Japanese Tangzhong Milk Bread (Water Roux)

Total Time
3hrs 30mins
Prep 3 hrs
Cook 30 mins

Really soft, fluffy bread that stays soft for days. This bread is amazing! Recipe is adapted from Yvonne Chen's "The 65 degree Bread Doctor". This recipe is best made in a mixer or bread machine because the dough is quite soft and sticky.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make tangzhong (water roux) by wisking together the 25 g flour with the 125 ml of water in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat mixture over medium-low heat while stirring constantly until it thickens enough that your stirring leaves 'lines' or 'trails' on the surface, and then remove from heat immediately and scrape into a small bowl.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying on the surface and cool to room temperature.
  4. Put milk, egg and cooled tangzhong in mixer bowl or bread machine pan.
  5. Add remaining ingredients except butter and turn on machine to begin mixing.
  6. Mix until ingredients just come together and then add butter.
  7. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic and will form a windowpane when stretched.
  8. Proof dough, covered, until it doubles.
  9. Deflate dough and divide into 4 equal portions, trying to make them as equal as possible (weighing is the best way).
  10. Cover and rest 15 minutes.
  11. Roll out each portion into an oval shape.
  12. Fold each side of the oval to the middle and roll again to flatten the seam.
  13. By hand, roll up each portion of folded dough starting at the unfolded end, so it resembles a swiss roll.
  14. Place all four rolls into a greased 9" x 5" bread pan with the ends of the rolls facing the long sides of the pan.
  15. Cover and proof until doubled.
  16. At this point you can apply an egg-wash by beating an egg and lightly brushing it over the top of the dough (optional).
  17. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
  18. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
  19. If you didn't use an egg wash, you can brush tops of hot bread with melted butter if desired.
  20. NOTE: for those of you who do not have a scale, the measured ingredients would be: tangzhong=2 Tbsp + 2 tsp flour, 1/2 c water, Recipe=2 1/2 c bread flour, 2 tsp instant yeast, 4 T sugar, 1 tsp salt, 4 tsp milk powder, 1 egg, 1/2 c milk, 3 T butter.
Most Helpful

I love this simple technique for soft breads. The taste and light crumb is what I want in a sandwich bread or a roll.

Red Apple Guy January 30, 2013

My first time making bread using the 'tangzhong' method and it came out soft and fluffy. Thank you Donna for sharing this awesome recipe. I just want to highlight a couple of things...I don't have a bread machine and instant yeast so I had to 'proof' the yeast with warm milk and sugar. Also, for me, the baking time was shorter...20-25 min. Overall, the result was well worth the time and effort. This recipe is a must-keep!

Baker's apprentice February 17, 2013

Just finished making this and very pleased with the results. It is a soft, light bread with a slightly sweet background that slices evenly. I was really happy to see you included the info on amounts at the bottom as I don't have a scale. Can't comment on the staying power yet as just made it. I'm thinking this is going to make a nice sandwich bread and it's scheduled for DH's lunch tomorrow. There were a lot of steps but it's not really complicated, just very complete directions. A different technique that was fun to try and I was pleased with the results. As usual with your recipes Donna - this one worked just as described.

Bonnie G #2 January 29, 2013