Japanese Milk Bread

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Japanese milk bread also known as Hokkaido milk bread has been so popular because of its soft, fluffy texture with the powdered look. Try this recipe for the best milk bread with soft and fluffy buns!

japanese milk bun

The first time I saw this cute milk bread was on Instagram. A bed of soft, fluffy colorful buns with specks of flour with parchment paper still attached to the sides.

It has gone viral. I don’t know since when. All I know is that almost every bakers online or offline offer this delightful cute buns.

What is Japanese Milk Bread?

Milk bread is incredibly soft, fluffy bread with milky flavor. It has many names. The popular names are Japanese Milk Bun, Japanese Milk Bread, or Hokkaido milk bread.

The puffy bun with a bit of powdered look gives out even softer feeling.

Asian milk bread is traditionally made with Tang Zhong or Yudane method.

Popularity Worldwide

This soft, fluffy milk bread has spread all over the world with the power of social media. The beautiful color and soft touch of flour made it look even tempting.

Japanese Milk Bread emerged in many bakeries worldwide. Everyone interested in baking makes it with their own version and color.

In this article I attach two different kinds of recipes, both resulting in soft, fluffy milky bread. One is with mashed potatoes, another one is with Tang Zhong or Yudane method.

You may rebake both and compare them yourself.

Japanese Milk Bread With Mashed Potatoes

  • 120 gr steamed mashed potato
  • 500 gr high protein flour
  • 80 gr sugar
  • 30 gr milk powder
  • 50 gr condensed milk
  • 10 gr instant yeast
  • 60 gr whipping cream
  • 210 gr fresh milk
  • 60 gr butter
  • 8 gr salt

How To

  • Cut the potatoes in pieces and steam until soft. Mash using a fork.
  • Sieve the mashed potatoes, flour and milk powder into a mixing bowl. Put in sugar, condensed milk, yeast, whipping cream, and fresh milk.
  • Mix using medium speed for 20 minutes. When you can see all the dry ingredients are mixed, put in the unsalted butter and salt. Continue mixing until 20 minutes is over.
  • Put some flour on the working table. Knead the dough for a while.
  • Divide the dough evenly in 4 parts. Give some coloring to each part. The color is up to your preference. Most Japanese Milk Bread have light colors. Mix the color well.
  • Cover with cloth and let it ferment in one hour.
  • After one hour, flatten the dough to let out the air inside. 
  • Divide each color into four small dough. Round each dough.
  • Prepare a 20×20 cm baking pan. Grease it and line it with parchment paper.
  • Roll each dough flat and fill with any fillings you like. Seal tightly.
  • Round the dough and line it with the same color. Cover the shaped dough with a cloth and let it ferment until it doubles its size.
  • Sieve a bit of flour on top of the dough.
  • Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 20-30 minutes. Let it out of the oven. Cool completely.
  • Enjoy the soft and fluffy bread.

Japanese Milk Bread With Tang Zhong Method

Tang zhong/water roux:

  • 125 gr water
  • 25 gr bread flour

Dough:

  • 350 gr bread flour
  • 40 gr sugar
  • 5 gr instant yeast
  • 150 gr warm milk
  • 30 gr unsalted butter
  • 4 gr salt

How To

  1. Mix water and flour in a sauce pan. Mix well using a spatula. Put the sauce pan on a stove, medium heat.
  2. Keep stirring until the batter becomes thick. Pour in a bowl and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  3. After 12 hours, sieve bread flour into a mixing bowl. Put in sugar, instant yeast, and warm milk into it. Put in the Tang Zhong.
  4. Mix with medium speed for 20 minutes. After the dry ingredients are mixed, put in butter and salt.
  5. Continue mixing until 20 minutes is over. Divide the dough into four parts and put some colorings.
  6. Knead with your hands. Put in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it ferment for one hour.
  7. After one hour, press the dough to inflate the air.
  8. Divide each color into 4 pieces. Round the dough and fill with fillings. Seal tightly and line them up in a 20×20 cm baking pan.
  9. Don’t forget to line the baking pan with parchment paper. Cover with a cloth and let it ferment and double its size.
  10. Sieve some flour on top.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 20-30 minutes.
  12. Let out from the oven and cool completely.
  13. Enjoy!

Tips & Trick

  • Steam the potatoes and puree while still hot. You can use food processor to mash the potatoes.
  • Cold whipping cream and milk is highly recommended.
  • Butter is better in room temperature so it is already soft but not too soft.
  • You can use mixer to mix in colors or use hands to knead until color dissolves evenly.
  • After fermentation, flatten the dough to let out the air inside. 
  • After filling the dough, pinch the dough tightly so the filling doesn’t come out during the baking process. 
  • Cool the bread down and cover with plastic, it can stay fresh up to 5 days. Keep in the chiller in a tight container.

Storage and Shelf Life

The bread can stay fresh up to 3 days in room temperature, as long as you keep it in a closed container or a plastic bag. If you would like to keep it longer, you’d better keep it in the chiller. It can stay fresh up to 7 days.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What makes Japanese Milk Bread different from regular white bread?

A: The combination of milk, butter, and Tang Zhong method gives a soft, fluffy textur. This gives a distinct sweetness and tenderness, making it different from regular white bread. Moreover, the Japanese milk bread is filled with fillings and shaped into small colorful buns with specks of flour.

Q: Can I make this bread without Tangzhong and still have it soft and fluffy?

A: Yes, you can. In fact, this recipe calls for mashed potoatoes that helps with making the texture soft and fluffy.

Q: How long does the bread stay fresh?

A: Japanese milk bread stays fresh for about 2-3 days in room temperature, provided it is kept in a sealed container or in a plastic bag. You can refrigerate it to prolong its freshness.

Q: Can I use non-dairy milk in the recipe?

A: Yes, you can use non-dairy milk like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk if you prefer. However, the flavor might differ slightly.  

Q: Why is my bread not as fluff as expected?

A: Several factors can affect the fluffiness such as over fermentation or not enough time for proofing or inaccurate oven temperature.

Q: Can I add other mix-ins into the dough like chocolate chips or raisins?

A: Absolutely! Feel free to experiment. If you want to add mix-ins, please be cautious about the quantity. Do not add too many for it might affect the structure.

Please feel free to tag me on my Instagram if you happen to make this bread! I will be very happy to comment!

Other Japanese recipes you might like:

japanese milk bun

JAPANESE MILK BUN

Yield: 16 pcs
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Japanese Milk Bun is a viral bread recipe on Instagram, very popular for its softness and fluffiness. Here is the recipe to make your own at home!

Ingredients

  • 120 gr steamed mashed potato
  • 500 gr high protein flour
  • 80 gr sugar
  • 30 gr milk powder
  • 50 gr condensed milk
  • 10 gr instant yeast
  • 60 gr whipping cream
  • 210 gr fresh milk
  • 60 gr unsalted butter
  • 8 gr salt

Instructions

    1. Cut the potatoes in pieces and steam until soft. Mash using a fork.
    2. Sieve the mashed potatoes, flour and milk powder into a mixing bowl. Put in sugar, condensed milk, yeast, whipping cream, and fresh milk.
    3. Mix using medium speed for 20 minutes. When you can see all the dry ingredients are mixed, put in the unsalted butter and salt. Continue mixing until 20 minutes is over.
    4. Put some flour on the working table. Knead the dough for a while.
    5. Divide the dough evenly in 4 parts. Give some coloring to each part. The color is up to your preference. Most Japanese Milk Bread have light colors. Mix the color well.
    6. Cover with cloth and let it ferment in one hour.
    7. After one hour, flatten the dough to let out the air inside.
    8. Divide each color into four small dough. Round each dough.
    9. Prepare a 20x20 cm baking pan. Grease it and line it with parchment paper.
    10. Roll each dough flat and fill with any fillings you like. Seal tightly.
    11. Round the dough and line it with the same color. Cover the shaped dough with a cloth and let it ferment until it doubles its size.
    12. Sieve a bit of flour on top of the dough.
    13. Bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 20-30 minutes. Let it out of the oven. Cool completely.
    14. Enjoy the soft and fluffy bread.



Notes

  • Steam the potatoes and puree while still hot. You can use food processor to mash the potatoes.
  • Cold whipping cream and milk is highly recommended.
  • Butter is better in room temperature so it is already soft but not too soft.
  • You can use mixer to mix in colors or use hands to knead until color dissolves evenly.
  • After fermentation, flatten the dough to let out the air inside. 
  • After filling the dough, pinch the dough tightly so the filling doesn’t come out during the baking process. 
  • Cool the bread down and cover with plastic, it can stay fresh up to 5 days. Keep in the chiller in a tight container.

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