Introduction: How to Make Fluffy and Soft Japanese Milk Bread

About: Hey y'all! My name is Lydia and I want to share my passion for cooking/baking with everyone!

Today we are making Japanese Milk Bread. You may be asking yourself what makes this Japanese Milk Bread any different than any other bread. Well I'm glad you asked, you see this bread is the fluffiest and softest bread you will bite into. The reason that it is so fluffy and soft is because we are making a stater or a roux that is made up of milk, bread flour and water and we are using bread flour which has more protein than all-purpose flour and it results in a more denser and chewier loaf of bread. The starter also is said to help keep the bread fresher for longer because it holds in the moister, I wouldn't know because every time I make homemade bread it's gone after a day or two. We love homemade bread around here, so if you love homemade bread follow along step by step and watch the video tutorial below. Let's go!

This recipe was adapted from Bobs Red Mill


Step 1: Ingredients

Flour Paste/Tangzhong

  • 3 Tbsp Bread Flour (27 g)
  • 2 Tbsp Water (15 g)
  • ¼ cup Whole Milk (60 g)


  • ½ cup Whole Milk warmed to 100°F (120 g)
  • 1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast (10 g)
  • 2 Tbsp Cane Sugar (27 g)
  • 2 ¼ cups Bread Flour (325 g)
  • 1 Egg (50 g)
  • 1 Egg Yolk (20 g)
  • 1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 Tbsp room temperature unsalted Butter (56 g)

Step 2: Making the ​Flour Paste or Tangzhong

To start this recipe, we need to make the starter or the flour paste/tangzhong. The flour paste makes the bread soft and fluffy and last longer than your average bread. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together flour (make sure you are using bread flour), water and milk.

Step 3: Cook Paste

Whisk together flour, water and milk until all the liquid is absorbed and a thick paste forms, about 2–3 minutes. Transfer into a bowl to cool off. I spread the paste out to cool faster. Set it aside.

Step 4: Bloom Yeast

Whisk warm milk, yeast and sugar together and let bloom for 10 minutes while flour paste/tangzhong cools.

Step 5: Add Paste, Yeast, Flour and Eggs

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the cooled flour paste/tangzhong, yeast mixture, bread flour, egg and egg yolk.

You will want to use a standing mixer for this recipe unless you want to get a great arm workout in. I've never personally tried making this recipe without a standing mixer.

Step 6: First Mix

Mix on low for 2–3 minutes, until very little dry flour is visible. You will see that the bread dough comes together. Let dough relax in mixer for about 10 minutes.

Step 7: Second Mix

With the mixer running on low, add in salt and butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until the butter mostly disappears before adding in the next tablespoon. I would stop the mixer and help the butter mix into the dough. Increase speed to medium-low and knead for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 8: Shape Into a Ball

Scrape dough out onto an unfloured surface and shape into a ball. Dough should be bouncy and slightly tacky.

Step 9: Allow Dough to Rest

Lightly oil the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and proof for 1 hour in a warm place.

Step 10: Prepare Loaf Pan

Prepare a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with baking spray and a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the long side of the pan, like a sling. This will help the bread come out easily and hopefully avoiding burning yourself.

Step 11: Divide Dough

Punch down dough and divide into four equal portions. Dough should be bouncy and smooth to the touch, but not stick to your hands. Use a scale to get even portions, I didn't and felt bad because the individual loafs were not even in the finish bread.

Step 12: Form the Dough

Working one piece at a time, roll the portioned dough into a 7 x 3 ¾-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, roll the dough up and away from you as you would a sleeping bag. Repeat with three remaining portions of dough. Place all four portions of dough into prepared pan seam side down.

Step 13: Rest and Bake

Cover and let rest for 30–40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Once risen, bake for 33–35 minutes.

Step 14: Cool and Remove Loaf

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then carefully lift both sides of the parchment to remove the loaf. Let cool completely before enjoying!

Step 15: Enjoy!

Enjoy this fluffy and super soft bread. The texture is incredible and completely different than anything I've made before. It's not sweet but it is a bit creamy from the milk that is used to make the flour paste.

Step 16: Video Tutorial

If you want to watch the video tutorial, watch it here!