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Japanese milk bread

Japanese milk bread

people icon For 6 euro icon € 0.3 /pers. calories icon 285 kcal/100g


  • For the tangzhong: 15 g. strength flour
  • 45g. whole milk
  • 45g. water
  • For Japanese bread dough: 385 g. strength flour
  • 50g. sugar
  • 160g. milk
  • 60g. butter
  • 1 egg L
  • 5g. freeze-dried dry yeast for making bread (or 15 g. fresh baker’s yeast)
  • 1 tsp. salt

How to prepare Japanese milk bread.

Cooking is a pleasure for me . Whether we are talking about simple or very elaborate recipes, I always enjoy the process. Sometimes, those moments of enjoyment in the kitchen are truly incredible, when I discover inspiring recipes, successfully prepare seemingly complicated dishes, or create perfectly textured doughs. 

The latter is the case of today’s recipe, a Japanese milk bread that is already my favorite dough/ brioche type recipe , I would say that it rivals my favorite sweet dough, the roscón de reyes .

When I talk about Japanese milk bread I am referring to the bread from Hokkaido , the Japanese island that bears the name of this bread . It is on this island where the origin of a cooking technique that is the basis of this recipe, tangzhong, is supposed to have originated.

Tangzhong is a Japanese invention that produces a very soft, moist and spongy bread . It is a porridge based on water and/or water and flour in a 1:5 or 1:6 proportion that when heated forms a starch gel. This gel causes the water to remain inside as if it were captive, which will be what contributes to the bread.

All this explanation will take on new meaning the moment you prepare this bread at home. Getting a dough of this caliber, moist, spongy, flavored and worked, knowing that the percentage of butter and sugar is minimal, is surprising to me.

As a lover that I am of fermented doughs and mainly of brioche bread , this Japanese milk bread and especially the tangzhong technique, I assure you that they are at the level of the best of pastry chefs.

Preparation of tangzhong

  1. In a small saucepan we add the tangzhong ingredients. We incorporate the 45 g. of water, 45 g. of milk and the 15 g. Of flour.
  2. We heat over medium/low heat without stopping stirring. When we see that we have a mixture without lumps and that it has begun to thicken, we remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. We cover the saucepan and let the tangzhong cool so we can use it later.

Kneaded Japanese milk bread

  1. Using the hook accessory, we knead the ingredients until they are integrated into a homogeneous dough.
  2. We add the melted butter and continue kneading. We will work the dough for 15-20 minutes. We will intersperse moments of rest of 3-4 minutes with the machine stopped, which will serve as a rest for the dough. These moments are as important for good kneading as action work.
  3. The dough will be ready when it is very elastic. The ideal would be to achieve the “sheet effect”. We would have to stretch the dough until it is almost transparent between our fingers. In the video you can see what this effect is like.
  4. We place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with transparent paper and let it ferment, in a warm place, for 1 hour.

Japanese milk bread training

  1. After this first fermentation, we turn the dough onto a floured work surface.
  2. We degas the dough to remove any air bubbles that may be inside. To do this, we work it lightly for a few seconds.
  3. That warm place can be inside the oven, turned off and warm.
  4. Once the dough has fermented, we paint the balls with milk.

Baking and final presentation of Japanese bread

  1. With the oven previously heated to 180ºC, with heat from above and below, without a fan, we bake the milk bread for 25 minutes. If we see that it is necessary, we will cover the bread with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning excessively.
  2. We remove the mold from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes on a rack. We unmold and let it cool completely on the rack before enjoying it.

A delicious way to prepare sweet bread at home. You can see all the step-by-step photos in this Japanese bread recipe album.

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