This Japanese milk bread known as Hokkaido or Shokupan bread is the fluffiest milk bread in the world. It is made using the Tangzhong method, which I will tell you about below. Thanks to the use of this method, the crumb is moister and therefore more fluffy. But bread stays fresh for a long time, too. I encourage you to try it as it will immediately become your favorite brioche for breakfast
Shokupan is a traditional milk bread in Japan and literally means “eating bread” or “eating bread”. What makes shokupan so special is its extra fluffy and soft texture, but also its ability to stay soft for longer without processed ingredients, and as I have already mentioned this is thanks to the use of the Tangzhong.
Originating in the yukone (or yudane) of Japan, Tangzhong is a yeast bread technique popularized in Asia by Taiwanese cookbook author Yvonne Chen. Tangzhong involves cooking some of the flour from a bread recipe in liquid before adding it to the remaining ingredients in the dough. Bringing the temperature of the flour and liquid to 65 ° C (149 ° F) pregelatinizes the starches in the flour, making them better able to retain the liquid, thus improving the softness and shelf life of the resulting bread.
Shokupan dough is similar to Hokkaido milk bread dough in that they both use a starter to make it easier when it comes to their high hydration doughs. Although the latter, Hokkaido milk bread is sweeter than Shokupan, both have a very hydrated crumb.
The higher the hydration, the more water will be in the dough and the softer the bread will become. Most high-hydration doughs (like sourdough) can be tricky because there’s so much water in the dough that it can get quite sticky and difficult to knead, even with a stand mixer.
To bake this bread, any elongated loaf cake pan will do. Although if you want to do it a bit more professionally, they sell specific molds to make sliced bread that include a lid so that it is completely square.
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Shokupan (Japanese milk bread)
Ultra soft and light slices of Japanese white bread, this recipe from Shokupan will teach you how to make this famous Japanese-style loaf of bread.
- Tangzhong (starter):
- 43 g water
- 43 g whole milk
- 14g bread flour
- 300 g bread flour
- 50g sugar
- 6 g salt
- 17 g fresh yeast
- 120 g whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 60g unsalted butter, melted
To make the tangzhong, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and mix until smooth.
Bring the saucepan to a simmer and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the saucepan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the tangzhong to a small bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
To make the dough, mix the tangzhong with the remaining ingredients and knead, by hand, with a stand mixer or with a bread maker, until a smooth, elastic dough forms that peels off the sides of the bowl. You must knead at least 10 minutes.
Roll the dough into a ball and let it rest in a lightly covered, greased bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffed but not necessarily double in volume.
Gently deflate the dough by kneading it lightly with your hands. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and form a ball with each piece. Roll out each of the dough pieces so that they are rectangular. Roll up the rectangles and place them in the greased rectangular mold.
Cover the mold and let it rest for 40 to 50 minutes, to make the second rise.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Paint the bread with milk on the surface.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden on top.
Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then unmould and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.