Baking Bliss: The Ultimate Japanese Milk Bread Experience

If you’ve made Japanese milk bread before, you know it can be tricky. Homemade bread often lacks that fresh-from-the-oven texture. However, the roux starter gives this recipe its signature texture. While it’s true that the roux starter is a time-consuming process, the end result is worth it. With the proper ingredients, Japanese milk bread can be a delicious treat. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create the perfect batch of bread every time.

Japanese Milk Bread Recipes

Japanese Milk Bread
Freshly baked japanese milk bread – a testament to the joy of homemade goodness.
Baking Bliss: The Ultimate Japanese Milk Bread Experience 1

Japanese Milk Bread

Japanese Milk Bread is a soft, yeasty bread that is popular all over Japan. Just follow the directions in the recipe to perfection and enjoy your homemade Japanese Bread!
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Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Japanese
Diet: Low Calorie
Keyword: milk bread
CookingStyle: Baking
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 106kcal
Author: James Anderson
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The Rest of Loaf


  • In a shallow saucepan, combine the water and bread flour for the tangzhong. After switching on the oven, blend until smooth and no chunks remain.
  • Heat the flour mixture gently on medium-low pressure, stirring continuously, till it hardens.
  • When you swirl it, you can see trails formed by the spatula.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  • In a big mixing dish, combine the rest of the ingredients (milk, yeast, flour, sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg).
  • Insert the cooled tangzhong.
  • Combine all of the components in a blender, then knead by hand on a baking sheet. If necessary, insert some more flour.
  • Move the dough to a finely oiled bowl until it is no longer messy.
  • Cover and set aside to rise in a warm location until doubled, approximately 1 hour.
  • Knock back the flour and slice it into three parts until it has grown.
  • Place the remaining pieces to the sides and from one into a sphere.
  • Stretch one part of the bread midway over the available dough, then spread the other half on top, creating three levels.
  • If necessary, lightly rub the ball of bread, then roll it up like a cinnamon roll. Cover and set aside to climb until the loaf is just above the pan's rim.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius.
  • Clean the top of the bread with egg wash after lightly beating the egg.
  • Bake the loaf for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • If it starts to brown too quickly, tent it with parchment for the last few minutes of preparation.
  • Allow cooling on a wire rack before cutting.



When baking Japanese Milk Bread, reroll the dough and smooth out the surface evenly. You can use your hand to make claw shapes or to shape the dough into the shape of a loaf. The claw shape will allow you to control the creases better. The result is a beautiful, springy bread that will be loved by everyone. This is due to the roux starter that gives it that distinct texture. 
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Serving: 1serving | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
© Food And Meal

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the Spoonacular Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

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Alternative Method: Making Japanese Milk Bread Using a Bread Machine

Japanese Milk Bread
Creating the magical tangzhong – the secret to soft and fluffy bread.


  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)


  • In a small bowl, combine warm milk and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir gently, and let it sit for about 10 minutes until frothy.
  • In the bread machine pan, add the yeast mixture, bread flour, heavy cream, softened butter, and salt.
  • Select the “Basic” or “White Bread” setting on your bread machine. If available, choose the medium or light crust color.
  • Start the machine and let it work its magic. This usually takes about 3 hours.
  • Once the bread machine cycle is complete, carefully remove the bread, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
  • When the bread is slightly cooled, use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of beaten egg on the loaf’s surface.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the egg-washed bread in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Tips for making Japanese Milk Bread

Japanese Milk Bread
Japanese milk bread transforms into french toast, a sweet and indulgent treat.

Cooking Tips

  • Precise Measurements: Use a kitchen scale to ensure accurate measurements. This is especially crucial for the flour, which can greatly affect the bread’s texture.
  • Tangzhong Technique: Don’t skip the Tangzhong step; it’s the secret to the bread’s softness. Be patient while making it; it should have a pudding-like consistency.
  • Kneading Time: When kneading by hand or using a bread machine, follow the recommended time. Over-kneading can result in a dense loaf.
  • First Rise: Ensure the dough’s first rise is in a warm, draft-free place. This is crucial for yeast activation and optimal rising.
  • Gentle Handling: Handle the dough gently, especially when shaping the loaf. Rough handling can deflate the dough and affect its final texture.
  • Skipping the Tangzhong: It’s tempting to skip the Tangzhong method, but this is the key to that signature Japanese Milk Bread softness. Don’t omit it.
  • Overheating Milk: Ensure the milk is just warm, not hot, when activating the yeast. Hot milk can kill the yeast.
  • Rushing the Rising: Don’t rush the rising process. The bread needs time to develop its wonderful texture.
  • Overbaking: Keep an eye on the bread while in the oven. Overbaking can result in a dry loaf. It should be lightly golden.
  • Storage Mistakes: Once cooled, store your bread in an airtight container or a plastic bag. Leaving it exposed can lead to moisture loss.

Serving Suggestions

Japanese Milk Bread
Delicate tea sandwiches made with japanese milk bread – a perfect companion for afternoon tea.

Recommended Sides and Garnishes:

  • Slather a slice with sweetened condensed milk for a sweet, creamy treat.
  • Pair it with a variety of spreads like butter, honey, or fruit preserves.
  • Toast a slice and top with avocado, a poached egg, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a savory breakfast.
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Different Ways to Serve:

  • Turn your Japanese Milk Bread into the ultimate French toast. Dip thick slices in a mixture of eggs, milk, and cinnamon before frying them up.
  • Slice it thin for dainty tea sandwiches. Fill with cucumber, cream cheese, or smoked salmon for a delightful snack.
  • Cube and use for croutons in soups or salads. They’ll add a delightful crunch and a hint of sweetness.

FAQs about Japanese Milk Bread

Japanese Milk Bread
Japanese milk bread croutons – adding a touch of sweetness to your salad.
  • Can I store Japanese Milk Bread for later? Yes, you can! Store it in an airtight container or a plastic bag to keep it fresh. If it becomes slightly stale, revive it by toasting or warming in the oven.
  • What’s the role of the Tangzhong in this recipe? The Tangzhong method involves creating a water-and-flour roux. It helps retain moisture in the bread, resulting in a softer, fluffier texture.
  • My bread didn’t rise well. What could be the issue? Inadequate yeast activation, over-kneading, or insufficient rising time can lead to poor rising. Ensure your yeast is fresh, don’t overwork the dough, and be patient with rising.
  • Can I freeze Japanese Milk Bread? Yes, you can freeze it. Slice and wrap individual pieces in plastic wrap before placing them in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature or in a microwave.
  • Is it possible to make this bread with whole wheat flour?While traditional Japanese Milk Bread uses white bread flour, you can experiment with whole wheat flour, but it will yield a denser loaf with a different flavor profile. Adjust the liquid accordingly.

Unlock the magic of soft Japanese Milk Bread with our step-by-step recipe. Share this mouthwatering delight and subscribe to our blog for more culinary inspiration!

I'm James F Anderson, a noted sous chef from London and a Le Cordon Bleu alumnus. My career began in a Michelin-starred Parisian eatery, where my blend of classic and contemporary cooking, using seasonal ingredients, earned accolades. Recognized in culinary publications and on cooking shows, I’m committed to mentoring aspiring chefs and delivering memorable dining experiences, marking me as a standout talent in the culinary world.

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