Japanese milk bread, shokupan (食パン), a lightly-sweetened white bread that’s incredibly soft, fluffy, and moist. Each slice is rich in flavor, which makes it irresistible. This vegan Japanese milk bread will surely make you rethink normal store-bought bread.
You can also turn this recipe into dinner rolls!
- ¼ cup (30g) – bread flour
- ½ cup (120g) – soy milk, unflavored, (I used Silk Original)
- 3 tablespoons (42g) – vegan butter, cubed and softened room temperature
- 1 packet (8g) – active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup (160g) – soy milk, lukewarm 100° F, (I used Silk Original)
- 2 ⅓ cups (330g) – bread flour 12% protein, I used King Arthur’s Bread Flour
- ¼ cup (30g) – granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5g) – kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (15g) – agave or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons (10g) – soy milk
Making the tangzhong:
- Starting out with a cold saucepan, mix together the ingredients for the tangzhong.
- Once the tangzhong is fully incorporated, place the pan over medium heat. With a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir continuously. Keep stirring until the mixture has completely thickened and has become sticky.
- Remove from heat and set aside to let it come to room temperature.
Making the dough:
- Before starting, remove the vegan butter from the fridge and allow it to soften at room temperature. About 30-45 minutes.
- Next, warm up the soy milk in the microwave until it has become lukewarm or 100° Fahrenheit. Use 15-second increments, and try not to overheat. Stir in the yeast, and set it aside to bloom. For, 5-10 minutes.
- As you wait, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, sugar, and salt.
- When the tangzhong and yeast are ready, add them to the dry ingredients.
- With a dough hook attachment, and on low speed and mix the ingredients for 5 minutes.
- Once you have a cohesive dough, add in the butter one cube at a time. Work it in the dough until the butter has been completely kneaded in.
- On the stand mixer, switch to medium-low speed, and continue to knead the dough until you get a smooth and bouncy surface. For about 12-15 minutes. See notes
- In a large, lightly oiled bowl. Place the dough inside and cover it with a damp cloth and set it aside in a warm spot.
- Let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a work surface.
- Shape the dough into a ball by tucking them underneath itself, pulling their tops taut. Making them nice, smooth, and round. On the work surface, use your hands to move it around in a circle. This will tuck the dough into itself, and essentially sealing the bottom.
- Cut the dough into two equal sizes. If you are using a food scale, make sure they are equal in weight. If not, try to eyeball as best as you can.
- Form the dough into balls, cover with a damp cloth and let them rest for another 15 minutes.
- Take one dough ball and flatten it to a 6-inch x 10-inch oval (15 cm x 25 cm).
- Flip it over so that the smooth side is facing up.
- Fold in the 10-inch sides and take one of the ends and roll it up. Pinch the end onto itself so it does not unravel. Place it in the bread tin, seam side down.
- Repeat for the second dough ball.
- When you rolled both pieces of dough, place it in the bread tin seam side down. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise again for one more hour. As you wait, prep your vegan wash, mix together, and set aside.
- When the bread dough hits the last 20 minutes of its rise, preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- When your dough is doubled in size and has filled up the bread tin, lightly brush the top with the vegan wash and pop it in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden brown. After, let the bread cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove it from the tin and let it completely cool on a wire rack. Cut it up and enjoy!
- Why soymilk? Compared to other non-dairy milk, soy milk has a high protein content that is similar to regular milk. Which makes helps the overall end product. You can use different non-dairy milk, just keep in mind the results may vary.
- Why do I need a food scale? When it comes to baking, precision is key, and grams are the most accurate way to measure your ingredients. Cups are not only inaccurate, but they vary in volume worldwide. Yes, I did provide measurements in cups, but the results will be different. Watch this video from King Arthur on how to properly measure your flour if you don’t have a food scale: How to Measure Your Flour
- Do I need to have a stand mixer? Of course not, you can make this by hand. It will just take a little bit more effort.
- You’ll know when your dough is kneaded enough when it springs back immediately when lightly pressed, and doesn’t tear when you pull it apart.
- A Pullman loaf pan is different than your regular bread pan. It was designed for this type of bread. I did try it out it a regular bread pan, and the results differed. You don’t get the same height as the Pullman loaf pan.
- This recipe is also perfect for dinner rolls! You can shape them evenly into 9-equal sized buns, and use a square pan to bake them in.
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