Looking for an easy milk bread recipe that yields a soft and fluffy loaf without the extra step of making tangzhong? With just a few simple ingredients and straightforward steps, you can enjoy fresh, homemade Japanese milk bread that’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, and more.

Milk bread recipe made without Tangzhong method.

What is milk bread?

Originating in Japan during the 20th century, milk bread is a type of white bread that’s also known as ‘shokupan,’ or ‘eating bread.’ Hokkaido milk bread, in particular, is a popular variation.

This type of white bread is widely enjoyed as an everyday staple in Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Its soft and fluffy texture is achieved through the use of a tangzhong, which is a paste made by cooking flour in water or milk.

While many milk bread recipes use the tangzhong method, there are also variations that don’t require it. Typically, the bread dough is made with flour, sugar, milk, yeast, egg, salt, and butter. The end result is a tender, soft bread with a fluffy texture.

Asian style bread is very popular these days and you will find them easily in a Korean bakery or other Asian bakeries. Both avid and beginner home bakers are searching for an ultimate recipe for this Japanese milk bread and there are quite many out there.

Milk bread recipe with feather light texture.

No Tangzhong Milk Bread Recipe

This easy no tangzhong version recipe is here to make your life easier. With the use of heavy whipping cream and a different technique, you can achieve a feather-light, soft, and moist crumb without using the traditional tangzhong method.

Here are some reasons why you’ll love this recipe:

  1. No tangzhong method: Instead of tangzhong, this easy recipe uses heavy whipping cream to create a soft and fluffy texture.
  2. No dough enhancer required: Achieve the perfect texture without any enhancer.
  3. Easier and quicker: Compared to traditional tangzhong milk bread recipes, this recipe is easier and quicker to make.
  4. Texture: The bread has a soft, tender, and feathery texture that melts in your mouth.
  5. Taste: With a milky delicious flavor in every bite, you’ll fall in love with this bread.
  6. Stay fresh: This bread can stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Give this no tangzhong method a try and enjoy the same fabulous feathery and stringy texture and delicate crumb as traditional milk bread without the added hassle.

Milk bread recipe with golden brown crust.

Ingredients List

  • Bread flour: provides high gluten and creates the signature stringy crumb.
  • Sugar: adds sweetness.
  • Egg: use a large egg.
  • Instant yeast: if you need to use active yeast instead of instant yeast, proof the active yeast with warm milk first, then add it to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Dry milk powder: don’t miss out! It adds a rich milk flavor to the bread and helps to soften the texture.
  • Milk: whole milk was used in this recipe, but you can substitute it with reduced-fat milk (no less than 2% fat).
  • Heavy cream or whipping cream: provides fat to keep the bread moist and adds a milky taste
Japanese milk bread recipe made in a Pullman loaf pan.

Essential Kitchen Tools

  • Pullman loaf pan or 9×5-inch loaf pan: You can bake the bread in either of these pans. A Pullman loaf pan, which has straight sides, will give your loaf an attractive shape.
  • Stand mixer: A stand mixer will make it easier to knead the dough and achieve the perfect texture.
  • Mixing bowl: To combine the ingredients for the dough.
  • Mini rolling pin: It is a handy tool for shaping the dough and ensuring that it fits perfectly in the loaf pan.

A Pullman loaf pan has straight sides and a sliding lid that’s great for making bread with a square shape and professional-looking appearance. The pan helps the bread bake evenly and prevents the crust from becoming too thick. While most pullman pans come with a lid for compact bread, some bakers prefer not to use it to get round mounds on top.

How to make Milk Bread (No Tangzhong Method)

Making the bread dough

Wet ingredients mixed with a wooden spoon to make milk bread recipe.

Step 1. Mix wet ingredients

Mix milk, cream, sugar, egg, yeast, dry milk powder, yeast, and sugar with a wooden spoon. Then add flour and mix well.

Milk bread dough being kneaded in a stand mixer.

Step 2. Add dry ingredients and knead

If using a stand mixer, attach dough hook and knead the dough on low (stir mode) setting for 12-15 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Add extra 2-3 tablespoons of flour if needed. Resist adding too much flour. Otherwise you won’t obtain the fluffy texture.

If kneading by hand, it will take about 6-8 minutes until the dough becomes soft and elastic, and won’t stick to you hands.

Easy milk bread dough handled by hands.

Step 3. Let the dough rise

Shape into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until double in volume; about 1 hr.

A milk bread dough divided into 3 portions.

Step 4. Divide the dough

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each dough into a ball shape and let them rest for 15 minutes to relax the gluten.

Rolling the bread dough

  1. Using a small rolling pin, roll the dough into 7-8 inch long. Then flip the dough to the other side so that the smooth surface will face down. It will create a smooth crust.
  2. Fold the dough into thirds.
  3. Rotate the dough to 90˚ degree so that the layered side is facing toward you. Start rolling the dough tightly, pinching the seam together to secure.
  4. Transfer dough in a greased pan, seam side down, and press down the top gently with your hand. That will help even out the round top. Cover and let it rise until double in volume; about 40 minutes.

Egg wash and Bake

An egg wash brushed on milk bread dough in a Pullman pan.

Brush the top with egg wash to achieve a beautiful golden brown crust. Bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 22-25 minutes. If the top gets brown too quickly, tent with a piece of foil loosely.

Brushing melted butter on milk bread.

Recipe Tip: When the bread comes out of oven, give it a strong tap once on a counter top. That will prevent the soft crust from sagging down and wrinkle. Brush with melted butter immediately to get the shiny look. Take the bread out of pan and let it cool on a wired rack.

Slices of milk bread showing its texture.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving, there are several options to choose from. Here are some suggestions:

  • Enjoy the bread on the day it’s made and while it’s still warm.
  • Slice the bread or tear it apart and spread with butter and your favorite jam.
  • Toast the bread for a crispy and delicious breakfast or snack. Try it in a Korean street toast recipe for a unique twist.
  • Use the bread as a base for sandwiches, with your choice of fillings for a tasty and satisfying meal.

Storage

To keep your milk bread fresh and tasty for as long as possible, follow these storage tips:

  • The bread will stay fresh and moist for up to 3 days at room temperature.
  • For longer storage, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To thaw the bread, remove it from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • To reheat the bread, preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until warmed through.

Pro Tips and Tricks

If you’re a fan of this feathery soft white bread, you might have some questions about the recipe. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you make the perfect loaf every time:

Can I omit dry milk from the bread recipe?

Yes, but it’s highly recommended to add dry milk to the recipe. It provides a smoother and more mellow flavor and helps the bread to have a more tender texture and a significantly higher rise.

Can I bake milk bread in a regular loaf pan?

Of course! You can use any 9×5 inch loaf pan instead of the pullman loaf pan. However, you won’t get the straight sides that are typically seen in traditional Japanese milk bread.

Can I make milk bread in a bread maker?

Absolutely! Just follow the recipe and mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. However, because each bread machine is different, you may need to adjust the recipe to suit your situation.

The size of the pan in the bread machine can vary, so the bread can come out less tall in wider pans or taller in smaller pans depending on the size of your pan. This recipe will fit a 1 lb dough size pan.

What does milk bread taste like?

It has a milky-sweet and buttery taste. Its feathery, soft texture tears into fine strands and melts in your mouth. Good milk bread shouldn’t have naturally leavened holes or a sourdough tang.

Watch recipe video

This soft and feathery light Asian milk bread is made without tangzhong

Easy Milk Bread Recipe (No Tangzhong)

This milk bread recipe yields a soft and fluffy loaf without the extra step of making tangzhong. With just a few simple ingredients and straightforward steps, you can enjoy fresh, homemade Japanese milk bread that's perfect for sandwiches.
4.95 from 17 ratings

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) milk, lukewarm
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp dry milk powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-1/4 cup (300 g) bread flour , + 2-3 tbsp extra if needed
  • egg wash, for brushing
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) melted butter

Instructions 

  • Using a mixing bowl from a stand mixer, mix together milk, cream, sugar, egg, instant yeast, powdered milk, and salt in a bowl. Add flour slowly and mix well to combine with wet ingredients using a wooden spoon.
  • Using a dough hook, start kneading the dough on low(stir) setting for 12-15 minutes. If the dough seems too sticky, add 2-3 more tablespoon of flour as needed. Resist adding too much flour. The dough should be very sticky.
  • Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface, knead with your palm of your hand for 30 seconds. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until double in volume; about 1 hr.
  • Punch the dough to deflate. Turn it out on to a floured surface and knead for 30-60 seconds. Dived the dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion to a ball. Cover and let them rest for 15 minutes so that the gluten can relax.
  • Roll each dough ball into 7-8-inch long with a small rolling pin. Then flip the dough to the other side so that the smooth surface will face down. Fold it into thirds and rotate 90˚ degree so that the layered side is facing toward you. Start rolling the dough tightly and pinch the seam together to secure.
  • Place the dough in a greased loaf pan. Press down the top with your hand gently. Cover and let it rise again until double in volume, about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F. When the dough is risen, brush the top with egg wash and bake for 22-25 minutes. If the top crust gets brown too quickly, loosely tent with a piece of foil.
  • When the bread comes out of oven, tap it on the countertop once to shock. That will prevent the bread top from sagging down and wrinkle. Then brush with melted butter immediately. Take the bread out of pan and cool it on a wired rack.

Notes

Milk bread can stay fresh up to 3 days. It makes a great breakfast toast. You can also  freeze it up to 3 months. To thaw, let it sit on a room temperature while you are preheating the oven to 300˚F. Warm the bread in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Calories: 144kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 344mg, Potassium: 83mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 314IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 1mg
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