Soft, chewy, and light as a pillow, milk bread is probably #2 on my bread list. I have very fond childhood memories of picking up a loaf from Mitsuwa and smothering it with salted butter. This recipe is super easy and pretty hands-off (if you have a stand mixer and kitchen scale). It’s also really fun to watch the dough rise at each step. The roux-like tangzhong is a crucial step that gives the milk bread its signature fluff.
3.25 oz milk
0.65 oz bread flour
5.25 oz warm milk
2 tbs sugar
2¼ tsp (1 pack) active dry yeast
12.1 oz bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 room temperature egg
1 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
Activate Yeast : Mix the warm milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
Tangzhong: In a small pan over medium low heat, combine the milk and flour to make the tangzhong. Stir for a couple minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.
Make Dough: In a stand mixer bowl, whisk the bread flour and salt together. Crack the egg in, add the yeast mixture and the tangzhong. Stir until it roughly comes together.
Knead: Set the stand mixer on low and knead for 5 minutes. Add the butter and knead for another 5-7 minutes. The dough should be sticky and springy.
First Rise: Cover the mixer bowl with a towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 - 1½ hours or until it doubles in size.
Shape: Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and shape each into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it becomes a long oval. Fold one side (lengthwise) into the middle and then fold in the other side as well. Flatten with a rolling pin. Gently roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the seam at the bottom. Place it seam side down into a greased 9" X 4" loaf pan. Repeat with the remaining two dough.
Second Rise: Cover and let rise again for 1 - 1½ hours or until double in size (or top of dough has risen over the top of the pan by about an inch.
Bake and cool: When the bread is ready to bake, brush the top of the bread with egg wash and bake for 30 minutes at 350º F. Remove the bread from the pan, let it cool on a wire rack, and take lots of Instagram photos! It’s so beautiful and you did so, so good!