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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!

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!

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!

Yield: 12 Slices

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 cup 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. 
  3. 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.  
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Cover and let rise an additional 45 minutes.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before removing bread from pan.  Let cool on a cooling rack.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 5g

This nutritional information can vary depending on the specific products you choose so this is a general guess of the correct nutritional information based on the products I used. Please keep that in mind when making the recipe.

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Monday 5th of September 2022

I goofed.i rolled out dough before letting it double in size


Monday 24th of January 2022

I made this over the weekend with just a few changes. I used skim milk because it's what I had, I used NoSalt instead of regular salt because everyone in my household is on a low sodium diet, and most importantly, I didn't use a mixer. It still came out very well! It's the new family favorite among homemade breads! NoSalt has always worked flawlessly when I use it for baking.

For anyone else who opts to knead by hand instead of using a mixer, here are a few tips:

1. I softened the butter and whisked it with the room temperature milk until it was all a liquid and added them to the dry ingredients all at once instead of adding the butter later. This way I could be sure it was evenly distributed although kneaded by hand.

2. This dough is stickier than other bread dough. If kneading by hand, be prepared to use more flour for your surface than normal.

3. Pay attention to your starter! I put it in while it was still a little bit warmer than the room temperature ingredients, and this way I could tell through feel when it was properly dispersed through the dough. Don't keep it so warm that it kills the yeast, but go ahead and put it in when there's a temperature difference you can still feel and use that feel to tell you when everything is fully blended.

Good luck!

Angela Ocampo

Friday 29th of October 2021

Can you mix the active dry yeast with dry ingredients right away? Do you not need time for it to be active?

Darla S Goodman

Tuesday 14th of September 2021

I always use 1/4 cup bread flour to starter but you have to use a whisk and take it off the heat when it starts to thicken and just whisk until it's smooth like paste. It has never failed me! ❤

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Friday 20th of August 2021

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