Hokkaido milk bread recipe

Make this hokkaido milk bread recipe following our step-by-step guide and using the tangzhong method. This milk bread is so fluffy and soft that you’d want to eat it straight from the oven!

When we meet hokkaido bread

During our stay in Japan we had breakfast countless times with this delicious bread. We used to call it “the cotton bread” because its texture was very soft and fluffy.

But, being honest, it was not the first time we ate it. Back when we visited China the first time, we used to have breakfast at a bakery that served amazing cappuccinos and this kind of bread that we loved. It was, in fact, hokkaido bread.

Since then, every time we are in Asia we know that if we look for it, we’ll find this type of soft bread almost at every bakery because is pretty popular.

Why is this bread so soft?

This type of bread is not like any bread or milk brioche that are so common here in Europe; this one is different, it is fluffy, soft, ethereal, it is not sweet nor is it salty.

It is the perfect combination of both. So, I discovered that the texture is due to being prepared with a technique called Tangzhong.

Hokkaido Milk Bread Cut

Tangzhong method

The Tangzhong method is a mixture of 1 part of flour to 5 of water to prepare a gelatinous dough (similar to roux) that once it is rested and at room temperature it will be integrated into the dough for bread.

Although this technique is mainly used to prepare milk bread, it can also be used to make other types of bread, salty and sweet alike.

The reason for the Chinese name of the technique and not Japanese (as would be the correct thing to do) is because it was not until around 2007 when Yvonne Chen, in her cookbook “The 65 ° C Bread Doctor” wrote about this method, becoming so popular (not only in China but in many Asian countries) that in many countries it is known as “Chinese rolls” or “Chinese bread method”.

But true to be told, this method was already widely used in Japan, to be precise in Hokkaido, hence the name of this: Hokkaido Milk Bread Recipe

Important notes before starting

  • You can use all purpose flour, but remember to add less milk since that kind of flour absorbs less liquids that strong flours does.
  • The egg for brushing can be subtract it from the total. After you whisk them remove about two teaspoons of it and mix it with a teaspoon of milk or cream. Actually you need only so little to brush the bread, so don’t need to crack an extra egg.
  • The Tangzhong mixture can be prepared the same day, but it is necessary to give it a little rest after it has cooled down. Two or three hours at room temperature will be enough.
  • Use the proper loaf pan. One at least 4 inches (10cm) deeper. For this particular recipe I used a 9x4x5 inches (22x10x12cm) pan.

Make the Tangzhong recipe:

The night before going to sleep, add flour and water in a sauce pan. Mix until no lumps remains.

Place the pan over medium heat and cook stirring with a spatula until the mixture is thick and the spatula leaves clean lines on the bottom.

Turn off the heat, leave the mixture to reach room temperature (mix from time to time to prevent the mixture from creating a skin on top).

Place the mixture onto a bowl and cover with cling film. Put the wrap directly in contact with the mixture to keep it from drying out.

Place the bowl in the fridge and leave it there overnight. The next morning take out the bowl and let the tangzhong reach room temperature before using it.

Tanhzhong for milk bread

Hokkaido milk bread recipe

Place flour, sugar and yeast on the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix to combine.

Beat lightly the egg and take out 2 tablespoons into a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of milk, whisk and set aside.

Add the remaining egg to the bowl with flour, then the milk and last the tangzhong. Knead at low speed until all ingredients combine.

Add butter and salt, knead at medium high for about 15 minutes until you will have a very soft and elastic dough lightly sticky.

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film (or a damp kitchen towel) and leave it to proof for about 2 hours until it raises three times its size.

The dough on a large bowl.

When the dough has tripled in volume, deflate it with your hand and then place it onto a surface lightly dusted with flour.

The dough proofed after 3 hours.

Divide the dough into six equal parts and form them into balls, they do not have to be perfect.

Try to not handle the dough too much so it won’t deflate more than necessary. Let them rest for 15 minutes covered with cling film.

dough after resting a bit.

Lightly flour a working surface and roll one piece out into a long oval.

japanese milk bread (rolling the dough)
How to make the rolls for hokkaido milk bread recipe.

Fold one end of the oval over the middle, then fold the other end, again over the middle. Take both the narrow ends again and fold them so that it just overlaps the other in the middle. Seal carefully with your fingers to form a fat roll.

Repeat the process with each portion of the dough until you’ll have 6 rolls.

Arrange 3 rolls of dough, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan. Let it proof until almost three times it’s size.

rolls on a loaf pan

Once the rolls are fully proofed, brush them carefully with the egg wash you prepared before.

proofed rolls on a pan
Hokkaido milk bread recipe: The rolls on a loaf pan before baking.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C /350 F for about 25 minutes. If you see the bread getting too brown, cover them with cooking foil for the last 10-5 minutes.

Take out bread from the oven. Leave it to rest still inside the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn it over onto a wire rack and let it cool before eating it.

pan japonés

Hokkaido milk bread recipe

Make this hokkaido milk bread recipe following our step-by-step guide and using the tangzhong method. This milk bread is so fluffy and soft that you’ll want to eat it straight from the oven!
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 30 minutes
TOTAL 16 hours 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2 loafs

Equipment

  • Two 9x4x5 inches (22x10x12cm) loaf pans

Ingredients 

For the Tangzhong

  • 40 g all purpose flour (⅓ cup)
  • 200 ml water (a little less than 1 cup)

For Hokkaido bread

  • 580 g bread flour (4 cups)
  • 70 g white sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 12 g salt (1 ½ tsp)
  • 10 gr yeast (2 tsp)
  • 240 ml whole milk (1 cup)
  • 1 small egg (about 50g)
  • 50 g butter (½ cup)

Instructions

PREPARE THE TANGZHONG:

  • The night before going to sleep, add flour and water in sauce pan. Mix until no lumps remains.
  • Place the pan over medium heat and cook stirring with a spatula until the mixture is thick and the spatula leaves clean lines on the bottom.
  • Turn off the heat, leave the mixture to reach room temperature (which from time to time to avoid drying).
  • Place the mixture onto a bowl and cover with cling film. Put the wrap directly in contact with the mixture to keep it from drying out.
  • Place the bowl in the fridge and leave it there overnight. The next morning take out the bowl and let the tangzhong reach room temperature before using it.

MAKE THE HOKKAIDO BREAD

  • Place flour, sugar and yeast on the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix to combine.
  • Beat lightly the egg and take out 2 tablespoons into a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of milk, whisk and set aside.
  • Add the remaining egg to the bowl with flour, then the milk and last the tangzhong.
  • Knead at low speed until all ingredients combine.
  • Add butter and salt, knead at medium high for about 15 minutes until you will have a very soft and elastic dough lightly sticky.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film (or a damp kitchen towel) and leave it to proof for about 2 hours until it raises three times its size.
  • When the dough has tripled in volume, deflate it with your hand and then place it onto a surface lightly dusted with flour.
  • Divide the dough into six equal parts and form them into balls, they do not have to be perfect.
  • Try to not handle the dough too much so it won’t deflate more than necessary. Let them rest for 15 minutes covered with cling film.
  • Lightly flour a working surface and roll one piece out into a long oval.
  • Fold one end of the oval over the middle, then fold the other end, again over the middle. Take both the narrow ends again and fold them so that it just overlaps the other in the middle. Seal carefully with your fingers to form a fat roll.
  • Repeat the process with each portion of the dough until you’ll have 6 rolls.
  • Arrange 3 rolls of dough, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan. Let it proof until almost three times it’s size.
  • Once the rolls are fully proofed, brush them carefully with the egg wash you prepared before.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C /350°F for about 25 minutes. If you see the bread getting too brown, cover them with cooking foil for the last 10-5 minutes.
  • Take out bread from the oven. Leave it to rest still inside the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn it over onto a wire rack and let it cool before eating it.
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DID YOU ENJOY THIS HOKKAIDO MILK BREAD RECIPE? Check out also this easy beginners no-knead bread.

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