milk bread loaf

Japanese Milk Bread Soft Flavorful Easy

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Japanese Milk Bread is world-famous for the light, fluffy texture, and flavor it brings. Learn how to make Japanese milk bread to serve up for dinner, snacking, or take to a potluck event.

Once you have made this ultra-soft and fluffy bread, you will never look at other bread the same! Give this Japanese condensed milk bread recipe a go!

japanese milk bread

Why Is This Milk Bread So Popular

  • The texture is unlike any other bread you have ever had
  • Rich milky flavor in every decadent bite
  • Pillowy soft bread that melts in your mouth
  • Simple ingredients
  • Easy steps to make the perfect homemade bread

Ingredients Needed For Tangzhong Milk Bread

  • Bread Flour
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Yeast
  • Salted Butter
ingredients for Tangzhong milk bread

How to Make Japanese Milk Bread

Full measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.

Bread Starter | The first thing you will want to do is work on your bread starter. The full instructions are listed below.

Milk Bread Starter | You will do this step on the stovetop in a pan. Whisking the ingredients to ensure no clumping. Then once the mixture is ready remove and cover and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Dough Mix | I share all the steps to creating the perfect bread dough for this recipe. Making sure the yeast is proofed and active is very important. The other thing to look at is not overmixing the bread dough.

Shape and Bake | The last steps are shaping your bread and then baking it as directed. This milk bread recipe will make your whole home smell incredible as it bakes to golden perfection.

Japanese milk bread process
milk bread process


Tangzhong is a roux that is made with water and flour, or sometimes milk and flour. You heat it up on the stove, cooking it to thicken. And then you allow the mixture to cool down, before mixing it into your bread dough.

While this method is an extra step in making your homemade Japanese bread. I highly recommend not skipping this step as it adds so much dimension and flavor to this unique bread.

sliced loaf milk bread

How to Know if Yeast Is Activated

If you are using active dry yeast, you will need to ensure your yeast activates. I recommend using liquid that is heated to 105-110 degrees F. Then add in your yeast along with a little sugar. Stir and let it sit 5-10 minutes.

You need to see that the yeast begins to bubble up and create a foamy texture. That means your yeast is active and will allow your bread to rise. Otherwise, if nothing happens, your yeast is inactive and the recipe will not work.

Can you freeze milk bread?

You can freeze milk bread that you have on hand. Just make sure the bread has fully cooled. Then you can transfer to an airtight freezer bag or airtight container.

Freeze for 2-3 months. When you are ready, remove and allow it to thaw at room temperature. For a fresh out of the oven, flavor warm it up in the microwave or wrap in aluminum foil and toss in the oven to heat up.

slices of Japanese milk bread

Helpful Items When Making Homemade Bread

Three things I find helpful when making homemade milk bread are; quality bread pans, a silpat for working with the dough and a sharp bread knife.

USA Pan Loaf Pan set 1 Lb, 1 PoundUSA Pan Loaf Pan set 1 Lb, 1 PoundUSA Pan Loaf Pan set 1 Lb, 1 PoundSilpat AE620420-01 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Full Size, 16-1/2Silpat AE620420-01 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Full Size, 16-1/2Silpat AE620420-01 Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Full Size, 16-1/2PrinChef Bread Knife - Knife Set Accessories, 8 Inch Serrated Bread Knife with Sheath, High Carbon Steel Bread Knife with No Scratch Coating - Anti Rust & Nonstick, Perfect for Hard Crusty BreadPrinChef Bread Knife – Knife Set Accessories, 8 Inch Serrated Bread Knife with Sheath, High Carbon Steel Bread Knife with No Scratch Coating – Anti Rust & Nonstick, Perfect for Hard Crusty BreadPrinChef Bread Knife - Knife Set Accessories, 8 Inch Serrated Bread Knife with Sheath, High Carbon Steel Bread Knife with No Scratch Coating - Anti Rust & Nonstick, Perfect for Hard Crusty Bread


Here are more bread recipes to try


milk bread loaf

Japanese Milk Bread

Soft, fluffy and long lasting white bread.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: bread, bread recipes, simple bread recipes, soft bread recipes, how to make japanese milk bread
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Rest and rise time.: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 16
Calories: 134kcal


  • measuring cup, measuring spoons, mixing bowl, rolling pin, spatula, bread pans, stand alone mixer with hook attachment


Milk Bread Starter

  • ½ C Water
  • C Bread flour
  • ½ C Milk

Milk Bread Dough Mixture

  • 2 ⅔ C Bread flour
  • ¼ C Sugar
  • 1 Lg Egg (room temp.)
  • 1 Pkg Dry active yeast
  • ½ C Warm milk
  • ¼ C Warm milk (or 1 egg white) (for brushing bread)
  • 4 tbsp Salted butter


Milk Bread Starter

  • Fill small saucepan with 1/2 Cup water. Add the 1/3 Cup of bread flour and whisk until smooth with no lumps. Add in the 1/2 Cup milk and whisk together until combined.
  • Heat the mixture over a medium heat, continuously whisking until you have a thick, pudding-like consistency.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the starter so that a skin doesn’t form on top.
  • Allow the starter to cool to a room temperature.

Japanese Milk Bread Dough Mix

  • In a mixing bowl pour ½ Cup lukewarm milk and dissolve 1 tsp of the sugar in the liquid. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir gently to mix. Allow the mix and yeast mixture to stand for about 10-20 minutes to activate the yeast. The mixture should be bubbly and frothy on the surface.
  • Once the yeast has become activated you can add in the rest of the sugar, the starter, egg and flour.
  • Use a spatula to mix the dough and combine the ingredients, forming a raggedy dough.
  • With the dough hook attachment on your mixer, knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a low speed. The dough will be very sticky, but if you keep kneading it will come together.
  • After 5 minutes of kneading the dough, add in the butter in 3-4 increments. Mix about 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to make sure it is mixing well.
  • Once all of the butter has been added, turn the speed on the mixer up to a medium speed and continue kneading for 5-7 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice while kneading.
  • The dough should become smooth, satiny and pull cleanly from the bowl sides.
  • Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Keep the bowl in a warm place and allow to double in size. This will take approximately 1-2 hours depending on the temperature of the room.

Form the Japanese Milk Bread Loaf

  • Once the dough is proofed, prepare the loaf pan. Using a 4½ x 9 inch loaf pan, butter and flour the sides and bottom.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour dusted surface and press all of the excess air out of the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
  • Roll out each portion into an approximate 6 inch square.
  • Fold the opposite corners into the middle.
  • Roll or shape each piece of dough into a small loaf shape.
  • Once the dough has been rolled to the top, fold the pointed edge in and pinch the seam to seal.
  • Place the rolled dough into the pan, with the seam side facing down. There will be four rolls per each pan.
  • Repeat with all the dough portions and place them in the loaf pan.
  • Cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow to proof in a warm place, until doubled in size. This will take approximately 1-2 hours. The dough should be just slightly below the top of the pan.

Baking the Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Once the oven has preheated and the dough has proofed, brush the top with an egg wash (for a glossy crust). You can choose to use milk for a crust that is not glossy. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • If the bread begins to brown too much in the oven, place a piece of foil on the surface to keep it from burning.
  • If using a thermometer, bake until the internal temperature is about 190°-205°F.
  • Remove the loaf pan from the oven and cool for a few minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a cooling rack to continue cooling.
  • The bread will cut easier when completely cool.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
slices of milk bread and butter

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