Looking for the softest, fluffiest bread on the planet? It’s in Japan, but now you can make it at home too! Learn the special technique used to give Hokkaido Milk Bread its amazingly fluffy texture.
Early this year, my husband and I took a trip to Japan. Being a vegetarian, finding food became a little difficult, especially with the language barrier! Because of this, we ended up eating A LOT of bread. Loaves of it really. During my time in Japan, I came across Hokkaido Milk Bread which changed my life (yes, it was THAT good!). I’m a carbo-holic and this bread just hit the spot every time.
Hokkaido Milk Bread is the softest and fluffiest bread I’ve ever had. It just melted in my mouth! It’s almost like a bread version of cotton candy. We would just pull off chunks of bread and stuff them in our mouths as we walked around the city.
Homemade Hokkaido Milk Bread
The secret to getting this light texture is using tanzhong. Tanzhong is a roux made with milk and bread flour. When you heat the flour with milk together, the flour absorbs more moisture. The increase in moisture leads to more steam which gives rise to the bread, making it light and airy. Because of the extra moisture, the dough is quite sticky, but it is still manageable. The dough is also rolled up (almost like a cinnamon roll) before it’s placed into your baking pan which also gives the bread a delicate texture, where you have thin sheets of bread woven together, almost like pull-apart bread!
I know looking at the recipe, it can look a little daunting, but I promise you that it’s super easy. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than baking your own bread. It also makes your home smell absolutely amazing. Give it a try on a lazy Sunday morning and your Sunday dinner will be extra special!
- 2 tbsp bread flour
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk or heavy cream
- 2/3 cup of warm whole milk,120-130ºF
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 packet of active dry yeast
- 2 1/3 cup of bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg, for wash
- Add bread flour and milk to small saucepan. Whisk over medium-low heat until the roux starts to thicken. Remove from heat when the whisk starts to leave a trail in the roux or it is 149ºF. Cool for 10 minutes.
- Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with butter and set aside.
- In a large cup, add warm milk, yeast, and sugar and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl for a stand mixer, add bread flour, egg, salt, yeast mixture, and tanzhong. Use a spatula to roughly bring the dough together. Mix with your stand mixer using a dough hook for 5 minutes on medium speed. Then add in the butter and continue mixing on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it springs back immediately after your poke it with your finger. Cover the dough with a tea towel and rest for 1 1/2 hours in a warm, dry place until it has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and separate it into 3 equal dough balls. Take one dough ball and Roll it into a long oval (about 14 x 4 inches). Fold in the long sides toward the middle so that the dough is long and skinny. Flatten with a rolling pin and then roll the dough up into a short, fat roll. Repeat with the other two pieces of dough. Place the rolls seam side down into the greased baking pan. Cover with a tea towel and let it double in size for 1 hour in a warm, dry place.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the middle of the bread is 190ºF. Gently remove the bread from the pan and place on rack until completely cool. Place in an air-tight container for up to 4 days.
Home Chef Tip: Sprinkle pesto or cinnamon sugar onto the dough before you roll it up for its second proof for a sweet or savory flavored bread!
We hope you love this recipe for Homemade Hokkaido Milk Bread from SoFabFood Contributor, Hetal from Milk & Cardamom, as much as we do. If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out our other bread recipes. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!