Japanese Milk Bread

This has almost the same texture as brioche but uses less butter.

Japanese Milk Bread


40g flour
200g water

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
50g sugar
260g milk
580g flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons milk powder
50g butter


The tangzhong
Place a pan on medium-low heat, 40g flour, 200g water and cook. First its lumpy but continue stirring with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula. Then it becomes watery, and then it becomes like a paste. Cook the paste a little and then take it off the heat. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Mixing the bread
In a small bowl, heat 260g milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. To the warm milk add 2 teaspoons (10g) yeast, 50g sugar. Leave the yeast to bloom.

In a large bowl mix 580g flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 1/2 teaspoons milk powder and mix. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast-milk, 1 large egg and the tangzhong. Mix until combined. Then add 50g butter.

Transfer to the work surface and knead for 15 minutes until it is smooth. When the dough doesn’t stick to the counter and looks quite smooth and elastic, transfer it to the bowl. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for 1 hour or 2. It is ready when it has doubled in size, and when you poke your finger deep into the dough, the hole is left on the dough.

Transfer to the work surface and divide the dough in two. And then, take one of the two halves and divide it into 3. Do similarly with the other one. Now you have 6 pieces of dough. Cover the rest of the dough with cling film.

Take one piece of dough and fold and tuck and fold and tuck into a smooth ball. Do the same with all the pieces of dough until you have 6 smooth balls. Leave to rest covered by cling film for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, flatten each piece with your fingers into a small, almost round shape (no one is judging). Then roll it (like a cigar (as seen in movies)). Put the three short fat sausage dough batches in one loaf pan. These will eventually look like 3 mini loaves in one pan. Repeat with the remaining 3.

Preheat the oven to 350F or 160C.

Leave the two loaves to rise for 30 minutes or until they almost reach the edge of the loaf pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

The first time one tries a recipe, it probably turns out really good. Usually because you are careful to follow the instructions, or at least are very conscious of the substitutions you are making and the steps you are taking. But then the next few times that you bake whatever it is, it doesn’t turn out as great. And that is usually because there could be a little case of over-confidence.

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