Recently we were given this Japanese Bread to taste and it was so delicious soft and yummy, that I wondered if I could make super soft Japanese-style bread myself. I did a quick search online and found 2 recipes that had really good reviews:
I decided to do the rolls, because DiploBaby doesn’t usually eat the crust when it’s a loaf so there would be less wasteful.
Also referred to as Hokkaido milk bread, these rolls are incredibly soft and airy thanks to a simple technique involving a roux “starter,” known as tangzhong. The roux is mixed into the final dough, producing wonderfully tender bread each and every time.– KING ARTHUR FLOUR
We love Japanese style bread because it has to be the softest, fluffiest, airiest bread out there and it has a little sweetness to it, which is very compatible with the Filipino palate. Filipinos are notorious for our sweet palate and often foreigners are surprised by the sweetness of local bread and Filipino spaghetti.
Japanese Milk Bread Rolls Recipe
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour
Prep time 30 mins • Bakes for 20 • Total time spent 3 hrs 57 mins
- 3 tbsp (43g) water
- 3 tbsp (43g) whole milk
- 2 tbsp (14g) Bread Flour or All-purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 cups (298g) Bread Flour or All-purpose Flour
- 4 tbsp (18g) powdered milk or 2 tablespoons (11g) nonfat powdered milk
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (57g) melted unsalted butter
- 1 large egg beaten with
- 1 tbsp cold water
- Small saucepan
- Small bowl/measuring cup
- Large bowl
- Wooden/plastic spoon for mixing or you can use your hands
- Clean surface for kneading
- Spray bottle with drinking water
- Lightly greased bowl for proving
- Teatowel or clean cloth to cover
- Well-oiled bench or bowl scraper
- Extra flour for final shaping
- 1 9inch Spring Form Pan
- Alternatively: 2 6inch Spring Form Pans if you want to make 2 smaller ones instead of one big one
MISE EN PLACE
Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place”. It refers to the setup required before cooking.
When I learned to do Mise en place from 101 Things I Learned® in Culinary School, it changed cooking and baking for me. So now I never start a recipe without preparing and measuring all the ingredients. Makes cooking and baking a lot less stressful! I also trained my helper to do it each time.
How to pronounce Mise en place:
- Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Place saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly, until thick.
- You’ll know it’s ready when the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3-5 mins.
- Transfer the tangzhong to a small bowl/measuring cup & let cool to room temperature. Put it in front of a fan if you want it to cool faster.
- Mix the dry dough ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk. Then make a well in the center for the wet ingredients and tangzhong.
- Mix until just combined with a large wooden spoon.
- Lightly oil your hands and the scraper.
- Spray the work surface with water so the dough won’t stick
- Plop over the dough onto the wet surface
- Knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms – around 10mins. Use a timer. Watch this if you need help with the kneading motions:
- Using the scraper, shape into a ball and lift to place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover with a tea towel & let it rest for 60mins. It will be puffed up like this, though not necessarily double in size. It will smell heavenly and look like a cloud!
- Lightly dust your hands with dough then dust the top of the dough. Use hands to spread it on the surface, so when you turn it over it won’t stick to the floured work surface.
- Dust the surface well with flour too. Be sure to spread it around with your hands.
- Tip the bowl upside down to plop the dough onto a flour-dusted surface. The top will be sticky because it was not dusted with flour.
- Using the tips of your fingers, gently press on the sticky top side to deflate the dough a little.
- Divide it into 8 equal pizza slices using an oiled scraper. Then subdivide each pizza into half. Total of 16pcs.
If you want to make two 6inch Springform pans instead of one big one, halve each piece until you have 32 small sections.
- The top part of the dough is sticky, while the bottom should have flour and not stick to the surface. Fold until they are taut & ball-shaped, using this technique:
- The smooth, taut outer part of the ball should be lightly dusted with flour and not stick to the surface. If it sticks use the scraper to get flour underneath so it stops sticking. The top with the folds is called the seam.
- Place the rolls seam-side down into a lightly greased 9″ springform pan. I started from the outer layer going in. It’s not going to be perfect but that’s okay because the dough will puff up.
If you are using 2 x 6″ Springform pans, then you’ll be placing 16 smaller buns in each pan. It will be harder to fold, but I prefer the smaller bites to these huge ones for better portion control hehe. This is how it looks:
- Cover pan with the same tea towel and let rolls rest for 40mins, until puffy. It should look like this. Isn’t it so cute? It smells sooo good in person!
- At the 20min mark start preheat the oven to 350°F.
- After 40mins, brush rolls very gently with egg wash using a soft brush.
- Bake for around 20mins or until golden. Watch carefully until it’s golden brown on top. It can burn if you don’t watch it. This is the perfect color:
- Allow to cool in pan for 10 mins.
- Then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
I don’t have a rack, so I’m using this IKEA dish drainer, which we don’t really use for dishes. We use them as trivets for our serving platters when we are having our meals.
I sold most of my baking equipment 3 years ago when I realized I was too busy with my decluttering business to bake. With quarantine I’ve gone back to baking as a way of destressing and focusing on the present so as not to worry about the future or the past.
This is one irresistible bread that the whole family loves especially DiploBaby. My Father-in-law actually calls me to ask when I’m baking it again and has even suggested that I do it as a business. I think he is the 4th person to tell me to sell it.
Baking bread in a small oven, in a really warm kitchen here in Manila is truly a labor of love. But who knows, never say never right?
In the meantime, happy to share the recipe! I hope you enjoy making this in your own kitchen!