Hokkaido Milk Bread
Mill City Cooks

Hokkaido Milk Bread

By: Bread Festival Bakers

From Margaret Cheng, Bread Festival 2019

Moving to Minnesota two years ago, I was able to grow new connections and knowledge in the Minneapolis community, but one thing I miss most about my home in the Bay Area of California is the soft, sweet bread from local Asian bakeries. Ethnically Taiwanese, I first tasted these breads before I could remember. I thought, why I should bring some of those flavors here to my friends!

This recipe is adapted from Madi at Mildly Meandering,  a fellow Asian bread fanatic. Adding personal touches and my home-baking techniques developed since childhood, I present to you a big-time favorite among generations of Asian families from Taiwan, Japan, China and more–Hokkaido Milk Bread. I’m now feeling at home in another home, let’s eat!

Ingredients

Tangzhong Water Roux (part 1)

  • ¼ cup bread flour
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • ¼ cup water

Water Roux (part 2)

  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 1 medium egg

Dough

  • 2 ½ cup bread flour
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • Heavy cream

Method

The Tangzhong Water Roux method is a Japanese food preparation technique commonly used for bread to create elasticity and softness. It helps dough retain moisture content.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the first 4 ingredients. Stir with a spatula until well combined and a few small lumps remain. The consistency should be similar to gooey porridge. Turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup milk from part 2 of the roux. Stire mixture until it cools, then stir in yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes, until expanded and foamy, then mix in the egg.

In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, add dry ingredients listed for the dough. Mix until combined. Add the roux mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, beat on low for 5 minutes until a smooth dough ball comes together. Add softened butter and continue beating at medium speed for 15 minutes until smooth and elastic. Test the elasticity by pulling on a small portion of the dough with index finger and thumb. The dough should stretch thinly without tearing.

Shape dough into a rounded ball and place back into the mixing bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size or rise in the refrigerator overnight. (If refrigerating, let dough sit out until room temperature before second rise.)

For second rise, transfer risen dough onto a floured work surface. Divide into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rounded ball. Roll out one piece into a long oval and then fold into thirds like a letter. Roll out to flatten again into an oval. Roll the oval into a log shape. Repeat for the remaining two pieces. Place the 3 dough logs side by side, seam side down, in a loaf pan. Allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush top of the risen dough with heavy cream. Bake for 35-40 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before enjoying!