Milk Bread

This recipe is my partner’s recipe for a Japanese-style milk bread. It has one sub-recipe, which is the starter used for the bread.

A loaf of Milk Bread fresh out of the oven
A loaf of Milk Bread fresh out of the oven


Makes 1 loaf of bread


  • 1/2 cup Milk Bread Starter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk, plus some extra for brushing
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer (not required, but helps with the initial mixing)
  • loaf pan
  • Basting brush


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift bread flour.
  2. Add sugar, yeast, and salt, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add milk, egg, and Milk Bread Starter, and mix to combine.
    • If the dough seems dry, and not all the flour is incorporated, add splashes of milk until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 3 minutes.
  5. Add butter, and knead for 10 minutes.
    • I find it easiest to add butter 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and only add more once the first is fully incorporated.
  6. Shape into a ball, and place in a small, buttered mixing bowl.
  7. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rest until doubled-size (roughly 45 - 60 minutes).
  8. Punch down dough, and scoop out onto clean unfloured surface.
  9. Divide in half, and form into balls.
  10. Cover with a damp kitchen towel, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  11. Grease and lightly flour your loaf pan
  12. Lightly flour rolling pin, and roll one ball into a 12" x 6" oval.
  13. With the oval pointing towards you, fold 1/3rd of the oval towards the middle.
  14. Fold the other 1/3rd towards the middle, over the first fold.
  15. Opposite the folds, roll the dough into a log.
  16. Place the log into the loaf pan seam-side down.
  17. Repeat the last four steps with the other ball of dough.
  18. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  19. Cover dough with a kitchen towel, and allow to rest for 35 - 40 minutes.
  20. Brush top of loaf with milk.
  21. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and immediately begin baking on the bottom rack for 35 minutes.
  22. Let cool for 8 - 10 minutes in the loaf pan, and then finish cooling on a wire rack for an additional 30 - 60 minutes.


Keep in a not-fully-closed zip-lock bag. Stays fresh for roughly 7 days.

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