Japanese Milk Bread Rolls

Japanese Milk Bread Rolls


  • 3 tablespoons (43g) water
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons (14g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 1/2 cups (298g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 tablespoons (18g) Baker’s Special Dry Milk or 2 tablespoons (11g) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (113g) whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57g) melted unsalted butter


  1. To make the tangzhong: Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.

  2. Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.

  4. To make the dough: Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms.

  5. Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

  6. Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.

  7. Place the rolls into a lightly greased 8” or 9” round cake pan. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

  8. Regular Preheat the oven to 350°F (do not use fast preheat). Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water), and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle roll should read at least 190°F.

  9. Remove the rolls from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

  10. Tips from our Bakers

  11. To make a loaf: After the dough’s initial rise, divide it into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a log. Place the logs in a row of four — seam side down and side by side — in a lightly greased 9” x 5” loaf pan. Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.

  12. Brush the loaf with milk or egg wash and bake at 350°F on a lower-middle rack for about 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

  13. This soft dough lends itself beautifully to fried doughnuts. After the dough has risen once, hop on over to our Yeast-Raised Doughnuts recipe and start at step #3 to see how it’s done.

More delicious recipes