Shokupan: The Ultimate Japanese Milk Bread Recipe

Easy Shokupan Recipe: How to Make Authentic Japanese Milk Bread at Home

Discover the secrets behind creating the most tender, fluffy, and long-lasting loaf of Japanese milk bread you’ve ever tasted!

Shokupan, the iconic Japanese milk bread, is a true marvel in the world of baking. Known for its ultra-soft texture, subtle sweetness, and cloud-like crumb, this bread has gained a devoted following worldwide. The Japanese describe its texture as “fuwa fuwa,” meaning “fluffy fluffy,” and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re crafting the perfect sandwich or simply enjoying a slice with butter, shokupan is sure to become your new favorite bread.

The Science Behind Shokupan’s Irresistible Texture

The key to shokupan’s incredible texture lies in a flour scald technique. This method, similar to the Chinese tangzhong, involves combining flour and boiling liquid to create a gel-like mixture. This process allows the bread to retain more moisture, resulting in a softer texture and extended freshness.

Our recipe takes this technique a step further by using sweet rice flour instead of wheat flour for the scald. Sweet rice flour is almost 100% amylopectin, which makes it ideal for creating a bread that stays soft for days. We also incorporate more milk than traditional recipes, pushing the hydration to its limits for maximum tenderness.

Shokupan: A Versatile Bread for Every Occasion

Shokupan comes in two main styles: “kaku” (square) and “yama” (mountain). The kaku style is baked with a lid, resulting in perfectly square slices ideal for sandwiches. The yama style, which we’ll be making today, is baked without a lid, creating a beautiful domed top perfect for breakfast toast or as a striking centerpiece for your table.


For the Scald:

  • 70g sweet rice flour (about 2 1/2 ounces; 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 38g (3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 209g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk, brought to a boil
  • 42g (3 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the Dough:

  • 45g (3 tablespoons) cold whole milk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 280g bread flour or high-protein flour (about 9 3/4 ounces; 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 6g (2 teaspoons) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 14g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter


  1. Prepare the Scald

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour and sugar. Pour in the boiling milk and whisk rapidly until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency and reaches a temperature between 155 to 170˚F (68 to 77˚C).

  2. Scatter the cold butter cubes over the scalded rice flour mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit until the butter has melted and the mixture has cooled to at least 80˚F (27˚C), about 1 hour.
  3. Create the Dough

    Add the cold milk and egg yolk to the cooled scald mixture. Whisk until well-combined and the temperature is at or below 75˚F (24˚C).

  4. In your stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attached, combine the bread flour, salt, and instant yeast. Mix on low speed for about 15 seconds to combine.
  5. Add the scald mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes until the dough is uniform, scraping down the sides of the bowl and dough hook as needed.
  6. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 8 minutes, until the dough just starts to come away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will remain sticky and webby – don’t overmix!
  7. First Rise

    Transfer the dough to a greased large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at warm room temperature (75-80˚F; 24-27˚C) until puffy and expanded by about 1 1/2 times its original volume, 60 to 90 minutes.

  8. Deflate the dough with lightly moistened hands. Cover tightly and refrigerate until the dough reaches at least 55˚F (13˚C), a minimum of 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  9. Shape and Final Proof

    Grease a 9- by 4- by 4-inch loaf pan. Divide the chilled dough into 3 equal pieces, about 225g each, and shape each into a round. Let them rest, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.

  10. Roll each dough ball into a 9- by 4-inch rectangle, then roll up tightly from the short end to form a 4-inch wide log. Place the logs side-by-side in the prepared pan, seam-side down.
  11. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at warm room temperature until the top of the loaf is 1/2 inch below the lip of the pan, 1 to 2 hours.
  12. Bake to Perfection

    Preheat your oven to 300ºF (150ºC) with the rack in the middle position.

  13. Bake the loaf for 50 to 60 minutes, until it’s well-browned and has an internal temperature of at least 195ºF (88ºC).
  14. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the top with melted butter. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Equipment Needed

Whisk, instant-read thermometer, stand mixer, rolling pin, nonstick baking spray, 9- by 4- by 4-inch rectangular bread pan, bread knife, pastry brush, wire rack

Pro Tips for Perfect Shokupan

  • Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements – this recipe was developed using weight, not volume.
  • Don’t skip the cold proofing step – it makes the sticky dough much easier to handle.
  • If your scald mixture doesn’t reach the right temperature, you can microwave it in 30-second intervals or heat it gently on the stovetop.
  • For a perfectly square loaf, use a pullman pan with a lid and reduce the dough amount slightly.

Storing and Freezing

Your shokupan will stay fresh at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap the cooled loaf tightly in foil, place in a zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Get ready to experience the magic of homemade shokupan – your taste buds (and your sandwich game) will thank you!


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