Use the tangzhong roux method to make these fluffy and semi-sweet milk bread rolls!
Japanese-style bread is one of my favorite bread types because of how fluffy and lightly sweet they are. It’s similar to a Hawaiian roll, but is more airy and less sweet. A popular technique in making this bread is using a tangzhong roux, a starchy gel that provides a soft texture to breads. The tangzhong roux requires 2 simple ingredients, water and flour, but works very effectively in bread dough.
Milk bread requires some time due to two rising periods, but is extremely worth the wait. The bread also freezes extremely well so it is common to batch bake and freeze the bread, which lasts for several months. The bread is often baked in a loaf or roll form. I made rolls today and stuffed them with red bean paste to make a delicious breakfast or dessert food. The bread itself is not very sweet, so the red bean paste complements the bread very well. Red bean paste can be purchased or made at home. I used a homemade one using an instant pot to speed up the cooking process.
I also divided the dough in half and added matcha to one half of the dough so that the end product would be tri-colored. I loved how the bread appeared when I cut it open! The dough recipe is adapted from DreamsofDashi’s shokupan recipe.
Red Bean Matcha Milk Bread
yield: 7-8 rolls
- 3 c. bread flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk powder (any fat percentage; I used non-fat)
- 1 tsp. instant yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6.5 tbsp. lukewarm water
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tbsp. softened butter
- 1 tsp. matcha powder
- 3 tbsp. bread flour + 1/2 c. water for tangzhong roux
- 1/2 c. red bean paste. (Store-bought or homemade)
- 1 egg + 1 tsp. water for egg wash
- sesame seeds to top
- Start by making the tangzhong first. In a small pot, whisk together the 3 tbsp. bread flour and 1/2 c. water over medium low heat. Whisk frequently until the roux thickens and turns into a sticky paste. This takes about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the dough hook, add the flour, sugar, milk powder, instant yeast, salt, and water and knead on medium speed (KitchenAid stand mixer setting 4). After 1 minute, crack in the egg and mix for an additional 4 min.
- Add in the softened butter and continue kneading for 7 min. Remove half of the dough and set aside. Knead the remaining half in the mixer for an additional 5 min. Remove this dough and place in a medium oiled bowl. Cover and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
- Place the other half of the dough in the stand mixer and add 1 tsp. matcha powder to it. Knead the dough and matcha powder together for 5 min. Place dough in another medium oiled bowl. Cover and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour and the dough has doubled in size, punch both dough down to release the air. For each dough, cut them into 7-8 even pieces and roll them into balls.
- To assemble the bread, lightly flour a surface and take one of the original-flavored dough piece and roll it out into a long oval. Set aside.
- Take a matcha-flavored dough piece and also roll it out into a long oval. Place the matcha dough on top of the original dough and lightly roll it out with the rolling pin.
- Spread on about 1 tbsp. of red bean paste, roll the dough tightly, and pinch the edges to seal. Shape the dough into a round ball and place in a greased baking pan with high edges (about 3-4 cm.).
- Repeat for the rest of the dough pieces. Once all rolls have been formed, cover the baking pan and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- After 1 hour, the bread dough should have doubled in size. Lightly brush the surface with an egg wash and top with white sesame seeds. Bake in the oven for 35 min.
- Once baked, the bread should be golden brown. Allow the bread to cool, remove from the pan, and enjoy!
Enjoy the bread while it is fresh. You may store in an airtight container and place in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze up to 3 months.