Fluffy Hokkaido Milk Bread Recipe: How to Make Asian Bread at Home by Chef Gigi
You know those comforting, mouth-watering, snow white, billowy little bread loaves and bread rolls that are the foundation of respectable Asian bakeries? Soft, squeezable buns that pull apart in feather-like layers. Ahhhh, the bread that just melts in your mouth just like cotton candy?
Yes, that's the Hokkaido milk bread I'm talking about. And this fluffy Hokkaido milk bread recipe is how to make that mouth-watering Asian bread at home. Making Hokkaido milk bread at home takes some work, but it's worth it.
You must begin by starting with a tangzhong, also known as a water roux or yu-dane, which is a flour paste used to improve the bread's texture and lengthen its freshness. Serve this delicious bread recipe all by itself for breakfast or as a snack, or use it as sandwich bread for lunch, or as the best side dish ever for dinner.
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Prep Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 10 minutes
Servings: Makes 1 loaf
For the tangzhong, you’ll need:
- 1/3 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup water, at room temperature
Here’s how to make it:
- In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the flour, milk and water until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until it thickens but remains pourable, about 8 to 10 minutes. (As it cools, it will continue to thicken.)
- Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature. This is enough for two batches. Keep half in the fridge covered, but allowed to breathe. Feed it a bit of flour every few days, mixing it in well with any liquid that has accumulated at the top. This will keep it alive and growing.
For the bread dough, you’ll need:
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh active dry yeast or 1 packet
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup warm whole milk, plus extra for brushing on the unbaked loaf (about 105 degrees F, no hotter)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus extra for greasing proofing bowls and baking loaf pan.
Here’s how to make it:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Toss together for a few seconds, just until evenly combined. Add the milk, eggs and 1/2 cup of the tangzhong. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead 5 minutes.
- Add the softened butter and knead another 10 to 12 minutes (it will take a few minutes for butter to be incorporated), or until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit tacky.
- Lightly butter the inside of a medium-sized bowl. Use your hands to lift dough out of mixer bowl onto a clean, dry surface dusted with a bit of flour. Quickly shape into a ball and place in the prepared bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 to 60 minutes.
- Lightly oil your hands. Punch the dough down with your closed fist and then scoop it up in your open hand onto a clean, dry slightly floured surface.
- Using large knife, cut dough in quarters. Very gently form each quarter into a small ball and leave on the clean, dry surface covered with a towel and allow to rise an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat heat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is coming up to temperature, generously butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- Using a lightly flour dusted rolling pin, gently roll the dough balls one at a time into 8x4-inch thick ovals. Be careful not to completely remove all the fluffy Co2 gas created by the yeast.
- Fold the top third of the oval down, then fold the bottom third of the oval up, making a rough-looking square-shaped piece of dough. Starting from the right edge of the rough-looking square, roll up from right to left, creating a spiral-looking cylinder or log. Place the logs in the buttered pan, seam side down and crosswise, nestling into one another.
- Cover again for the last rise. Allow the formed dough to rest 30 to 40 additional minutes or until the dough has risen and is peeking over the edge of the loaf pan, making sure the dough logs are meeting and connected.
- Brush the tops with milk and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven on a sheet pan until golden brown and puffed, about 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool, remove from pan and … pull apart! Mmmmmmm. Enjoy!
Recipe cooking times and servings are approximate. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography. Need to convert cooking and baking measurements? Here are some kitchen conversion charts. Here's how to submit your recipes to 30Seconds.
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