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Soft and fluffy milk bread (shokupan) with golden crust.
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5 from 46 votes

Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread

Try this milk bread recipe for the softest, fluffiest homemade milk bread! Also known as Japanese milk bread, Hokkaido milk bread, or shokupan.
Prep Time1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Baked Goods, Breakfast
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
Servings: 12
Calories: 222kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Mix: Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Add all the ingredients except the butter. Mix on low until there's no more dry flour. Then add the butter and beat on high speed.
    The dough is ready when it forms into a ball and the surface is smooth and glossy. Check for proper gluten develop using the window pane test (See Note 2). Timing will vary but it took me 10 to 13 minutes.
    Window pane test for gluten development.
  • Proof: Form the dough into a smooth round ball and place into a see through proofing container that's been coated with oil. Proof until doubled in size in a warm, humid environment. See Note 3.
    Dough proofing in a translucent container.
  • Bench rest: On a well floured surface, divide the dough into 6 even pieces and roll each into a ball. Loosely cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    Milk bread dough divided into even pieces and resting.
  • Shape: Roll each ball into an oval shape. Flip it over so the surface (crust) is on the bottom and do a letter fold (2 folds). Then roll it up to form a spiral and then pinch the seam closed. Place three spirals in each 1 lb loaf pan. Repeat for the other pieces (See step by step photos in recipe post above).
    Milk bread dough shaped and rolled into a spiral.
  • Final proof: Proof in a warm humid place until doubled in size or it's 1 cm below the rim of the loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 356° F.
    Milk bread dough proofing in loaf pans ready to bake.
  • Bake: Bake at 356° F for 25 minutes or until it gets a golden brown crust. For a shiny, golden crust: Immediately after removing from the oven, brush on an egg wash coating for a shiny crust. Crack an egg in a small bowl and mix well. Using a pastry brush, apply a thin coating to the crust. The heat from the bread will cook the egg, giving you a shiny golden crust.
    Milk bread loaves baked in the oven with golden brown crust.

Notes

  1. Dough enhancer - Though optional, I highly recommend using this for the softest, fluffiest bread. It's used by professional bakers to achieve that soft, light, and fluffy texture. It's similar to using Tangzhong or yu-dane, but has better consistency with professional results. Carefully follow the instructions that come with the packet as they can vary. The recipe amount is based off of the brand I used which is 1% of the total weight of the bread flour.
  2. Window pane test - Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the dough. Grab a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. It should be translucent enough to see your fingers through it. 
  3. Proofing environment - If you don't have a proofer, you can leave the dough covered in a warm, humid place out of direct sunlight. Some suggestions: 
    1. Use an oven: Place the dough on the top rack of your oven and an empty pan on the bottom rack. Pour boiling water halfway up the pan on the bottom rack and keep the oven door closed. This will create enough heat and humidity to proof the dough. You can also leave the oven light on if you need more heat.
    2. Use an insulated cooler or icebox: Add about 1 or 2 inches of hot water to an insulated cooler. Place the dough inside the cooler but make sure it's not submerged in water by propping it on top of another container or board. This will create a warm, moist environment similar to a proofer. This is my preferred way to proof bread at home. 
This recipe makes 2 loaves of milk bread, using two 1lb loaf pans. 
Leftovers: I recommend pre-slicing the bread and storing in an airtight container in the freezer. Re-heat up by placing in the toaster or toaster oven. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg