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Milk bread loaf in baking pan

Milk Bread (Shokupan)

  • Author: Betty
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Proof Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread


Units Scale


  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. all-purpose flour

Yeast Dough:

  • 1/2 cup milk (cow or almond)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk or water



  1. Make the tangzhong. Pour water into a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and add the flour. Whisk until combined. Continue to whisk as the mixture heats up. Remove the pan from the heat once a roux, or loose paste, is formed and the whisk leaves a clear trail on the bottom of the pan. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Make the yeast dough. Heat the milk in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds or until body temperature (around 98 F/36 C). Add the yeast and stir until dissolved. Let it sit for a few minutes until foamy. Tip the yeast mixture, flour, salt, sugar, egg, and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir with a large spoon to combine. Mix the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until it comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl using the dough hook attachment. You may need to add a sprinkle of flour if it is too tacky. 
  3. Proof the dough. Gather it up out of the mixer, shape it into a loose ball, and place it inside a large bowl that has been sprayed or lightly greased with oil. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and bake it the next day. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size if you are baking it the same day.
  4. Shape the dough. Punch down the dough and hand knead it for a minute or two. 
    • Loaf bread: Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside. Divide the dough equally into 3 pieces. Knead each piece a few times. Taking one piece, pat or roll it out into a large oval shape. Fold up the bottom third towards the middle and fold down the upper third towards the middle, like you would fold a letter to go inside an envelope. Turn the dough so the short end is facing you and roll it up into a short, fat log. Place seam side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with the other two pieces. 
    • Buns: Grease an 8x8 square pan or 7x11 small rectangle pan. Divide the dough equally into 6 pieces for large buns or 9 pieces for smaller ones. Knead each piece a few times. Roll one piece into a ball and place it in the prepared pan. Repeat with the other pieces. 
  5. Proof the dough for a second rise. Cover it with lightly greased plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot. Let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the dough has risen over the top of the pan. If your dough was kept overnight in the fridge, it will take longer to rise, closer to 2 to 2 ½ hours. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F/176 C and move the oven rack to the center position. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough. Mix the egg and liquid to prepare the egg wash. Gently brush the dough with egg wash. Place the pan in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes, give or take 5 minutes. Bread is done when the tops are golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan. After 5 minutes, immediately remove the bread from the pan and place it on a wire rack to finish cooling. Time yourself and see how long you can resist eating these while they are warm.