Words and photos united /-/ Saffron and pumpkin melon pan (bread)


If you are a fan of food blog sites, you probably have stumbled upon this one via two of the most used food photography sites. I adore these websites and treasure the valuable resource they are to food bloggers like myself.

 I am not sure if this message was drilled into while I took primary school remedial English or the fear of failing the “MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER” HSC *cough*; never settle on “plain” words to describe objects. 



Lately I have been paying particular attention to the words used in description boxes. I know most of you guy would only go there for pretty food photography or “money shots”(Argh, hate this term and the predictable nature of it); none the less I feel the description box is being undervalued.

While I know in a visual media like the internet, pictures play a pivotal role in conveying emotions and tone, words are important too! Just last night I was watching the Melbourne comedies “Great debate” in Australia with the topic are words more/less powerful than actions. Yes it was in comedic fun but it does raise some key points for the case that words are powerful. 

  • The universal and unambiguous understanding: With a the universal translator now; the internet passages are no longer bound by language.
  • The emotional effect of words to elevate or depress the soul

I am not great at linguistics; funny how I took to blogging but that’s another story. Words are to key to explain what your actions (or in this case) what your food photography is about. While you can tell a story through the setup, lighting and overall mood of the food plating; the thing about taste, texture and the memories that come with food can only be reach by using related descriptive words. 




One of favourite past times is to read food articles; they do not have to be long but if you are a great writer the mood is completed in one paragraph.
Yes, just one. 

Some of these are some I pick up on just the other day

I have no idea but when did the words SO GOOD!! become acceptable? If I described something as SO GOOD! during my schooling years I would of have been bagged out and marked down.

“To die for” and “need I say more”? Really? Your photography does not need words? You are that pretentious to think that your photography is so prefect?

Also the exclamation point is not attractive. If you are using an exclamation point every time you describe something; you need to get your ears checked.

The list could go on and on depending on patience level but maybe food gawker or taste spotting should bring out a course in food description writing.


A lot of the food I cook/bake in my kitchen has a back story. I might not always be willing to tell the history I have with it but be rest assured one day when I am confident enough to post the stories, I will. I am not picking on anyone as I am aiming to rid my own writing of these over used phrases but at least I am acknowledging there is a problem!


Food bloggers; food lovers! You food deserves a better word that just good! Pick up a thesaurus and label them with a description you can wear with pride! *Wooden spoons up*


Japanese “melon” pan is a popular among all ages due to it attractive presentation (it looks like a melon) and the signature cookie crust. I tried to roll mine in sugar but it sank into the dough; so to compensate I just used egg wash. 


Tinted gold with threads of delicate saffron; this bread bun is unlike any other Asian bakery bread. The texture is the same but flavour different. Shreadable threads and pillowy thanks to the glutinous dough in the early processes of kneading. The texture of the crusted sweeten short bread topping provides crunch but melts in o the bread as you eat it. I can only compare it to sweet butter when it is melting your mouth.

Saffron is hard to describe without sounding like a “foodie” but I will take a quote from a famous french man. “Do not try to compare it; Simply savour the taste of saffron in all it golden glory”
Pumpkin, well, is an accident that it went in the first place but helps the sweetness, colour and texture of the bun. Like potatoes pumpkin used in a small amount helps the bread keep it softness past the typical overnight shelf life. If you want you could leave it out completely but that would change the colour again.

Yes this bread does take work; however can you compare the feeling of having a success loaf of fresh bread coming out the oven then see others enjoy it? I don’t think so. Also Chinese’s New year great time to break out your heavy machinery and saffron; and enjoy a bun of luxury. 


Saffron and pumpkin melon pan (bread)
Adapted from Happy home baking and Christine recipes
Makes about 18

150ml full fat milk
A pinch (4-5 threads) saffron
160g tangzhong
120g steam mashed pumpkin
1 egg
20g milk powder
20g caster sugar
30g condensed milk
4g salt
490g bread flour
6g dry yeast
45g butter, cubed and soften

Cookie cover
100g unsalted butter, cubed and soften
90g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
170g flour
20g corn flour
20g custard powder
3g baking powder
1g salt
Optional: After baking Roll in caster

Before making bread make saffron infused milk. In a small sauce pan bring the milk to the boil and whisk gently in your saffron threads, so that the colour begins to turn it yellow. Leave it to get luke warm then strain in a another bowl. Set a side

Before making bread make the glutinous pre dough; In a small sauce pan combine 250ml water with 50g bread flour. Over low heat whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 65C or begins to pull away from the sides of pan. Set aside to cool before using. NOTE: you will only need about half for this so you can try another bread with the remainder.

Making Bread
In a stand mixer combine all the ingredients but the soften butter for the bread. Knead the dough together with the dough hook until it pulls away from the sides (this can take up to 25 minutes Once pulling away from the sides of the bowl or becomes less sticky, add you cubes of butter to the dough. Continue kneading until it is absorbed. The dough should be very shiny and no longer sticky; place in an oil bowl covered with cling wrap to proof for 1-2 hours on a hot day.

Make the cookie cover

In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes or until it is light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk one at time ; beating well between each addition.
Fold in your flour, corn flour, custard powder and salt to the butter mix until it forms a soft dough. Divide this into 40g balls and set aside on a lined baking tray. Fridge for 30 minutes to get a little bit harder,

Between two sheets of cling film; roll each the soft dough to a circle with a diameter of 10cm. Return to the fridge until needed.
Once bread has doubled in size punch down and divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. Take out your cookie dough rounds.

Line two trays with baking paper and roll each dough ball into a round shape. With each dough ball pinch in a cookie cover on to the dough ball, making sure to leave a bit of room at the bottom for expanding.

Pinch the bottom of the bun and gently roll in caster sugar. Do this for all the dough balls and place on a lined baking tray, cover with cling film and leave to proof until doubled in size.

Pre heat oven to 180C. Remove cling film and bake each tray for 18 -20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.

'Words and photos united /-/ Saffron and pumpkin melon pan (bread)' have 10 comments

  1. January 20, 2014 @ 5:21 pm Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I’m all for using a thesaurus! Lovely bread, the saffron and pumpkin give it such a wonderful color!


    • January 21, 2014 @ 3:11 pm Belinda Lo

      Laura, thanks for your support. The colour one of my fave parts about this bread.


  2. January 20, 2014 @ 9:33 pm Irene

    I do agree with you for most parts. But I myself am often guilty of having lazy days where I just feel like typing try this recipe, it’s good, trust me. But reading this, you’ve made me think alot more about being a good representative of the food I make and that yes we have to be proud of it! Gorgeous flavours and photographs too by the way!


    • January 21, 2014 @ 3:13 pm Belinda Lo

      Now. now It is Ok to have lazy days but I think food that people make are so good that their lack of description disappoints it. We put so much effort into making it I am sur a bit more would not hurt us.
      Thanks Irene for your imput.^_^


  3. January 21, 2014 @ 1:33 am Dina

    i like melon bread. this looks great!


    • January 21, 2014 @ 3:14 pm Belinda Lo

      Me too. It is so sweet and delicious.
      Thank you Dina!


  4. January 21, 2014 @ 11:32 am Trisha

    Looks incredible! so rich looking x


    • January 21, 2014 @ 3:15 pm Belinda Lo

      Yep! Only the best for Chinese new year! Thank you trisha


  5. January 30, 2014 @ 6:53 pm Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Gosh, Belinda! Your melon pan is out of the world! I LOVE it and looks gorgeous! It’s always my favorite and I need to study how to make the classic version soon. 🙂


    • January 31, 2014 @ 1:27 pm Belinda Lo

      The classic version is definitely one of those staple bread recipes. I am sure your kids would love if you could pack them a bento with these little buns as well (since you bentos are already mega awesome!)


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