Hokkaido Milk Bread

May 2020

This is a soft, enriched sandwich bread that my family loves. The tangzhong (milk paste) technique helps the bread stay fresh for a week or two.

This quantities below make two 9x4 loaves, which I usually bake in covered Pullman pans. The recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour, but with less sugar and yeast.


For the tangzhong:

For the dough:


  1. Whisk the tangzhong ingredients in a small pan and cook over low heat until the whisk leaves trails in the bottom of the pan (3–5 minutes). Let the paste cool to lukewarm.
  2. Combine the paste with the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a hook on low speed until the dough begins to come together, then increase to medium speed. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, which may take up to 15m. The dough will still be sticky.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and let rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size, 60–90 minutes.
  4. Gently deflate the dough, then divide into eight equally-sized pieces (170–175g each). Flatten each piece into a 5x8 rectangle, then fold the short ends into the center. Then re-flatten each piece into a slightly smaller 4x6 rectangle and roll it into a 4-inch cylinder. Arrange four cylinders in each loaf pan.
  5. Let dough rise 40–50 minutes, or until it nearly fills the pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Mist the tops of the loaves with water (or brush with milk), cover, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the covers and bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the internal temperature is at least 190F.
  7. Cool loaves in pans for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Don’t slice until the loaves are room temperature!


The elaborate shaping technique really makes a difference in gluten development and the final loaf’s shape—done as described, the loaf fills the pan and has an attractive, even square shape. The difference is even more pronounced when baked in an open pan.