Pull Apart Onion Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Rustic Parsnip Bread from Food Lust People Love
  • Sourdough Onion Pockets from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Sweet Potato Bread from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
  • Colocasia Root (Taro Root) Flatbread from Mayuri's Jikoni
  • Garlic and Herb Wreath Bread from Herbivore Cucina
  • Stuffed Aloo Parathas from Sneha's Recipes
  • Parsnip, Asiago, and Sage Bread from A Shaggy Dough Story
  • BreadBakers

    If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to [email protected].

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