Easy Milk Bread without Tangzhong
Milk bread is a popular Japanese white bread using milk. It’s also known as Hokkaido bread or shokupan. This Asian style white bread is great for toast, or sandwich, or simply enjoy with butter and jam. Unlike other milk bread recipes, no tangzhong is needed in this recipe and you will get incredibly soft and fluffy bread.
What is milk bread?
Milk bread is a white bread developed in Japan in the 20th century. It is often called as Hokkaido milk bread where the Japanese milk bread originally started, Japanese milk bread is also called ‘shokupan’, which means ‘eating bread’. It is widely enjoyed as a every day simple bread in Japan and other Asian countries
Japanese milk bread recipe uses tangzhong made with milk. From there, the bread dough is made with flour, sugar, milk, yeast, egg, salt, and butter, and you will get the light and fluffy bread with the tender soft texture.
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 Chinese or Japanese style milk bread or roll recipes. Tangzhong makes the bread softer and stay fresh longer.
This feather light Asian milk bread is very popular these days. You will find them in a Japanese bakery or other Asian bakeries as well. Both avid and beginner home bakers are searching for an ultimate recipe for Japanese milk bread and there are quite many out there.
Why you will like this recipe
- No tangzhong method – 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!
- No dough enhancer – You don’t need the enhancer either to get the soft and fluffy texture.
- Easier and quicker – than using the traditional tangzhong method.
- Texture – ultimately soft, tender, and moist texture.
- Taste – milky delicious in every bite.
- Stay fresh – up to 3 days.
Can I omit dry milk from the bread recipe?
Yes, but I recommend adding it. Dry milk provides a smoother and more mellow flavor. It also helps bread results in a more tender texture and a significantly higher rise.
Can I bake milk bread in a regular loaf pan?
Of course. You can use a any 9×5 inch loaf pan instead of the pullman loaf pan. You won’t get the straight sides that you see in traditional Japanese milk bread, though.
What does milk bread taste like?
It has a milky-sweet and buttery. The feathery soft texture tears into fine strands and melts in your mouth. Good milk bread shouldn’t have the naturally leavened holes or sourdough tang.
Ingredients for milk bread
- bread flour
- egg: I 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 to the rest of ingredients.
- dry milk powder: Don’t miss out! It adds rich milk flavor to the bread and helps soften the texture.
- milk: I used whole milk but you can substitute with reduced fat milk. (no less than 2%, though)
- heavy cream or whipping cream
Kitchen tools needed
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.
How to make Milk Bread without Tangzhong
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to roll milk bread
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
How to eat Japanese Milk Bread
Milk bread tastes best on the day it is made and when it is still warm. You can either slice the bread or tear along. Spread with butter and your favorite jam. It also toasts beautifully and makes great breakfast. It also makes a wonderful sandwich bread, too.
This milk bread will stay fresh and moist for 3 days. 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 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.