Hokkaido Milk Bread (Shokupan)

Hokkaido Milk Bread – Light and fluffy pull-apart Japanese bread that is easy to make! This milk bread recipe uses the tangzhong roux method which helps create a tender loaf of bread that’s perfect with a bit of butter on it for breakfast!

Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread (Shokupan)

Hokkaido milk bread was something I discovered in Japan when I was there 4 years ago.  I was getting breakfast at the pastry shop inside of my hotel and I saw really tall loaves of bread and was intrigued.  I took a bite and it melted right into my mouth, changing my life and all I knew about bread.  It was lightly sweetened and didn’t even need butter or jam, the bread was just perfect the way it was.  Since then, I have been on a mission to make Hokkaido milk bread at home and I finally did it this week! It was just as delicious as I remember! Now I will admit, my loaf was a little lopsided as the bread needed a tad bit bigger pan then what I had on hand so it overflowed a bit but that sure didn’t effect the taste! I can’t wait to try making french toast with the leftover bread, I bet it will be amazing!

Make sure to check out the rest of the recipes in my Japanese recipe collection HERE!

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Common questions about making milk bread

What is milk bread?

Milk bread (or shokupan) is a Japanese bread made from a Tangzhong base.  It is a very light and fluffy bread with a springy texture that is lightly sweetened.

Why do you need dry milk in bread?

Dry milk helps create a tender loaf of bread and gives it flavor.

What is a Tangzhong?

Tangzhong is an Asian baking technique in which part of the dough is cooked with water ahead of time in a roux.

Other tips and tricks on this milk bread recipe

  • I highly suggest using at least a 9″x4″ bread pan that is deep.  Mine was not as deep as I would have liked it to be so the bread spilled over the edge of the pan a bit instead of growing as high upward.
  • This bread is a little sweet and great with butter or jam on it!
  • You can turn this bread dough into a dinner roll recipe instead! Divide the dough into 16 pieces, roll the dough into balls, transfer to a greased 8″x8″ pan, and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and 190 degrees inside.

Can’t get enough of this milk bread recipe? Try these other recipes!

Japanese Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Hokkaido Milk Bread - Light and fluffy Japanese bread that is easy to make! This milk bread recipe uses the tangzhong roux method which helps create a tender loaf of bread that's perfect with a bit of butter on it for breakfast!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes



  • 1/4 tablespoon bread flour
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 2 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 yeast packet
  • 1 tablespoon dry milk powder or sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature and beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Heavy cream or melted butter


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combined the ingredients for the starter.  Stir continuously for 4-5 minutes or until the starter thickens to the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit until the starter gets to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, sugar, yeast, dry milk powder, and salt.  Once mixed, add in milk, starter, and beaten egg.  Using the dough hook attachment, beat on low for 5 minutes.  Add in butter and beat 5 more minutes.  Turn the speed up to medium and beat for a final 5 minutes.  Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equally sized pieces.  Roll each out to be 8"x5" and then fold each of the long sides in 1".  Starting on one of the shorter edges, roll up and then place in a greased 9"x4" pan.  Repeat with each piece of dough.  Cover and let rise an additional 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once the dough has risen, brush the top of the dough with heavy whipping cream.  Place into oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the inside is 190 degrees.
  5. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before removing bread from pan.  Let cool on a cooling rack.

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  • Reply
    Jacqueline DiNuoscio
    June 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I’ve never tried milk bread, but this looks amazing!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I have always heard good things about this bread. Thanks for sharing a detailed and doable recipe!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    June 7, 2018 at 10:36 am

    I am such a sucker for homemade bread…and that smell as it bakes! Swoon! This looks SOOOOO good! I could eat a few slices for dinner and call it a day…with butter of course 😉

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Delicious Little Bites
    June 7, 2018 at 10:53 am

    This bread sounds and looks amazing! I’ve never heard of it before, but growing up I had a friend from Japan and whenever I would stay over at her house, all the food was incredible! This is definitely a must try!

  • Reply
    Natanja || Home Baked Bliss
    June 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Omg this is the most tender and fluffy bread I have ever seen! I bet it would be lovely in a sweet breakfast casserole too!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Wow. This looks Amazing! Never heard of milk bread but I can only imagine how good it tastes.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    June 7, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Bread is a weakness of mine. A big weakness. I’ve never heard of Hokkaido milk bread! I’m glad I know about it now since I want to make your delicious recipe!!

  • Reply
    Aimee Shugarman
    June 7, 2018 at 11:54 am

    What a delicious bread, Love all your tips too!

  • Reply
    Amanda Finks
    June 7, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I love that this bread is pull-apart and how light and fluffy it is. Yum!

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    June 9, 2018 at 8:05 am

    This looks professional made and like some of your other readers, I’m not familiar with Hokkaido milk bread. Looks like you nailed this recipe though! Great job as always!!!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I need this bread!! I looks so perfectly light and fluffy! Printing the recipe now! Cant wait to make it!

  • Reply
    Michaela Kenkel
    June 11, 2018 at 1:06 am

    Oh my goodness!! Look at how soft that bread looks!! I haven’t made homemade bread in forever — you have inspired me!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Stewart
    June 11, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    I am absolutely mesmerized by how fluffy this bread it!! WOW! I can’t wait to try and make this!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Im always intimidated with baking bread… these seem totally doable! Cant wait to try them!

  • Reply
    Sandra Shaffer
    June 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    You did a fantastic job with this milk bread! It looks so light and airy and love that you don’t need any jam or butter for flavor.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Looks awesome! Maybe I missed it, but when do you add the starter into the dough mixture?

    • Reply
      June 12, 2018 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much for pointing that out! It goes in with the eggs and milk in step 2, I just updated the recipe to say that! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 16, 2018 at 11:00 am

    This looks so good and I’m going to try it soon. Why do you brush with whipping cream instead of butter? Just curious…

    • Reply
      June 18, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Butter works instead, whipping cream is just what I grew up using for some reason!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Here in the UK we use weight instead of cups. It’s difficult to get butter into a cup! Any chance of adding weight I. Either grams or ozs. Thanks. Franky

  • Reply
    September 10, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Ive made this several times since finding this recipe… it is always so good! We never seem to have it last very long !!

  • Reply
    Michaela Kenkel
    September 10, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    I can’t wait to try this!! You always have the most clever recipes!!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Do u really use only a 1/4 tablespoon on bread flour in the starter mixture? I couldnt seem to get it to thicken.

    • Reply
      October 28, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Yes, it is just 1/4 tablespoon of bread flour. I didn’t seem to have an issue when I made it but I’m going to give the recipe a try again this week to check!

  • Reply
    December 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    How would I make this in a bread machine? Or can I?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      I am honestly not quite sure if it would work in a bread machine being that the process of making the bread is a little bit different from other breads I have made in a bread machine before but if you get it to work, please let me know!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    softest, fluffiest bread ever! I’ve been searching for a great Shokupan recipe and have had major success with yours. followed the recipe to a tee and the bread turned out beautifully. thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ana Flores
    January 18, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    By bread flour do you mean all-purpose flour or strong flour?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2019 at 3:15 pm

      Strong flour! 🙂

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