Japanese Milk Bread is all the rage on social media right now and you can see why. It’s like the fluffiest, bounciest loaf of bread that you’ll ever eat. It makes for great sandwiches but I think it works best toasted. It’s a very similar recipe to Jewish challah bread or brioche but it’s just slightly fluffier that both and the reason for this is the roux-like tangzhong ‘starter’ that does something ‘sciency’ to the bread. However and whatever it does, it seems to work and it’s also ridiculously easy to do, so worth every minute for these spectacular results.
For the tangzhong
- 2 tablespoon bread flour
- 6 tablespoon water
For rest of Milk Bread
- 120ml milk
- 2 tablespoons honey – I love the dark honey from Rowse.
- 1 large egg
- 300g strong bread flour
- 1 sachet (7g) fast action dried yeast
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg – beaten (for the glaze)
You will need 1 x 2lb loaf tin which should be greased and lined.
Make the tangzhong
To make the tangzhong put water and flour in a small sauce pan and mix until smooth, then place the pan on a medium to low heat.
Warm the roux gently, stiring all the time, until it thickens. You should see trails left by the spoon as you stir it. Set the pan aside to cool.
Meanwhile place the milk and butter into a jug and microwave gently until the butter melts. Set aside to cool. Both the roux and milk must be lukewarm at the most before you start to make the bread.
Once they are cool, pour the buttery milk into the tangzhong roux, add the egg and the honey and stir together until all the liquids have combined.
Measure out the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and pour in the tangzhong. Mix all the ingredients together then knead, either in a stand mixer or by hand. This should take no more than 10 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl or tuppaware container. Cover and leave to rise in a relatively warm place until doubled – roughly 1 hour.
Forming the milk bread
Once it has risen, knock back the dough, divide into three pieces. Set the other pieces to one side and roll one piece into a tight ball. I do this by flattening out the ball first, then gather in the sides of the ball to the middle, then flip the ball over and scoop the sides inwards to create a neat and tight ball. Place the ball into the loaf tin. Repeat with the other balls.
Cover and leave to rise again until the loaf is just reaching the top of the pan. Preheat oven to 175C / 350F. Lightly beat the egg and brush the top of the loaf with egg wash.
Bake the loaf for approx 30 minutes until golden brown. Turn onto a cooling rack to cool before slicing.
For more bread recipes, check these out on Dom in the Kitchen.
Eat and of course, enjoy!