Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread)

For 2 loaves, you're going to need...

  • Ingredients

  • 672g bread flour

  • 352g water

  • 113g unsalted, room temp. butter

  • 80g dry nonfat milk

  • 64g sugar

  • 24g yeast

  • 24g kosher salt

  • 2 eggs

  • Time

  • About 5 hours total (30 min active)

  • Equipment
  • stand mixer with dough hook
  • 2 Pullman loaf pans (ideally with lids)
  • saucepan
  • whisk or fork
  • rolling pin
  • plastic wrap

Preparation

  • In a saucepan:
  • + 160g water
  • + 32g bread flour

Whisk together until smooth with whisk/fork. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, until mixture comes to a loose pudding-y consistency. Pour off into a bowl or jar and store uncovered in the refrigerator until no longer hot to the touch - about 20 minutes.

Congratulations, you've just made a tangzhong - this is the secret to keeping your bread from going stale and *also* improves the texture.
  • In the stand mixer bowl:
  • + 640g bread flour
  • + 80g milk powder
  • + 64g sugar
  • + 24g yeast
  • + 24g salt

Add ingredients and install bowl in mixer. Set to medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid).

  • Prepare:
  • + cooled tangzhong
  • + 192g water
  • + 2 eggs

Add the tangzhong to the mixer first, then the water, then the eggs.

Run the mixer for 10 minutes.

  • Prepare:
  • + 113g butter

Unwrap and cut the butter into 8 pieces - saving the wrapper to grease your loaf pans. Add them 1 at a time to the mixer, waiting for them to disappear before adding the next one.

Run the mixer for another 10 minutes, then remove and cover the mixing bowl. Set in a warm place until doubled in volume (This has consistently taken me about 2 hours, but I'd encourage you to keep an eye on it).

Meanwhile, butter your loaf pans with the wrapper from the butter (or just a little bit of butter/oil if you forget to keep it).

Once the dough has doubled in volume, it should have a nice, malleable consistency. Scrape out onto a counter and split into 6 even pieces.

Roll each piece out with a rolling pin into a 4" by 8" rectangle, then roll that up on itself into a spiral and place three of these spirals into each loaf pan - spread evenly.

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C. Cover both loaf pans with their lids or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to proof until the pan is about 95% filled (a little over an hour, but again... keep an eye on it.).

Once fully proofed, remove the plastic wrap if using, place both pans in your oven as close to the center as possible. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

If using a lidded pan, carefully pull back the lid with a towel or oven mitt to check the color.

Flip the bread out of the loaf pan onto a counter and then flip it back on its bottom to cool.

Once fully cooled, store wrapped in paper or plastic wrap - should last about 4-5 days.