Incredibly soft, fluffy and airy milk bread. These buns are tender, but chewy and so perfect to be paired with jam or dunk in coffee.
When I said that I am baking different kinds of bread lately, I mean I bake a lot. 😀 I bake almost every weekend. I bake when friends decide to come for breakfast or brunch or just when I feel like it.
The very first time I tried making bread (which was a fail), I have been always curious about Hokkaido milk bread. It uses the tangzhong method in which a part of flour is mixed with water (or milk in this case) to make a roux. This makes the bread so soft and light. I did my own research (feeling like a scientist, huh?) and what I found were recipes that I think will make my life complicated and will make me hate mathematics (talk about doing your own calculations regarding the ratios for the flour and milk when you use this much of flour). No, thanks! I stopped dreaming about making Hokkaido milk bread.
I was doing another bread and it was a failure. I was just not going to end the day with a sad tummy, so I checked for another recipe. You know Google – it gives you more recipes than you asked for, even if it is not related. That’s when I found Pai’s recipe. I remembered the tangzhong method I was really scared to try, but Pai’s video made me face the tangzhong beast (now, that is new!).
Just look how beautiful the buns are…
The top of the buns will wrinkle and that is normal (I guess and according to my research).
These buns are so fluffy, pillowy soft, light and so delicious. They are perfect to be paired with jam or to dunk in coffee. They are even delicious as they are.
Hokkaido Milk Bread
For the tangzhong or milk roux:
- 125 ml whole milk
- 20 g bread flour
For the bread/other ingredients:
- 320 g bread flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 125 ml whole milk (or evaporated milk)*
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp sugar*
- ½ tsp salt
- 56 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
For the tangzhong or milk roux:
- In a small pot, combine whole milk and 20 g of bread flour, then mix until no more lumps. Put on a stove and heat over low-medium heat. Stir constantly using a rubber spatula until it becomes a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Continue with the rest of the steps:
- In a jug or another bowl, add 250 ml of whole milk. Add the tangzhong and mix to combine. Add egg and mix again, noting that the mixture might be lumpy.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, add 320 g of bread flour and the yeast. Mix to combine. Create a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients (tangzhong, milk & egg). Using a dough hook attachment, turn on the mixer on low-medium speed. Knead ONLY until both dry and wet ingredients have been mixed or until no dry ingredient is left in the bowl. Stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, making sure to cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel.
- After 20 minutes, remove the towel and continue mixing by turning the mixer back on low speed, adding salt then sugar while mixing. (Pai said you can add 2-4 tbsp of sugar – adding 4 tbsp will give the bread sweetness that it doesn’t need any more jam. I used 3 tbsp.) Continue kneading 7-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It may take more time, depending on the speed of your mixer.
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, add the softened butter at a time while the mixer is running. You may think that the butter doesn’t want to be mixed, but they will stick together.
- When the butter is well mixed and the dough is back to being smooth and elastic, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about two minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size.
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough to remove the air. Transfer to a floured surface. Divide the dough weighing 45 g each. (What I do here so I can get an even measurement for individual dough is I weigh the whole dough after removing the air, and then I divide the result it into 16 as I am going to place them in a 20 cm round baking pan. I got 16 dough weighing 45 g each which resulted in medium-sized buns.)
- Place the shaped dough/bun in two round baking pans (8 buns each). Loosely cover the baking pans with a clean kitchen towel and let rise again for 45 minutes to one hour (depending on the weather temperature of where you live) or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.
- When the shaped dough/buns are ready, bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown.
- Let the bread rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Serve with your favorite jam, butter or dunk in coffee. 😀
Source recipe: Hokkaido Milk Bread by Pai’s Kitchen
- Pai’s recipe calls for ½ cup (120 ml) of each milk, but my ½ cup is 125 ml, so I did not change it. Also, she used evaporated milk and whole milk. Since I only got whole milk, I used whole milk for both tangzhong & for the bread as well.
- In Pai’s instruction, she mentioned that it can be 2-4 tbsp of sugar, making 3 tbsp just the right amount for her, so I used 3 tbsp as well coz I am going to eat the bread with jam.
- I used a stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can knead by hand. Pai’s has a detailed instruction.
- I find the measurement of each dough (45 g each) perfect for me. You can also make the weight 65 g each like what Pai did and shape them as you like. The idea of pull-apart bread sounds very satisfying to me.
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