Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread

Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread


If you’re a bread enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of Japanese milk bread, also known as shokupan. This delightful creation is renowned for its soft and fluffy texture, making it a favorite among bread lovers worldwide. In this guide, we’ll explore the intricacies of Japanese milk bread, from its unique characteristics to the step-by-step process of creating this heavenly loaf.

What is Milk Bread?

Milk bread, a staple in Japanese baking, is known for its tender crumb and slightly sweet flavor. The inclusion of milk in the dough contributes to its richness and softness. This bread has gained international popularity for its versatility, making it perfect for sandwiches, toast, or simply enjoyed on its own.


Tangzhong vs. Dough Enhancer

Before diving into the recipe, it’s crucial to understand two essential elements in Japanese milk bread-making: tangzhong and dough enhancer.


Tangzhong is a technique that involves creating a water roux by cooking a portion of the flour in water or milk before incorporating it into the dough. This method enhances the bread’s softness and shelf life, ensuring your milk bread stays fresh for an extended period.

Dough Enhancer

Dough enhancers are additives that improve the texture, rise, and shelf life of bread. While tangzhong serves as a natural dough enhancer, commercial dough enhancers are also available for those seeking convenience.

How to Make Japanese Milk Bread (Shokupan)

Make the Dough

Creating the perfect Japanese milk bread starts with preparing the dough. Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, and tangzhong to form a smooth and elastic dough. Allow it to rise until doubles in size, typically taking around 1-2 hours.

Shape and Form the Dough

Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it and divide it into equal portions. Shape each portion into a tight ball or place it in a loaf pan for a classic shokupan shape. Allow the dough to rise again until it reaches the desired size.

Bake and Enjoy!

Preheat your oven and bake the shaped dough until it achieves a beautiful golden-brown color and a hollow sound when tapped. The aroma of freshly baked Japanese milk bread will fill your kitchen, signaling that it’s time to enjoy this delectable treat.

Recipe Tips

  • Use high-quality bread flour for the best texture.
  • Ensure your yeast is fresh for optimal rising.
  • Experiment with different milk varieties to customize the flavor.


Can I use a bread machine for this recipe?

Yes, you can adapt the recipe for a bread machine. Simply follow your machine’s instructions for dough preparation and baking.

How long does Japanese milk bread stay fresh?

When stored in an airtight container, Japanese milk bread remains fresh for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for a longer shelf life.

Can I substitute dairy milk with plant-based alternatives?

Certainly! Feel free to use almond, soy, or oat milk for a dairy-free version of Japanese milk bread.

Is tangzhong necessary for making milk bread?

While tangzhong enhances softness, you can still achieve delicious results without it. Experiment to find your preferred method.

Can I add fillings like chocolate or nuts to the dough?

Absolutely! Customize your Japanese milk bread by incorporating your favorite fillings during the shaping process.

Experiment with this Japanese milk bread recipe, and soon, you’ll be savoring the irresistible taste of soft and fluffy shokupan in the comfort of your home. Happy baking!

Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread

Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread

Soft Sweet Bread Recipe – Indulge in the joy of baking with this delightful soft and sweet bread. Follow simple steps for a homemade treat!
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Bread, Snack, Breakfast
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
Servings 12
Calories 222 kcal


  • 325 g 2 5/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 120 ml 1/2 cup hot milk
  • 30 g 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 g 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 g of dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 25 g 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.


  • Whisk hot milk with sugar, eggs, and yeast.
  • Combine salt with flour and add to liquids.
  • Knead the dough until smooth and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Knead the soft butter into the dough.
  • Set the dough aside for 30 minutes, then
  • cut into pieces and roll each one.
  • Roll the dough into cigars and place it on a baking sheet covered with parchment.
  • Set aside for an hour, brush with egg wash before cooking.
  • Bake at 160C/320F for 20 minutes.


  1. Use Your Oven:
    • Place the dough on the top rack.
    • Set an empty pan on the bottom rack.
    • Pour boiling water halfway up the pan on the bottom rack.
    • Keep the oven door closed to trap heat and humidity, facilitating the proofing process.
    • Leaving the oven light on can provide additional warmth if needed.
  2. Insulated Cooler or Icebox:
    • Add about 1 or 2 inches of hot water to an insulated cooler.
    • Place the dough inside the cooler, ensuring it’s not submerged by propping it on top of another container or board.
    • This creates a warm, moist environment akin to a proofer and is a preferred method for proofing bread at home.
Embrace these tips to enhance your bread-making journey, ensuring your dough achieves the perfect texture and flavor. Happy baking!
Keyword Soft and Fluffy Japanese Milk Bread


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