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baked shokupan on black baking sheet

Soft, Fluffy Shokupan (Milk Bread) Recipe

An Instagram "star", shokupan (also called milk bread) is American white bread's more sophisticated cousin - it's a much more flavorful and substantial bread, despite its soft and fluffy crumb. But try this at your own risk, because you'll never want to buy or eat another slice of boring white bread again. Make a loaf, start to finish, in about 3 hours. Makes one large loaf or 1260 grams of dough.
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Approximate proofing and resting time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 26 slices
Calories 131kcal
Author Marie


  • bread loaf pan (for 1 kg dough; I used a 13x4x4 Pullman loaf pan)
  • standing mixer with dough hook attachment


For the tangzhong

  • 45 grams bread flour
  • 120 grams water or milk

For the bread dough

  • all tangzhong from step 1
  • 650 grams bread flour
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tsp table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 320 grams whole milk may also use reduced fat
  • 4 tbsp butter sliced and softened/room temp
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons (OPTIONAL)

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch salt
  • water or milk 1 tablespoon or so to thin mixture


To Make the Roux/Tangzhong (stovetop OR microwave method)

  • Stovetop: Combine ingredients in a small pot and place over medium heat
  • Stir and continue to heat until the mixture turns into a pudding-like consistency.
  • If you have a digital food thermometer, the mixture should reach ~149 F
  • Microwave method (preferred for its ease): Add ingredients to a microwave proof jar (I like to use glass canning jars like Ball).
  • Stir ingredients very well and then microwave for 25 seconds; remove and stir well again.
  • Return to microwave and cook for 15 seconds, then remove and stir very well. Repeat this process until the mixture has thickened up when stirred (typically requires a total of three 15-second cycles).
    top view of cooked tangzhong in small glass jar with spoon
  • Cover and cool until it is room temperature or at least 120 F (can be stored for up to 2 days in the refrigerator; remove and bring to room temperature before using)

To Make the Dough

  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl of a standing mixer
  • Add tangzhong (cooled), egg, milk, and butter.
  • Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Increase speed to medium and knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes before testing for windowpane.
  • Knead until the windowpane develops (windowpane is when you break off a walnut sized piece of dough and stretch it gently until super thin; "almost see through").
    view of how to test and pull a windowpane in bread dough

To Proof

  • After kneading and achieving the windowpane, divide dough into 5 equal pieces and form into balls.
    5 balls of dough on wooden board
  • Cover balls and let rest for 15 minutes (using a damp lint free towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray so it does not stick to the dough).
  • After the dough has rested, flour each ball on both sides and then, using a rolling pin, flatten each ball into an rectangular shape that is about ¼ thick.
    a portion of bread dough rolled out on wooden board
  • Fold the edges of the dough over so they meet in the middle.
    folding up sides of bread dough the same width as bread pan
  • Roll up the dough into a cylindrical shape.
    how to roll shokupan pieces
  • Place each log in loaf pan (make sure seam is on bottom of pan and the rolled parts are facing front and back of pan). Note that the USA pullman pan that I use does NOT require greasing; please grease your pan if not using USA pan
    top view of shokupan placed in USA bread pan unbaked on wooden board
  • Cover pan with lid (if you have one) OR lightly oiled plastic wrap, and proof from 45 to 70 minutes (total time will depend on temperature of dough and of kitchen)
  • The bread dough is ready to bake when it rises to just within an inch of the top of the pan. Note that when it gets close to this, begin to preheat your oven (365 F).
  • Just before baking, brush the top of the bread with egg wash.
    shokupan bread with egg wash ready to be baked

To Bake the Bread

  • About 15 minutes before bread has finished proofing begin to preheat the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 365 F and position rack in bottom third of oven for baking the bread.
  • When bread has risen within 1 inch of top of pan, brush the top with egg wash,, place bread in oven and bake the bread for 45 minutes.
  • Check bread after 20 to 30 minutes of baking for browning and place aluminum foil loosely over top of bread if it has picked up too much color or is browning too quickly.
  • After 45 minutes of baking, remove bread and gently tilt loaf pan to remove bread. Let bread cool completely before slicing or storing.
  • Slice into ½ inch slices or to taste.
  • After it has completely cooled, store wrapped for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Stir the tangzhong well between microwave internals or when making on stovetop
Make sure your dough pulls a windowpane (meaning you can slowly stretch it out very thin until it's nearly translucent; when it breaks it should have clean edges - this means it has been kneaded sufficiently). 
Dough should fill about 40% of pan and you should let it rise until it's about 1 inch from the top of the pan. 
Monitor the final rise and preheat your oven about 15 to 20 minutes before you estimate the bread to be finished rising (the rise should take from 45 to 70 minutes depending on dough and room temperature). 


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 93IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg