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2 loafs of uncut ,fully intact, freshly baked Japanese milk bread with a bottle and a glass of milk in the background.

How To Make Japanese Milk Bread using the Tangzhong Method

  • Author: Janice Lalonde
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf


Learn how to make fluffy and delicious Japanese Milk Bread using the Tangzhong method! This easy-to-follow recipe provides step-by-step instructions and helpful tips to ensure your bread turns out perfectly every time.  Japanese Milk Bread, also known as Shokupan, is a white bread made with a high proportion of milk, giving it a soft and fluffy texture. It is usually served as a breakfast or snack item and is often used in making sandwiches and toast. It has a mild, sweet flavor and is popular in many Asian bakeries.  With just a few simple ingredients, you can make this delicious bread in the comfort of your own home. Try it today and enjoy the unique texture and flavor of Japanese Milk Bread!


Tangzhong ingredients

30g of Bread flour

120g of Whole milk

Milk Bread Ingredients

120g of Whole milk

350g of Bread flour

14g of Milk Powder

8g of Instant yeast

56g of Egg

30g of granulated sugar

56g of softened unsalted butter

6g of fine sea salt

Egg wash ingredients

1 Large Egg

1 tablespoon of whole milk


Step 1 – Making Tangzhong 

Take out a microwave-safe bowl, add 120g of whole milk and 30g of bread flour, use a spatula, and mix your ingredients together. Make sure no lumps.   

Step 2 – Cook your Tangzhong 

Put your flour and milk mixture in the microwave and microwave it for 20 seconds; take it out and stir your mixture to ensure they don’t dry up.  Repeat this process a total of 3 times or until the internal temperature of the mixture reach 150F.  Set aside

Step 3 – Cool down the Tangzhong mixture. 

Slowly add half of the cold milk into the cooked Tangzhong mixture, and mix it with helping the mixture cool down to about 95F.  Once the Tangzhong reaches Room temperature between 85F to 95F, add one egg, the other half of the milk, and a packet of instant yeast. Mixed well.  Pour the combined mixture into the stand mixing bowl.

Step 4 – Make the milk bread 

Pour the remaining dry ingredients into a clean stand-mixer bowl, such as bread flour, fine sea salt, and sugar.  Pour the wet Tangzhong mixture into the dry ingredients and use a Danish dough whisk to combine all the mixture together lightly.  Attach the mixing bowl and the dough hook to the stand mixer, and turn your stand mixer on low speed (speed 4) to mix for 5 minutes.   Please make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated together. 

Step 5 – Add in butter and continue to knead and shape the dough

After 5 minutes, increase the speed to level 6 and continue to knead the dough. In the meantime, slowly add your butter to the bowl. One small cube at a time. When you add in the butter, use your finger to gently squish down the butter cubes before you add them to the dough. This way, the butter will be easier to incorporate into the dough.  After you add all the butter cubes, the consistency of the dough will seem very sticky. Don’t worry; let the stand mixer do its magic for another 18 to 20 minutes. The dough should slowly turn into a smooth and elastic consistency.

Step 6 – Perform a windowpane test 

The windowpane test is a way to see if your dough is ready for the first proofing process. To do the test, stretch a small amount of dough from the bowl until it is thin enough to see through. If the dough tears easily, it indicates that gluten development is not ready. To improve gluten development, knead the dough in the stand mixer for 2 to 3 more minutes. If the dough stretches without breaking and forms a thin, translucent sheet, this indicates that gluten development is sufficient. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, sprinkle extra bread flour on the kitchen surface, and knead for a few more minutes to form a ball. 

Step 7 – First Proof  

Get another clean bowl, and lightly drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil in the bowl. Use your hand or a brush to evenly spread a thin layer of oil in the bowl to ensure your dough won’t stick, and place your dough inside. Cover it with either a plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to proof for about 1 hour or until it is double the size. 

Step 8 – Second proof

After the first proof is done, the dough has doubled in size. You can lightly dust flour on the dough and punch it to deflate. Lightly dust your work counter to ensure your dough won’t stick. Put it on your kitchen scale to get the total weight.  Then divide it into three equal parts. Roll them into three dough balls.

Step 9 – Shape your dough.

Once equally separated, knead each ball and roll it into a rectangular shape.  Pull and pinch the dough.  Fold the long side in and roll up the dough like a pinwheel. Repeat the same process on the other two dough balls. Place all three shaped doughs into the Pullman bread pan, giving it space to proof.  Cover the pan with plastic or a clean kitchen towel.  Let it proof for the second time for roughly 45 minutes to an hour or until it doubles the size.

Step 10 – Bake your bread

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Once your dough is double the size, whisk one egg and one tablespoon of milk together to make the egg wash. Brush your bread with a thin layer of egg wash, then bake it at 350F for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. You can insert a kitchen thermometer to test its doneness. The internal temperature should reach 195F.


  • It’s essential to make sure your instant yeast is fresh. Fresh yeast will help the dough to rise correctly. Not only do you always need to check the expiration date. But an opened jar of yeast will only last for 4 to 6 months after it is opened.  Ensure you keep the jar of yeast in the fridge once it is opened.
  • Get yourself a kitchen thermometer for baking.  It can help you monitor your food’s doneness and ensure it is cooked to the proper temperature for the best result.
  • Be patient, and make sure the dough is kneaded for at least 18 to 20 minutes to develop the gluten properly.
  • Make sure to let the dough rise in a warm place; if it’s too cold, the bread will take longer to rise and may not reach its full potential.
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Keywords: Japanese milk bread, Tangzhong, sandwich bread, baking, bread making, dessert,