I was actually challenged to make this bread by a Twitter user and I'm glad that I took it up. Japanese Milk Bread is the best milk bread I've ever made and eaten. It's so soft, light, and moreish. There is a little more work involved when making this bread compared to a standard milk loaf as you need to follow the Tangzhong method. This is where you make a paste consisting of flour and water before you make the main bread dough. It is worth it though as this is what makes the bread so great.
Makes 1 loaf
Hands-on Time 1 hour
Proving Time +2 hours
Baking Time 30 minutes
240ml plus 2 tbsp Full-fat milk
375g Strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
2 tsp Fast-action yeast
40g Caster sugar
1 tsp Fine sea salt
35g (plus extra for greasing) Unsalted butter (softened)
1 Egg, medium (beaten)
Oil for greasing (Flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)
1 Egg yolk, medium
2lb Loaf tin
Knife or dough scraper
Add 120ml of milk and 25g of flour to the saucepan and mix together using a spatula.
Place over a medium heat and stir continuously. You will find the paste will start to cook and will thicken and dry out, similar to making a choux paste.
If you’re worried about it catching, take the pan off the heat now and then as you stir. You don’t need to rush this.
Leave the paste in the pan, off the heat, whilst you prepare your main dough ingredients.
Place the remaining 350g of flour into the large bowl.
Add the yeast to one side and add the sugar, salt, beaten egg, and 35g of softened butter to the other.
Add the paste to the bowl.
Using one hand, slowly combine the ingredients. Using your other hand, gradually add the remaining 120ml of milk.
Once you’ve added all of the milk and all of the mixture has combined, tip it out onto a clean surface.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is soft and smooth.
Clean the bowl and lightly grease with oil.
Add the dough to the bowl, cover with clingfilm, and leave to prove until doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, prepare the tin.
Lightly grease the loaf tin.
Cut a strip of baking parchment to line the sides and bottom of the tin, allow some overhang to help you lift the bread out when it has baked.
Remove the clingfilm and knock the air out of the dough.
Tip out onto a clean surface and cut in half using the knife or dough scraper.
Roll one half of the dough out into a long, thin, strip, at least 60-70cm long and 20cm wide.
Fold the outsides of the dough into the middle so they are touching.
From one end, roll the dough up like a Swiss roll.
Place this into the left side of the tin and repeat with the other half of the dough, placing this into the right side.
Lightly grease a piece of clingfilm with oil and cover the tin.
Leave the loaf to double in size.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C(Fan)/350°F/Gas mark 4.
When the loaf has proved, remove the clingfilm.
In a mixing bowl add the egg yolk and 2 tbsp of milk and mix together using the pastry brush.
Lightly brush all of the exposed dough.
Pop the tin into the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes.
When the time is up the loaf should be gloriously golden. If you are able to tap the bottom of the loaf it will sound hollow although it’s quite a delicate and may be too hot to get out of the tin.
Leave to sit in the tin on a wire rack to cool down.
After 30 minutes, lift the bread out of the tin and leave to sit on the wire rack.
I would recommend waiting until the bread has completely cooled. It’s perfect with jam for breakfast and served with tea. With that being said it’s delicious toasted and smothered with butter.