Shokupan Japanese Bread
Updated: Jul 5
I love bread and I love the aroma of fresh bread coming out the oven. I grew up with typical soft asian type of bread. In fact, my mum was a bread maker and seller when I was little. I ate it almost everyday and I was used to with only this soft type of bread. My husband on the other hand, grew up with crusty western type of bread. After some time, I become liking the western type of bread too.
My first encounter of this Shokupan Japanese Bread was a few years ago when I bought yuzu buns from a Japanese bakery. They taste really soft, fluffy, and airy. I really like them! I was challenged to make them. After trying a few different recipes, I finally found the right one. The secret method to make a soft and fluffy Japanese Bread lies on the milk roux or tangzhong, some mention about Yudane method, too.
My son really loves these soft, fluffy, and airy Shokupan Japanese Bread. It is not difficult to make. It does require a long time, around 3.5 hours in total from the start to the end until it is out from the oven, but there is a lot of waiting time to proof the dough. The proofing time is around 2 hours and 20 minutes. You can do something else while waiting. Try this recipe, I am sure you are going to like it!
For the starter (Milk Roux or Tangzhong)
20 gr Bread Flour
1/2 cup fresh milk (full cream). I use Hokkaido Fresh Milk (more creamy and tasty) but the price is twice of Australian Fresh Milk - which is also very good.
For the dough
1/2 cup fresh milk (full cream)
1 large egg, beaten
2 cup Bread Flour (320 gram)
2 tsp yeast (6 gram)
2-4 tbsp caster sugar (I prefer less sweet, so I usually put 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened (at room temperature) unsalted butter (56 gram)
1) Combine bread flour and milk in a small saucepan and whisk until no more lumps. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sauce thicken, around 4-5 minutes. Move it to a small bowl.
2) Add the remaining milk (1/2 cup) and stir briefly. Don't worry about the lumps. Add in the beaten egg into the mixture and stir briefly. It is not a smooth mixture with the milk roux, but it is ok.
3) In a bowl, combine the bread flour and yeast. Stir to mix them. Add in the milk roux mixture and with a hand mixer or standing mixer at medium speed, knead for about 2 minutes until no more flour seen. Cover with wet towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
4) After resting, turn on the hand mixer at medium speed and gradually add in the salt and sugar. Continue to mix at medium speed until the dough is smooth, for about 3 minutes. Add butter a little at a time and continue mixing at medium-high speed until all the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth, roughly for about 8 minutes. The dough looks a bit wet and shiny, and this is ok. Don't worry and certainly don't add flour.
5) Scoop the dough and smoothen it, make a big round shape with your slightly greased hands (or wet hands). Move the dough into a big bowl greased with a bit of oil. Cover with wet towel and let the dough rest for 60 minutes. The size is expected to be double.
6) Since we are working with a little bit more wet dough than normal, it is best to work with your oily hands on a counter top lightly oiled. If your dough is not too sticky and you think you can handle it, you can work on a counter top slightly dusted with flour.
Flatten the big dough on a flat surface by pressing it and divide it into 9 portions, roughly about 80 gram each. Shape them into balls and place them in a baking pan sized 20 cm x 20 cm that is slightly greased with butter. Cover with towel and let it rest for another 50 minutes. In the last 15 minutes, heat the oven to 175 degree celcius. Once proofed, bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
7) They are ready now! My 7 year old son would usually eat two of these at one go, while they are still warm, as his afternoon snack. He would eat it for breakfast in the morning a day after and I will also pack one for his snack time at school. Delicious!