Hokkaido Milk Bread

Hokkaido milk bread, the softest, fluffiest bread you will ever eat - Domestic GothessYou know how I said in my last bread post that I’d found a new favourite bread? I was wrong. Or at least, I’ve found a new new favourite bread. This, this is the bread to end all other breads, the kind of bread that dreams are made of…Hokkaido milk bread is quite simply the fluffiest, softest, lightest, most pillowy cloud of deliciousness I have ever eaten. It’s better than brioche…there, I said it. I’m not going to kid you, it’s not the easiest or the quickest bread to make (that’s not to say it’s difficult), but boy is it worth the effort; in fact, I thoroughly recommend that you double the recipe and make two loaves in one go, it’s not really that much extra work and you Will. Not. Regret. It.

Hokkaido milk bread, soft, fluffy bread made with tangzhong - Domestic GothessThe reason it is so soft is because it is made with tangzhong – a roux of flour and water which is added to the dough, this helps to keep the bread soft for days (I don’t exactly understand the science behind it, but it works!). The dough is also enriched with milk, egg, sugar and butter, which gives it a delicious, sweet, milky flavour, and also helps to keep it soft. Because the dough is quite soft and sticky it takes longer to knead than usual, and as it is sticky it is quite difficult to knead by hand, it took me probably about half an hour to knead it by hand until it passed the windowpane test; so if you have a stand mixer, use it! It is perfectly do-able without one though (I did), it will just take a while and you will get a bit messy – you’ll get a good arm workout though!

Hokkaido milk bread made with tangzhong - Domestic GothessThe bread stayed extremely soft for a good few days in an airtight container, though I would be surprised if it lasted long enough to go stale as it is so good. It makes great sandwiches, and is also fabulous toasted, and I suspect that it would be brilliant for bread and butter pudding (in the unlikely event that you have any leftover…)

Hokkaido milk bread - super soft and fluffy - Domestic Gothess

Hokkaido milk bread, the softest, fluffiest bread you will ever eat - Domestic Gothess
5 from 1 vote

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Servings 1 loaf
Author Domestic Gothess



  • 20 g (3/4 oz) strong white bread flour
  • 100 ml (6 + 1/2 tbsp) water


  • 350 g (scant 3 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 7 g (2 tsp) fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 g (scant 1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 1 egg
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) full fat milk
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) softened butter
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of milk, to glaze


To make the tangzhong

  1. Whisk together the flour and water in a small saucepan until smooth. Place over a medium/low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to a paste/pudding-like consistency (think wallpaper paste...). Scrape it into a small bowl, cover with clingfilm directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool to room temperature.

To make the dough

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook) and add the yeast to one side, the salt, sugar and milk powder to the other (if the salt is added on top of the yeast it can kill it), stir to combine.
  2. Whisk together the cooled tangzhong, egg and milk and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until it forms a soft, shaggy dough. If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a worktop and knead for 5-10 minutes until it starts to feel smooth and a little less sticky (it will still be very sticky), add no more than a spoonful of flour while you are kneading, the dough is meant to be sticky! The best way to knead a wet dough by hand is to stretch it up away from the worktop (it will stick), then slap it back down, make sure that you pull from a different section each time and keep a dough scraper handy. If you are using a stand mixer, mix for 5 minutes or so until the dough is smooth.
  3. Add the butter and mix until it is fully incorporated, continue to knead until the dough is very elastic and begins to come away from the worktop (or sides of the stand mixer bowl) cleanly. It should pass the windowpane test - stretch the dough with your hands, you should be able to stretch it to a very thin, almost transparent membrane without it tearing. This can take up to 20 minutes of kneading, especially by hand.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm, leave to rise for 1-2 hours until well doubled in size. Alternatively, place it in the fridge to rise overnight. If you refrigerate it, the following day let it come up to room temperature for about half an hour before continuing.
  5. Line an 8.5x4.5in (or thereabouts) loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and fold it in on itself a couple of times. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in to four equal pieces and roll each one into a ball.
  6. Roll each ball out into a long oval, fold one third of the oval over the middle (from the side, not the top), then the other third over the top to form a long, narrow packet. Roll over the seam to flatten it, then roll it up from one end to make a fat sausage. Repeat with the other balls of dough then arrange them in the loaf tin, seam side down.
  7. Loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise until at least doubled in size, this can take 1-2 hours (mine took nearly 2). If you press the dough gently with a finger the indentation should spring back slowly but remain visible. If it springs back quickly it needs to prove for a little longer. Preheat the oven while the dough is rising to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  8. Brush the top of the dough with some of the beaten egg then bake on the lower middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes until well risen and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, the internal temperature should reach 94C/200F on a probe thermometer. Cover the bread with foil partway through baking if it starts to get too dark.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.

Hokkaido milk bread, super soft and fluffy Japanese bread - Domestic GothessI am sharing this with Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Bake Of The Week, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Fridiy, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Friday Features.

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49 Comments on Hokkaido Milk Bread

  1. lucyparissi
    July 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm (3 years ago)

    Well you know I love this type of bread – and make it very often – but in a bread machine or mixer. I did once attempt it by hand and it tool forever… You are very brave. Looks fantastic.

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:49 am (3 years ago)

      Yes you’ve made some gorgeous looking breads with tangzhong πŸ™‚ it did take a long time to knead but it’s a good way to take out any frustrations! x

  2. Hilda
    July 30, 2015 at 8:01 pm (3 years ago)

    It looks almost like a brioche, but a little lighter. I plan to give it a try, though not till the heat subsides a bit.

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:50 am (3 years ago)

      Yes it is quite brioche-like, but softer and a little less rich πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:51 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Julie πŸ™‚

  3. Kylie
    July 30, 2015 at 10:00 pm (3 years ago)

    Looks great! I’m thinking though I wouldn’t be able to help myself and would turn this into French toast! πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:51 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I think it would made fantastic french toast!

  4. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    July 31, 2015 at 7:17 am (3 years ago)

    This looks scrumptious. I’ve never heard of tangzhong before, I’m certainly going to give it a try. Arm work out here I come! πŸ™‚
    And I love your images, absolutely gorgeous!
    Angela x

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:54 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Angela πŸ™‚ It really does make for incredibly soft bread, it does take a while to knead but it is a good way to work out any frustrations!

  5. Loretta
    July 31, 2015 at 12:53 pm (3 years ago)

    What a beautiful loaf, and thank you for bringing it to Fiesta Friday. I’m sure it will be devoured in no time, so I hope you’ve brought more :). I love your presentation too. Happy weekend.

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:55 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Loretta! It disappeared incredibly quickly so I’m planning on baking a double batch of it this week! Have a great weekend!

  6. Jhuls
    July 31, 2015 at 1:45 pm (3 years ago)

    Once, I have Hokkaido cupcake before and oh it was so good. I am sure the bread, too. Happy FF! πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 7:57 am (3 years ago)

      It is the best bread I have ever made! So so good πŸ™‚

  7. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake
    July 31, 2015 at 8:24 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow that looks incredible!! I’ve never tried Hokkaido milk bread but I’m super curious now…might have to try this πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 1, 2015 at 8:01 am (3 years ago)

      This was my first time trying it, and I’m an absolute convert! It is going to be my go-to bread from now on πŸ™‚

  8. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    August 2, 2015 at 8:58 am (3 years ago)

    What a gorgeous looking loaf of bread, I love super soft bread and will be giving the recipe a try. Thank you very much for linking up with us for Fabulous Foodie Fridays, I hope you’ve had a great weekend πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:27 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lauren πŸ™‚

  9. Janine
    August 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow, this looks great!

  10. Lucy @ BakingQueen74
    August 3, 2015 at 7:40 am (3 years ago)

    How gorgeous! it really does look like brioche, I wonder if it was originally based on brioche but then evolved with the tangzhong? I will definiltey put this on my list of things to try soon. Thanks for joining in with #bakeoftheweek.

  11. Le Coin de Mel
    August 3, 2015 at 10:14 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh wow, it looks as good as brioche, and the fact it keeps for a few days makes it so tempting to double the quantities and make two loaves, as you suggested! Stunning food styling.

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:31 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Mel πŸ™‚ I was cursing myself for only making the one loaf!

  12. dishofdailylife
    August 4, 2015 at 12:01 am (3 years ago)

    What a beautiful loaf of bread! Every time I come visit you, I am wowed! You have the most amazing recipes! Sharing on Facebook later tonight, pinning and sending some other foodie love your way! Hope you are having a great week!

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:32 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Michelle πŸ™‚

  13. Sneaky Veg
    August 4, 2015 at 10:22 am (3 years ago)

    Wow this looks amazing. Not sure I have enough hours in the day to attempt this at the moment but definitely one to try in the future. #cookblogshare

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:36 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Yes it is a little time consuming, but definitely worth the effort!

  14. Mother Mands
    August 5, 2015 at 7:19 am (3 years ago)

    Mmm…just imagining Gary Rhodes Bread and butter pudding made with this bread *drools a bit*. This really does look gorgeous. Pinned! πŸ˜‰


    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:39 am (3 years ago)

      It would make amazing bread and butter pudding πŸ™‚ If it lasts that long…

  15. Kirsty Hijacked By Twins
    August 5, 2015 at 7:56 am (3 years ago)

    I have never used tangzhong before, I will definitely look into it! This loaf looks simply divine! Thank you for linking up with #cookblogshare x

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:43 am (3 years ago)

      This was my first try, and I’m hooked! Thanks Kirsty πŸ™‚ x

  16. Charlotte Oates
    August 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm (3 years ago)

    This bread sounds simply delicious. I’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up but I’m definitely going to be trying this once everything’s calmed down and I’ve got a bit of time for all that kneading.

    Thanks for joining #FoodYearLinkup xx

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:49 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Charlotte, you do need a bit of time set aside to do it in, but I find the kneading quite relaxing πŸ™‚ x

    • hannahhossack
      August 8, 2015 at 7:50 am (3 years ago)

      It is SO light and fluffy! Really worth a try πŸ™‚

  17. milkandbun
    August 8, 2015 at 5:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow! What a lovely-looking bread! Sounds like worth to try! πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      August 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ It is really worth trying – one of the best breads I have ever eaten!

  18. Honest Mum
    August 9, 2015 at 3:59 pm (3 years ago)

    Your shots are like oil paintings, the king of breads here, utterly divine! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

    • hannahhossack
      August 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Vicki πŸ™‚ I was really pleased with how these photos turned out – my first time playing around with a dark background πŸ™‚ x

  19. NhΓ£ Linh
    November 10, 2015 at 3:13 am (3 years ago)

    I’ve just found your blog yesterday. It’s about the post of Hokkaido milk bread. After seeing your recipe, I baked immediately. And I made a good bread ever. Thanks so much and I want to say, I am totally deep in love with your photos you took!!

    • hannahhossack
      November 10, 2015 at 9:27 am (3 years ago)

      Oh fantastic! I’m so glad you liked the bread, it is my absolute favourite! And thank you for your kind words πŸ™‚

  20. Mirtes
    December 2, 2015 at 2:53 am (3 years ago)

    It looks very good, I would like to make it, but I cannot understand step 6! Maybe some photos could help.


  21. Linda Pereira
    June 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm (2 years ago)

    If using fresh (wet) yeast what is the quantity of yeast in gms to be used.

    • hannahhossack
      June 28, 2016 at 9:52 am (2 years ago)

      I think 30g of fresh yeast is about right and it will need to be dissolved in some of the milk with a pinch of the sugar and left to stand for 5-10 minutes until bubbly before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

  22. Cy
    October 22, 2016 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m fr Asia where tang zhong is supposed to be a very popular method of bread making, yet I followed your recipe and made my first tang zhong bread and it turns out perfect!

    • hannahhossack
      October 31, 2016 at 11:05 am (2 years ago)

      Awesome! I’m so glad my recipe worked out for you πŸ™‚

  23. Emily
    April 12, 2018 at 2:03 pm (3 months ago)

    I have never successfully made bread before, but I followed this recipe and it turned out perfectly! The best bread I’ve ever had! Thank you so much for sharing and using UK measurements πŸ™‚


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Hokkaido Milk Bread

  1. […] chose Apricots with Basil Cream Cheese and Almonds from Life Currents…   Sarah chose Hokkaido Milk Bread from Domestic Gothess…   AND I chose Minion Snack Mix from Everyday Savvy… […]

  2. […] is down to the Tangzhong and the milk in the bread, probably the most famous use of Tangzhong is in Hokkaido Milk Bread. This would be a great bread method to use for making something like iced buns or other sweet […]

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