Here’s a bakery quality soft and fluffy Asian milk bread recipe that doesn’t require making Tangzhong separately. The step-by-step instructions and video tutorial will help you create this amazing bread easily at home
Asian milk bread (aka Japanese milk bread) recipe is very popular these days. Perhaps due to a year long pandemic situation in the world, many people are baking a homemade bread at home. That’s a good thing!
Imagine a loaf of white milk bread that has a feather-like texture, so soft and fluffy. You can literally tear a piece off the bread to see the texture. Both avid and beginner home bakers are searching for an ultimate milk bread recipe and there are quite many out there.
Most Asian milk bread recipes use Tangzhong, a kind of roux, to get the soft and fluffy texture. Here I throw mine for the easy milk bread without Tangzhong.
What Is Tangzhong?
Tangzhong is a paste of flour cooked in water or milk, which is used to improve the texture of bread, making it soft and fluffy. It is widely used in most Asian or Japanese style milk bread or roll recipes. Tangzhong makes the bread softer and stay fresh longer.
Milk Bread Recipe Without Tangzhong
Needless to say, Tangzhong makes the bread soft and fluffy. But I came to find out that you can still make a feather-like milk bread without Tangzhong; by using the heavy whipping cream! Heavy whipping cream in this milk bread recipe brings a beautiful loaf of bread that has ultimately soft, tender, and moist texture. It is much easier and quicker than the traditional method, and your bread will stay fresh up to 3 days.
You can bake the milk bread in a traditional 9×5-inch loaf pan. I like to bake it in the Pullman loaf pan. Its straight-sided shape makes the milk bread look more attractive. And that’s the milk bread shape you see in most Asian bakeries. However, I did not use a lid that comes with most Pullman loaf pans. I want to keep the gorgeous round mounds on top.
Ingredients You Will Need
- bread flour
- instant yeast
- powdered milk
- heavy whipping cream
Don’t miss out the powdered milk. It adds rich milk flavor to the bread and helps soften the texture.
I used whole milk but you can substitute with reduced fat milk. (no less than 2%, though)
If you need to use active yeast instead of instant yeast, proof the active yeast with warm milk first, then add to the rest of ingredients.
Baking Instructions & Tips
Mix milk, cream, sugar, egg, yeast, powdered milk, yeast, and sugar with a wooden spoon. Then add flour and mix well.
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 won’t stick to you hands.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Fold the dough into thirds.
- 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.
- Place each 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.
Brush the top with egg wash to achieve a beautiful golden 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.
When the bread comes out of oven, give it a strong tap once on a counter top. That will prevent the bread top 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.
How To Store Milk Bread
This milk bread will stay fresh and moist for 3 days. It toasts beautifully and makes great breakfast. It also freezes well up to 3 months. When ready, just thaw out in a room temperature for 15-20 minutes and reheat in a 300˚F oven for 8-10 minutes.
Easy Milk Bread Recipe (without Tangzhong)
- 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 and mix well to combine with 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 it 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.