Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Hokkaido Milk Bread using the Tangzhong method

Every once in a while I just want to bake some delicious and fluffy white bread. I missed my chance last month so I’m making up for it this month.

Hokkaido Milk Bread was the BOM (Bread of the Month) for July for the Artisan Bread Bakers FB Group. I’m late to the party, but believe me, this bread is worth the wait. It looked so good and the method for making it intrigued me so I just had to make it. I was not disappointed and you won’t be either.



This bread is as good or better than it looks. When I tasted it, I was instantly reminded of a delicious flavor and fluffy texture that I had enjoyed before. I searched my brain to try and figure out just where I had tasted that flavor and texture before. Then it dawned on me…Brioche! That’s what this bread reminds me of. However, I think this bread might actually be better than Brioche. Simply because the fluffy, delicious and rich taste of this bread comes from the Tangzhong and not loads of butter like Brioche. I love Brioche mind you, but all that butter, yikes!   I’ve also seen comments by some of the other bakers that this reminds them of challah.  I can see that as well.




Hokkaido Milk Bread using the Tangzhong method

This recipe is adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings…adapted from Christine’s recipes. You’ll want to check out both sites for rolling and shaping techniques and ideas for adding extra ingredients.  Just Google the term tangzhong. You’ll find some interesting information about the tangzhong method. I spent awhile on several sites just learning about the method.  It’s pretty neat!

Equipment needed:

  • Stand mixer or a bread machine.  I used my bread machine.  The dough is really sticky so I didn’t try the by hand method with this one.
  • A digital scale comes in handy although the cup measurements are provided
  • Instant read thermometer so you can tell when the roux has reached 149 degrees.  I actually used a candy thermometer for this part.



Makes: Enough for 2 loaves

  • 50 g/1/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup Water

This amount makes enough for 2 loaves.  Just reduce the amount to 25g/~1/4 cup bread flour and 1/2 cup water if you only want to make one loaf.  You can keep the roux in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  However, if it turns gray, then throw it out.

Mix the flour and water together until there aren’t any lumps. Place in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 149 degrees and then remove it from the heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, remove the mixture when it is thick and the spoon begins to make trails.



Scrape the mixture into a clean bowl and allow it to cool completely. When it cools, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Let it sit overnight.



Hokkaido Milk Bread:

Makes: 1 loaf


  • 350 g/2½ C bread flour
  • 55g/3T + 2 tsp. caster/superfine/baker’s sugar (if you only have regular sugar, just grind it to a finer texture in a food processor. Do not use powdered sugar.*
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1T + 1 tsp. milk powder (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 120 g of the tangzhong (1/2 of the above recipe)
  • 3T softened room temperature unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg for egg wash

* I made one loaf using raw sugar that I ground to a fine powder in my coffee grinder. For the 2nd loaf, I used regular granulated white sugar and it worked fine.



Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the order listed by the manufacturer.  For my machine, all of the wet ingredients are added first.



Then add the dry ingredients and make a well in the flour and add the yeast.



Use the dough setting on your bread machine.  You’ll only use it for mixing/kneading and the first rise.  The dough process takes about 2 1/2 hours in my machine.



Remove the dough from the bread pan to a floured surface. 



Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces. My dough balls were about 285g each. Form them into balls and place them seam side up on the floured surface. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for about 15 minutes.



Using a rolling pin, take each piece and roll it out into a long oval shape.



Fold the shorter sides of the oval into the middle and overlap the ends like an envelope.  Press gently to seal the seams



Flip the dough over and roll it out into an oval again. 



Flip the dough back over and roll each oval into a roll/cylinder, from one end to the other.



Continue this process with the rest of the balls. You can use the rolling pin or your hands for this part. I started out using the rolling pin, then decided it was easier just to flatten out the dough and shape it by hand.  You’ll need a little extra flour for this part, but don’t use too much or the bread will be dry.  You want a nice and fluffy bread.  It’s worth it!



Arrange the rolls seam side down in an oiled 9” x 5” loaf pan.



Allow the loaf to proof until it reaches about 3/4 of the height of the bread pan.  This takes about 30 minutes or so.  Mine actually rose a little higher than 3/4 of the height of the pan.



Brush the loaf with the egg wash and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. If the top of the loaf starts to brown too quick, tent the loaf with foil while it finishes baking.



Remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.


This bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.


Slice and enjoy!  Actually, you can just break this bread apart at the seams.  It would make great pull apart rolls.  That’s how I ate it anyway.  I confess, I ate the whole loaf. Not in one sitting, but it was so good.  It keeps really well.



My sons love fluffy white bread so I’m sending the 2nd loaf to my youngest son who is away at college. I’ll have to make another loaf to send to my oldest son. 

Thanks to Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories for sharing this recipe with the Artisan Bread Bakers FB group.  It’s awesome!  I’m definitely going to try this method again especially with rolls.




Happy Baking!


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