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How to Make the Best Japanese Shokupan Milk Bread

A foolproof way to get that fluffy soft Japanese bread fix at home.
Posted June 21, 2020 by Stephanie
Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

If you know me, even a little bit, you would know that I love carbs. I have a sweatshirt that proudly proclaims me a carb lover because it’s so very, very true. If I had my way and lived in a world where calories didn’t count, I would happily live on carbs only, all day, everyday. Give me ALL the carby foods: potatoes, noodles, rice, and oh yes, especially BREAD.

I love all bread but Japanese shokupan is my absolute favorite. So much so that back when traveling was a thing, Mike and I regularly went on shokupan hunts while in Tokyo. Bread and toast is on another level over there. Every time we flew home I would bring a loaf, tucked into a carry on bag that I would keep in my lap just so I could have shokupan at home. Those were the days!

Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Of course now travel is out for the foreseeable future. Which makes me sad on so many levels. Will I ever eat REAL fluffy, squishy Japanese shokupan again? I’m hoping with all my heart that the answer is yes. In the meantime, I’ve been baking this simple squishable loaf. It doesn’t have a yudane (a boiling water and flour roux) or a tangzhong (a cooked water and flour roux) the two most common additions to shokupan. Even without, it is still a very soft and fluffy loaf with the added the bonus of not having to think about making bread the day before.

A lot of bread recipes (sourdough especially but even soft sandwich loaves) are a two day affair. I like this loaf because you can think to yourself in the morning, I would like some soft and fluffy bread and then make it and have it the same day.

Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

It comes together very simply: you proof your yeast, mix up your dry ingredients, add the egg to the yeast, then mix the dough. Once the dough comes together, you slowly knead in the butter. The key to a soft and fluffy shokupan is in the kneading so make sure you take the time (a mixer with a dough hook is the right choice here) to reach the window pane stage. One your dough is soft and extensible, you can expect a soft and shreddable loaf.

I really liked this loaf, simply toasted with butter or spread with some cream cheese and jam. But, it’s still not the level of bread I love from Japan so I’m going to be doing some more experimenting. Please let me know in the comments if you have any favorite Japanese shokupan recipes, I’m always up for trying new ones!

Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

A note on size and shaping

This was made in a 4.5 inch pullman cube which holds about 1 lb of dough. You can also make it in a regular sized loaf pan in which it will be rounded on top like a regular loaf of bread. If you are making it in a regular loaf pan, you’ll want to divide the dough into two equally sized balls before shaping. I’ve included the bakers’ percentages below as well so you can size according to your pan.

  • 120 grams water 48%
  • 2 grams active dry yeast .8%
  • 250 grams bread flour 100%
  • 30 grams sugar 12 %
  • 1.5 grams salt .6%
  • 28 grams egg 11.2 %
  • 25 grams butter 10%
Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe

Serves 1 loaf
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Proofing Time 2 hrs
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 120 grams water warm, see note
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 250 grams bread flour
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 large egg lightly beaten, about 1.5 tbsp (28 grams)
  • 25 grams butter room temp

Instructions

  • Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water/milk. Let proof while you complete the next steps.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • In the bowl of your mixer, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Whisk the egg into the yeast mixture, then add to the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it comes into a ball and then switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the room temperature butter and continue to knead, about 10-12 minutes, until very supple and the dough reaches the windowpane stage – take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and stretch it out between your fingers and thumbs. If you can stretch it without the dough breaking, you’re good to go. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place in a warm spot and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Take the dough and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down lightly then roll out into a large oval.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bring the two sides of the oval towards the middle.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Then roll up.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Place in a pullman loaf pan (I used a non-stick pan, lightly oil or butter your pan if it isn’t non-stick), cover and let proof until 1 inch below the top, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Heat the oven to 355°F after the dough has been proofing for 30 minutes.
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Slide the lid on the pan and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until the bread is golden and cooked through. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!
    Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

I wanted this to be a milk shokupan so I used 80 grams water + 40 grams milk, you can go ahead and use all water or a mix of water and milk depending on what you prefer.

Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

6 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    So excited to try this recipe! Quick question: If you are using regular loaf pans do you get two loaves? One for each dough ball?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi sarah,
      if you’re using a regular loaf pan you’ll still get one loaf. just divide the dough into two balls :) dividing into two balls will help the loaf get taller since the pan is longer

  2. Dee says:

    Where did you get your loaf pan?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi dee,
      mine is from japan, but this one is essentially the same!

  3. Hillary says:

    I really recommend incorporating a tangzhong. The gelatinized starch really helps make a, dare I say, moist, squishy loaf :)

    1. Stephanie says:

      my next loaf will have a tangzhong or yudane for sure :)

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Japanese Shokupan Bread Recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com