Japanese Milk Bread

Close up view of milk bread roll.

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Japanese milk bread is fluffy, moist and it stays soft for days due to a simple technique called tangzhong. The dough is versatile enough for rolls, sandwich bread and more.


Units Scale


  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Bread Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


  1. Add the ingredients for the tangzhong to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture for 4-5 minutes or until it thickens into a paste. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let sit until it reaches room temperature.
  2. Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add in the warmed milk, heavy whipping cream, tangzhong starter, and egg. Using a dough hook mix the dough on low for 5 minutes. Add the butter and mix an additional 5 minutes. Add additional flour if dough feels too sticky. Turn the speed to medium and continue mixing for another 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and let sit until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Place balls into a greased 9x13" pan. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter if desired.


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