Kirbie's Cravings

Soft and Fluffy Milk Toast (with a secret ingredient to keep it soft)

This soft milk bread recipe is made using the tangzhong method, an Asian bread starter that naturally makes bread stay amazingly soft and tender. If you love soft and fluffy homemade bread, you have to try this recipe with step-by-step instructions and photos.

I’ve always had a preference for Asian-style bread. The breads usually have an incredibly soft texture and stay soft and fresh for days. I’ve looked up recipes a couple of times and it seemed that a lot of the recipes required a “bread improver” to keep the bread soft. I don’t believe this ingredient is available here in the U.S. but apparently is more common in Asia.

Soft Bread with Tangzhong

Then I read about the “Tangzhong method” which I first read about on Christine’s Recipes.

The tangzhong method was made popular by chef and author Yvonne Chen, who wrote the book 65°C Bread Doctor, which details her secret ingredient to keeping bread fresh and soft. She uses a flour and water mixture, cooked to 65 degrees, to make a water roux called “tangzhong” which is added to the bread. It is a modified version of the Japanese yu-dane method. What I love about this method is that it is natural and doesn’t use chemicals.

As soon as I saw the beautiful, soft and fluffy breads that Christine had made, I knew I had to try making my own. I read up on the tangzhong method on a few other blogs and also a few different recipes. You can use this method to make a variety of breads that are sweet and savory. You can also use it to make soft milk bread rolls.

I decided to try making a simple milk bread or milk toast, which is one of my favorite breads to get from chinese bakeries. It’s sweet and has no filling, so you can just enjoy the plain, soft bread.

You need to make the water roux ahead of time and give it a few hours to cool, but it’s not too hard. I made mine in the morning, put it in the fridge and then used it that evening.

The bread portion was a little harder to make. It took several hours of proofing my bread and kneading it before it was ready. But it was totally worth it. When my bread came out, the crust was shiny and it looked and smelled like I was in a Chinese bakery. After I let the bread cool, I peeled off a section of the bread and the texture was so fluffy. Even the next day, the bread remained as soft and fresh tasting as the day before.

I can’t wait to make this bread more often. Now I just need a bread maker for the kneading. The recipe allows you to knead by hand or use a bread maker. I highly recommend using a bread maker for the kneading because it takes quite a while.

How to Make Tangzhong

  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water

Mix flour and water together and whisk until it is completely dissolved and no lumps remain.

Pour mixture into a small pot and turn on medium heat. Begin stirring constantly as the mixture heats up. It will begin to thicken. When the temperature of the mixture reaches 65 degrees Celsius, turn off the stove and take the mixture off the stove to let it cool.

I used a thermometer, but I’ve read from Christine’s website and several others that you can sort of eye it. If you are continually stirring, the mixture will start to have “lines,” and then it is done. I started to see lines around the same time the temperature reached 65°C.

Once the mixture is cooled, pour it into a bowl and cover the top using plastic wrap. Place the wrap directly onto the mixture to keep it from drying out, and put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight. The paste does not keep well, so use it within a few days.

How to Make Soft Bread (Milk Bread) with Tangzhong

This recipe is adapted from two of Christine’s recipes here and here, which she adapted from 65°C Bread Doctor. It makes one loaf of bread.

Update: Since my first attempt, I’ve got a better understanding of how the texture should turn out, how long the kneading should be, and I’ve taken better step-by-step photos. You can view my updates in my milk bread recipe.


2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (about half of the tangzhong made)
2 tsp instant yeast (instant!! not active dry yeast!)
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading. If you own a breadmaker or a food processor powerful enough to knead dough, I HIGHLY recommend using it. The dough takes a long time to knead. About half an hour by hand. The dough will start out to be extremely sticky.  Keep kneading until the dough is no longer sticky and is elastic. You should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking right away.
2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil.  Place dough into  greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
3. Transfer to a clean surface. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into balls.  Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape.  (Christine took great step by step photos. Mine are a bit rushed and in bad lighting) Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top.

5. Flip dough over with the folds facing down,and flatten dough with rolling pin.

6. Flip dough over so the folds face up. Now roll the dough up. (I actually messed up here. I forgot to flip the dough before rolling up, so you see that the dough is broken into two half on top instead of a smooth, uniform top.) Place each of the rolls into the bread pan. Let them rise for another 40 minutes.

Post updated with video!

Soft and Fluffy Milk Toast

Many recipes for milk bread call for an ingredient called "bread improver" which is very difficult to find in the US. It's what makes this Asian-style bread so soft and fluffy, so I was so happy to discover Yvonne Chen's tangzhong method, which is basically a DIY bread improver. It's a simple bread and water mixture that is cooked to 150°F (65°C) and then cooled before adding it to the dough, so plan to make the tangzhong in advance because it needs several hours to chill. I like to make it in the morning and prepare the rest of the bread in the afternoon.
5 from 25 votes


For the Tangzhong

  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup water

For the Milk Bread

  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 3 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast see note
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 120 g tangzhong use only half- add this to notes
  • 3 tbsp cubed butter softened
  • Oil


Make the Tangzhong

  • To make the tangzhong, whisk the flour and water until smooth.
  • Transfer the flour mixture to a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat. As the mixtures heats up, stir continuously. You want to cook the mixture until it thickens and creates "lines" (see the blog post for more details). These lines indicate it's reached approximately 150°F (65°C).  If you are unsure, use a kitchen thermometer to measure the temperature.  Once it's at temperature, turn off the heat and set the pan aside to cool. Once the mixture is cooled transfer it to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap large enough to directly cover the surface of the mixture (to protect it from drying out) and to seal the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill it for several hours. You will use half of the tangzhong for this recipe, so keep the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Make the Milk Bread

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In a separate bowl, whisk one egg, milk, and tangzhong. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ones into it. Using your hands, mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones until a loose dough forms and add the butter. Continue mixing until the butter is incorporated. At this point, the dough will be very sticky so remove it from the bowl and knead it on the countertop. Knead the dough until it's no longer sticky. It should be elastic, which means you should be able to stretch a piece of it quite thin without it breaking. This process will take approximately 30 minutes to do by hand. To shorten the kneading process, you can use the kneading function on a breadmaker or a high-powered food processor instead of doing it by hand.
  • Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with a wet towel. Leave the dough to proof for 40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and divide it into four equals parts and shape each into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and rest them for 15 minutes.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into an oval shape. Fold one end of the dough to the center of the oval. Fold the other end so that it just overlaps the other in the middle. Turn the dough over with the folds facing down and flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over again - with the folds facing up - and, starting at one end, roll the dough up. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Place each rolled dough in a baking pan. Leave the dough to rise for 40 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and brush it on the top of the dough rolls in the pan. Bake the bread at 350°F (177°C) for approximately 30 minutes.



  • For this recipe, it's important to use instant yeast, which is mixed right into the dough and not dry active yeast, which needs to dissolve in water before using.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!


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Recipe Rating

239 comments on “Soft and Fluffy Milk Toast (with a secret ingredient to keep it soft)”

  1. Very good points on portion of tangzhong in four. around 1/3, overnight or let it sitting for 4?Hours to get the best result. 2. Yvonne Chen is an useful baking book 3. Use instant yeast is another key

  2. The dough becomes very sticky and I have a hard time working it, is it normal? or how can i avoid it. Thanks

    • Are you kneading it by hand? Even with a mixer and dough hook it takes a while for the dough to achieve the right texture. It will start out sticky and as you knead it, it should become more elastic. This can take 30 minutes or longer if you are doing it by hand.

  3. Lovely and light. One of my family favorites. Easy and fun to make. Have literally made it several dozen times in the past few years. Thanks for sharing. 

  4. The day after I baked, I’ve noticed my bread is firm and a dry but great the day of. Advice?

  5. can you use milk alternatives like soy? or less than whole milk?

    • We’ve seen other versions that use soy milk instead of dairy and it does work. We haven’t tested it ourselves with this recipe so can’t say for sure, but soy is probably the best option if you want to use dairy-free milk. Let us know how it works for you!

  6. Wonderful recipe!

    I’ve always loved milk bread and have recently gotten into baking. I used regular all-purpose flour since I didn’t have bread flour. Kneaded by hand. And it turned out amazing.

  7. Great recipe! It’s like a very pretty loaf composed of dinner roles.

  8. Why can’t you use active dry yeast? I heard instant yeast makes a drier dough so I’m always hesitant to use it.

    • For this recipe, it’s important to use instant yeast, which is mixed right into the dough and not dry active yeast, which needs to dissolve in water before using. Because the dry active yeast has to be activated in the water this adds more liquid to the dough which can change the result.

  9. I thought I totally screwed up when I put the butter in with the milk and tangzhong in but it turned out really good. I didn’t have low fat milk so I just used regular milk in the fridge. Baked and cooled the bread in time for dinner! This recipe works! 

  10. Hi want to ask—
    The finish product is not smooth surface. The bun surface is supposed to be —-shiny but not smooth… but mine is like a skin of an old person..why is this so???
    How do I make a smooth surface??

  11. The bread was so fluffy! I’ve made it 3 times over the course of the year! It never disappoints!

  12. I forget to ask you on my previous post can I use whole-wheat bread flour instead of white bread flour.

  13. This recipe is amazing. The texture is oh so soft. I have been making this all weekend.
    Thanks for sharing 

  14. This recipe is absolutely amazing. The bread is oh so soft and delicious. This is a keeper.
    One question can I use whole wheat bread flour instead of white?

  15. Wil it be fine if i use cake flour.

  16. Awesome recipe! I made the paste this morning and put in in the fridge for 8 hours. This afternoon I put the paste and all the remaining ingredients into my bread machine (wet on bottom, yeast last on top) and turned on the dough setting. That does all the kneading and 3 rises over an hour and a half. I took it out and separated into 4 sections, put in a greased 9″ circle pan (all I had) and went straight into the preheated oven for 30 minutes and it was fantastic! No mess/no fuss, just let the bread machine do all the work! Will be making this again for sure! Thank you!!

  17. Hi ! Loved it completely ..  it turned out amazing and was over in no time .. how can I make it eggless ? 

    • Glad to hear you loved it! We don’t have an eggless version at this time, so can’t offer suggestions for that.

  18. Best bread recipe! best texture bread i’d ever baked!

  19. the measurement for butter is it around 60g? i tried the receipe (Added 120g TZ) and use machine to knead and hand knead, but dough still turns out abit sticky.

  20. How long do I need to leave it in machine to knead the dough?

  21. the top part of the recipe calls for 1 egg but the summarise recipe calls for 2 eggs. I followed the summarise version and now my dough is too sticky… Should it be 1 or 2 eggs? And will this affect the bread texture?

  22. I have an issue whenever I make a bread. I made soft amd fluffy texture bread at night. But it turned into a slightly hard texture on another day. What’s the problem with it? Does every homemade bread happen like this as it doesn’t use chemical like bread improver?

    When I put it in an oven for 5mins for warming and the texture become soft as it was last night.

    • It’s normal for the bread to not be quite the same as when it is first baked. But using the tz method keeps it very soft without chemical bread improver

  23. Can i use almond flour ?

  24. Great recipe! Thanks for the step by step instructions and the tips! My bread came out great! 

  25. Really loved the outcome! Only problem is it tasted like cake – is that the right outcome? 

  26. I’ve made this recipie a few times now i always end up needing to add an extra half cup if flour or the dough is too sticky.(i live in a pretty humid environment so that probably why) With the extra half cup it turns out amazing its my favorite bread recipe! My 4 yr old asks for me to make more at least once a week ?

  27. I’ve been reading about tangzhong  starter for months now, and decided to try it this weekend, using your recipe. Delicious and so fluffy! I had enough plain bread using the first half of the starter, so with the second half, I decided to roll some escallion into the dough. It came out really good too! I’ll be making more this weekend. I used a bread machine by the way, and the dough was perfect.

  28. Tried this! And it’s amazing.

    Can we freeze the dough overnight and then bake in the morning?

  29. Can i use all purpose flour instead of bread flour? we currently don’t have it where i live.

  30. Very good recipe. My bread turned out perfect. I mixed 1 cup of whole wheat flour and had to add a little extra milk. Totally satisfied with it. Thank you very much for this recipe.

  31. Made it today, it was so soft and fluffy, Loved it. Though i would love mine to be a bit sweeter, so maybe I will add more sugar the next time, I doubled the recipe and used the whole tangzhong (about 200 gms), I was hoping it would be enough and it was. Will definitely make be making it again and again. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe

  32. Perfect recipe! The bread was the softest and best tasting I’ve ever had. Thank you.

  33. Hello,

    This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try it out.
    Has anyone use soy milk instead of the regular milk?

    Thank you.

  34. I just made this recipe! It was extremely successful. I wish I could post a picture because it was so aesthetically pleasing.
    One note:
    I used active dry yeast! You can successfully use active dry yeast. Before combining dry ingredients, warm the milk to about 105F (I just microwaved it for 15-20 seconds until it was warm to touch). Measure out the quantity of yeast multiplied by 1.25. In this case, I used 2.5 teaspoons instead of 1.25 (The processing of active dry yeast decreases the volume by ~1/4) Add the active dry yeast to the milk and let it sit and bloom (should take five minutes or less). Mix the dry ingredients and then add the milk and yeast mixture when you add in the wet ingredients. It will still give you the desired delicious results!!!!!

    • I’m so glad it worked out well for you! I wish there was a way for you to share a picture via comments so I could see it. You can always send me a picture through email or Instagram.

  35. Hello!

    At what temperature does the milk has to be?

    Thank you.

    • it shouldn’t make much of a difference since you’re using instant yeast. straight from the fridge should be fine

  36. Perfect recipe. I moved the Tangzong into Refrigerators and saved a few hours also used dry Yeast instead. I made it last night was gone this morning before I could get to it. have to make it again for myself now.

  37. Can you leave this overnight to rest?

    • No, the bread should only rest for the amount of time indicated otherwise the dough will be overproofed

  38. I have been baking bread for years and could never get it to be fluffy and stay soft for more than 2 days. It would always dry out. I decided to try this method. I had read other recipes but the measurements were in grams. I was so happy when I came across yours that have measurements Im used to. Your recipe was easy to follow and my bread came out great!! This one is a keeper for me. Thanks

  39. I didn’t want to wait several hours for my bread, so I made a few changes. I began by following your recipe exactly, but I only made half the amount of Tangzong. You were right about the lines in it as it got to temperature!

    Here’s where the major change came. I took the Tangzong off the heat as you said, but instead of letting it cool for several hours, I added the half cup of milk to it right away and whisked it in. That dropped the temperature to upper 90 degrees Fahrenheit, good enough for the yeast. I then stirred in dry active yeast instead of the instant yeast. I let the yeast bloom while I melted the butter, beat the egg, and put the flour and salt in my bread machine. (Thank you for the bread machine tip!). Because the yeast was blooming really well, I did not add the sugar. I poured all the Tangzong mixture, beaten egg, and melted butter into the bread machine and let the machine do all the hard work. After that, I followed your instructions as written. I got a wonderful, soft loaf of bread in under 3 hours.

  40. Hi ! Just have two questions

    1) I only have active dry yeast. Would you happen to have a substitute for the amount I would use for active dry instead?

    2) I don’t own a mixer sadly. Could I still knead by hand on the countertop?

    Many thanks!

    • You can replace with equal amount of active dry yeast but you will need to activate it first. You can do so by adding it with warm milk first and then adding the other ingredients. While it can be kneaded by hand, it is going to take a lot of effort. It already takes quite a bit of work with the machine, so it’ll be double to triple the amount of kneading time by hand. I have had readers tell me they’ve done it but I always use my stand mixer.

    • See my comment! You do need to add some extra yeast.

  41. Can you use a breadmaker for the entire process – except of course, the tangzhou cooking part.

    Thank you.

  42. Excellent!! ????Never made bread so good! It came really fluffy and moist. Thank you so much for this easy to follow recipe.Its my new to go bread recipe.

  43. Tried it with this recipe but then during the process of making the dough even after adding 2 and 1/4 cups of bread flour the mixture is still too watery to knead. Is there any way to solve this problem?

  44. Hi Kirbie,
    For the first time using Tangzhong method for a bread and I used a standmixer (my wrist is injured so I tried with mixer) instead of hand kneading and the Milk bread turn out great !!!
    Thanks 🙂

    P.S. I mixed at medium speed for 20mins with the standmixer, in case anyone prefer to use mixer.

  45. Hi Kirbie,
    I was just tastings this wonderful and super soft bread, love this recipe from you.
    It was hard to handle this wet dough in hand, but its well worth it.

    Thank you

  46. If I use a Bread maker to do this, Do I remove the dough and shape after the first rising or can I just let it bake in the Breadmaker?

  47. *in the tangzhong

  48. Hi I’m a newbie um Thais tangzhing technique and I would like to know why does it need to rest severeal hours, and why couldn’t it rest until ir gets completely at freezer temperature… Love your work!

  49. If the dough is sticky you have to knee more!!! Took about 45 minutes by hand to get a soft elastic ball of dough. I filled it with a cinnamon sugar and syrup filling. It came out perfectly with a cinnamon swirl. Thank you for this amazing recipe! God Bless

  50. I was so excited to try this recipe! I did all the kneading by hand, but it was so worth it! It came out absolutely beautiful and so delicious!!! The directions were really easy to follow. I’m so pleased!

  51. I made this recipe twice. The recipe calls for 2.5 cups of flour, but when my bread machine finished kneading and proofing it, the dough is still very sticky and wet. I had to add an additional cup of flour to the dough. I don’t know where I went wrong…maybe the tangzhong. It calls for 120 g of tangzhong, but I don’t know how much that is so I converted it to cups and its roughly 1 cup (are my calculations correct?). And the only other wet ingredient I put in there is the .5 cup of milk.

    But once I add the extra flour it is a great recipe!

    • 1 cup of tz is too much so that is likely why you needed so much flour. As stated in my recipe, 120g is about 1/2 of the tangzhong recipe.

  52. Hi, just wondering if you have a whole meal version of this bread recipe. I tried this recipe like 4 times and I loooive it!!!!! So do the kids. I just bought a whole meal light flour with 85% of the nutrients still included, could I replace that flour? I did make it with half the whole meal light four and half Egyptian golf but it didn’t rise and was too dense. More liquid is needed, I understand that now, so maybe you might have the right quantities you could share, please. Thank you 

  53. 40 minutes for the final rize is too much… It ended up billowing 3 inches over and even more in the oven if I didn’t flatten it down with my hands..

    • Hmm that hasn’t been an issue for me. Perhaps because it is summer time? If it is really warm in your kitchen, the bread would rise much faster.

  54. there are thousands of bread recipes that could be found anywhere but your recipe made me owe big time! thanks for sharing.

  55. Thanks for this recepie. I had been looking for a long time for how to make a light fluffy textured bread without using an improver. This find is a relief!
    My first try was a huge success. I kneaded with hand in a bowl, not a surface. It took over an hour. Quite but the result was a good compensation. Now I am going to try it with my kitchen aid… I am excited. The bread makers just lost a customer.????

  56. Hi thanks for the recipe i made them into little rolls and they came out sooooo good ,i read further up someone asking if making balls would be ok and i say yesssssss they are so soft and fluffy so try them for yourself and see

  57. Hi, does the Tangzhong and egg need to be at room temperature? Thanks!

    • I’ve done it at room temp and without and it worked fine =)

      • Hi there! I made the bread but it came out dense even though i obly used half the Tz and kneaded for a good half hour and the dough wasn’t dry. Are these US cups or UK cups? It’s a bit maddening to have half the recipe measurements in weights and the other half in volumes…

      • US cups

  58. This is the best bread i ever made… I belong to a bread baking group on facebook and people have been asking for the recipe.. It’s wonderful… 

  59. i was using the entire tangzhong as written in the recipe. but i dont have any thermometer and i knead it with medium speed. maybe i still knead it longer or maybe my tangzhong’s temperature was not right.

    • A couple of things: the recipe does not say to use the entire tangzhong. it says to use 120g or approx half of the amount made. it’s actually slightly more than half and is best if you weigh it on a scale. second, if you don’t have a thermometer, your tangzhong might also not be right. the original author that came out with this recipe had a book entitled 65 degrees, so temperature is pretty key to having the right tangzhong.

  60. i have tried twice for this recipe. first i knead it by hand and the second with bread machine but the dough is still sticky. maybe you can help me what’s wrong with my dough please 🙁 thank you before.

    • you didn’t use the entire tangzhong right? also my recipe method specifies using a stand mixer. it needs to knead for a long time at a high speed with a lot of power. i dont own a bread machine so i dont know if the bread machine will knead it enough. but if you need it in a stand mixer it will become elastic and not sticky

  61. Tried this for the first time a few weeks ago and it was ubelievable. Making it again today and had to quadruple the recipe this time because the one loaf was gone in no time, so yeah it’s good!

  62. My bread looked beautiful! I used a bread machine to knead the first gruesome step. However, it didn’t pass my taste test as the yeast smelled and tasted overtly strong. I noticed other recipes call for 1.25 tsp and yours 2 tsp. Could that be the reason? Help!

  63. hiii !So this holiday, I want to try to make soft milk bread. But I have few questions… First, are parche\ment paper needed or greasing with butter is enough ? bcs it is really hard to find it in my country. Next, should I shape it like that or can I make it like the shape of dinner rolls ? thankyouuu pls reply bcs this gonna be the first time I’m making bread.
    Anyway, sorry for the bad english

  64. IMPORTANT: If you create a double batch, and knead by hand…be prepared for an EXTREMELY LONG knead.

    I wanted a double batch, but I paid the price for it. It took 90 minutes of kneading by hand to get the dough to the right consistency. If you do not get the dough to the right consistency, it will not turn out!

    Luckily, I am a very strong man with loads of endurance. It was a helluva morning, but my hands, arms, shoulders, and neck got through the burning sensation I felt in my muscles.

    Also, I used active dry yeast. I started the yeast with very warm milk and sugar. No problems.

    This is a great recipe, but I recommend making only a single batch by hand and by bread machine. This is a very sticky dough and it takes real muscle or power to get it right.

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be making this bread often. It’s a home run!

    • i’m surprised you attempted it by hand! it’s definitely extremely hard to knead by hand which is why I emphasize that in the directions. So yes, doing a double batch by hand is even crazier! glad it worked out for you though

  65. Hi I was wondering do you have to cut it in four balls or can it be more? Because I only have a small bread pan that’s8.5″x4.4″x2.5″ so is it okay to split it up into 2 loaves instead of one?

  66. Thank you so much! I baked a loaf w black raisins, 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Smelled heavenly when baking! And yummy too. I LOVE this recipe!

    • Yay! sometimes I make them as rolls with the raisins mixed in (sort of like those pull apart dinner rolls or King Hawaiian rolls). I make them into ball shapes, put them next to each other into a pan. They will stick together during baking, but then you can pull them apart once done.

  67. I tried this with bread machine and turns out denser (still soft) with standard mode. Tried with sandwich mode and it’s fluffier! Made it couple times now. The family loves it. Was wondering can we add raisins? Would love this to be our standard bread recipe and add some extra fruits/nuts. Do you know if that’s possible and won’t affect the soft fluffy texture?

    • Yes you can definitely add raisins. I’ve done that before with no issues. Interesting that it worked better on sandwich mode.

  68. I am wondering would I get the same result if I substituted the flour for Gluten-free flour or Gluten-free Bread flour.

  69. Perfect recipe with fantastic instructions. It turned out great. Smelt wonderful and tasted yummy and was so soft. I used 120 ml water and half of 1/3 cup bread flour to do the tangzhong so there was no leftover and when it was a bit warm added in the milk mix and stirred it in. I replaced half of the milk with evaporated milk as I had some left over. Thank you so so much

  70. Wow. What a magical bread. It came out perfect. I used my stand alone electric cake mixer. It took about 25 minutes for dough to pass windowpane test but it was worth it. Thanks for recipe.

  71. thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, my family loves bread, but I could never duplicate my moms bread… now that I use your recipe my bread turns out even better and more soft/fluffy I tell everyone about your recipe! everyone should be baking such yummyness

  72. I tried it once and was completely sold. This is the recipe I use every time I bake bread now. I no longer have to use bread improver or dough softener to make my bread soft and fluffy. Thanks for a great recipe!

  73. Hi,

    I will try this recipe this weekend. I have a question is it ok to keep the dough in the fridge overnight after the first proofing and then continue in the next morning to roll it and the final proofing before baking it? coz i will serve it as breakfast.


    • I’m not quite sure. I think it should work as refrigerating should stop the dough from continuing to rise, but I’ve never actually tried it

  74. Hi,

    In denmark we don’t have bread flour, is it ok to use all purpose flour instead?

  75. hi kirbie
    i tried this recipies, and its turn out very nice, soft breads, its finished just for me and my hubby, i mixed the dough by hand only, because i don’t have stand mixer, wow its take very long time and tiring process, but all the felling are gone when we saw the result, and wanna try again next time with some filling, thank you kirbie

  76. Hello there , was googling for homemade bread and landed here…was sckeptical about this bread as I didnt have bread flour just the usual AP flour nor have a kitchen aid…nevertheless I gave it a try last night and BOy ! the aroma and the bread itself turned out too good to be true . It tasted devine . I am so happy I found your blog . Thanx for sharing .

  77. Lovely.. I have to try! 🙂

  78. hi i was looking for sweet soft bread..and i found your recipe..i should visite christine website, becouse i want to try other daugh for siopao..maybe you know about this bread filled with meat..a famous dish for us filipinos, but chinese have also their u think this recipe can be steamed??? do you have a recipe from steamed bread? i want it very airy and soft…

    • I don’t think this recipe can be steamed. I believe siopao uses a different type of dough. I have steamed bun recipes but not for siopao, only for plain steamed buns.

  79. Hi Kirbie,
    I love your bread’s texture sooooo much!!!
    I happen to come from China and love baking and toast and stuff. If you like, I would be more than happy to translate any Chinese recipe you have difficult to read. The tangzhong method is actually quite popular in China now!!

  80. I make roux in an 1100-watt microwave. Use a pyrex cup. 1/2-cup room temperature water, 2-1/2 Tbsp flour. Mix well with whisk. Microwave 20-seconds. Stir, take temperature. Will be about 120-F. Microwave 10-seconds. Stir, take temperature. Will be about 135-F. Microwave 10 more seconds. Stir, take temperature. Will be about 145-F. Microwave a? final 5-seconds. Stir and take temp. The roux is at about 150-F . This is enough roux for a 1-lb loaf of bread. Cool to below 130-F, add to bread maker.

  81. Regarding the tangzhong, you say put it in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight. Do I have to warm it up prior to using it or should I at least allow for it to come to room temperature or a certain temperature (110?)

    • Nope, you just leave it cold and mix it in. Room temp works as well, but you don’t need to do anything special to it before adding it in.

  82. I did it again with proper parchment paper bought from a store selling baking stuff. I greased it just in case with a bit of butter, and it turned out fantastic! i am addicted to the bread as I am to your fabulous website! Thanks once again 🙂 Next attempt is the hokkaido bread.

    • Oh yay! You know I was actually thinking of your comment because I was reading something and the person was saying how different brands of parchment paper can act differently and that she only used a specific brand because she never had sticking issues with that one. I had no idea that some of them could be bad and could still stick until I read that and it made me think of your previous comment and how you said it stuck tot he parchment paper. I guess if you find a brand you like, stick to using that one!

  83. Thanks for the recipe. It was so soft and tasted awesome! I made it with my bare hands and rather enjoyed a Playdough experience! As usual with other breads, I always have trouble with the parchment paper sticking like crazy at the bottom no matter how well I grease it. That!s the only letdown. But still I will be making it again this weekend!

    • Hmm, that’s interesting. I don’t have any issues with it sticking to the parchment paper. Actually I haven’t ever had anything stick to parchment paper. Are you positive you are using parchment paper and not wax paper?

  84. Hey,thank u for the recipe i hope it works cuz i dont have a mixer and i need to knead it with my hands.
    I have 2 questions, first, i live in sweden and here i really cant find bred flower so can i use wheat flower instead?
    And when im kneading can i use some extra flower so it wont stick to my hands?

    • Wheat flour is not the same as bread flour. At least not in the US, so the recipe will not work correctly if you just try to directly substitute. Also a little extra flour on your hands during hand kneading should be okay.

    • I live in Sweden too. The flour is vanliga vete mjöl.

  85. Hello! I was wondering if i would be able to roll these into cute little balls and bake it that way instead of a large loaf. Approximately how long would it take to bake (in ball form)? Would I be expecting a crunchy/soft crunch and a soft fluffy inside? Thank you! I’ve currently got my dough kneading away 😀

    • Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I would advise that this bread is made best in a loaf form. Small balls won’t have much room to be soft and fluffy. I’ve made rolls with these and already didn’t like them as much as the loaf, so I think making even smaller balls wouldn’t be as good either.

  86. Thank you. This is great with step by step! For the first time, I made this at home and worked out perfectly.
    The only problem was at the second proofing, the dough stuck to the wrap and it was not pretty looking after all. (taste was great though.) Can you help me how you can prevent it from sticking, so I can keep the nice shape?

    • Are you referring to the 15 minutes before you the dough up? Or when they need to proof again in the bread pan. Because in the bread pan, you shouldn’t have wrap on top. You just let them proof. For the 15 minutes, I’ve never had an issue with it sticking to the wrap. Maybe try a wet paper towel instead?

  87. Do u think I can use the tangzhong in other bread recipes jus to get the fluffiness?

  88. I’m making a rolls this weekend, will definitely give this a try. The last batch i tried failed miserably 🙁 hopefully it’ll turn out better this time…

    Thanks for sharing!

  89. Hi, I’m wondering if you could tell me 120 gram of tangzhong is the amount that you made with 1/3 cup bread flour+1 cup water? Thank you! 🙂

  90. Hi,

    I’ve been looking for asian fluffy bread forever and now that i have come across your blog, i will definately give it a try…thanks so much for the recipe!!!

  91. Loooove it…. Thanks sooo much for sharing!!! I looked everywhere for a recipe for tangzhong bread with measurent in cups instead grams since i do not have a scale… It turned perfect huge fluffy loaf…. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! 🙂

  92. Hi Kirbie!

    Do you know what is the difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast? Where can I buy instant yeast?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Diana. Instant yeast doesn’t require warm water to activate it. So you can add it directly into the dough mixture. Usually you use less instant yeast as compared active dry yeast. You can find instant yeast in the same section of the grocery store where you buy active dry yeast. They usually have it in packets and also in a small jar. It’s sometimes labeled bread machine yeast because bread machine recipes usually use instant yeast. Hope this helps!

  93. Your bread looks so soft! I have made this same bread too many times within a short amount of time. I found the recipe on Christine’s blog, too and blogged about it just a few days ago! I have only made my milk bread with ACTIVE yeast, so it is definitely possible. I can’t wait to make this bread again.

    • I like using instant yeast because you can just mix it directly into the batter without having to let it sit for a few minutes and heat up some liquids. I love this bread, so glad you like it too!

  94. I made this bread twice and both times it was so good we gobbled up the loaves right away! I have never heard of the tang zhong but it sure seemed to work! The flavor and texture of this bread is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • So glad you liked it! I hadn’t heard of tangzhong yet either. Still don’t really know how it works but it seems to work. I have yet had the bread around long enough to determine how long it stays is always eaten right away!

  95. I made this once already, once using active dry yeast (i prepared it in warm water and some sugar in a cup before adding to the flour mixture) and using all purpose flour. I did have a bit of a sticky dough (I hand kneaded as well), but I fixed it with a bit of flour and the bread turned out perfect (like the picture). Soft and delicious.

    I was wondering if I used less sugar, would it affect the recipe? I have the proper ingredients this time (instant yeast and bread flour) but would like a less sweet bread.

    I’m trying it out this weekend regardless, just based on my own curiosity.

    Thank you for providing this recipe! I love it, if the less sugar bread turns out well, this will probably be my staple household bread.

    • Less sugar should not affect the bread. It will only make it less sweet, but it won’t change the texture. The texture comes mainly from the tangzhong and the yeast. Glad to hear you enjoy the bread. =)

  96. Hello!
    I don’t even remember how I arrived here a couple of months ago (probably on a mad search for milk bread), but I had never heard of tangzhong before. I am originally from Brazil and there the bakeries carry breads (pão sovado) that look fluffy and white, just like the one pictured. My dough is now on its first rise and I am VERY excited! I did not have a problem at all with it being sticky: it was actually very pleasant to knead by hand! I think one key detail is to compress the flour tightly into the measuring cup as to get the correct amount. Also, I used all-purpose flour and it seems to have worked out well. I made half of the tangzhong (1/2 cup water, 1/6 cup flour, and only cooked over low heat until it barely thickened, no thermometer) and only waited for it to get warm (too impatient to wait longer). I will let you know the results. Thanks for sharing!

    • I hope it works out well for you. I actually tried with all purpose flour before but it didn’t come out as well as bread flour.

  97. Hi, Kirbie,

    Thanks for posting your instructions for this recipe. I tried it out this weekend (but using Christine’s measurements). Even though my bread smelled really good, it wasn’t fluffy at all! I had used my KitchenAid. Maybe I didn’t knead it long enough (or too long?) I’m so new to bread making that I’m not even sure what I should have done. I still ate it the bread though. *teehee*

    • Aw, I’m sorry that happened. Did you dough have the consistency that I described? I think if you read some of my later posts on milk bread, I gave more details. The dough should be elastic and barely sticky. You should be able to pull it until it form a thin membrane. If you pop a hole into the the thin membrane, it should form a small circle. That is when I know the dough is done for me. Usually it takes me about 18-20 minutes on high on my stand mixer.

  98. Yes, I was a bit surprised about that as well since I followed your recipe almost to a t – the only change being that I used egg replacer instead of a “real” egg. What may have been the cause is the flour: the term “bread flour” doesn’t translate easily into German, so I had – or felt I had – the choice of several types of flour (German flours are classified according to the amount of ash contained in them; wheat flour can usually be bought as type 405 (pastry), 550 (all-purpose), 812, 1050 and whole (1600 and over)). Since this was supposed to be a fluffy bread I chose type 550, which may have meant that the gluten content wasn’t high enough (according to Wikipedia approx. 11%). I’m never sure about this…

    But since I like this bread so much I will be making it again pretty soon and I’ll let you know how it works out.


    • I bet you are right about the flour. I’m not sure which German flour you are supposed to use. I know that when I also tried making this once with the american all purpose flour and it came out similar, but not as soft as bread flour. I’m curious as to what flour will work best for you. I just did a quick search, and one article suggests that the equivalent for bread flour would be 812.
      I had no idea that german flours were classified according to the amount of ash! It’s interesting to learn that.

  99. The preparation process of this bread left me quite wary because my dough remained very sticky even after a very long time (c. 40 minutes) in the bread machine, which meant I had to flour the surface profusely for rolling out. But the end product is absolutely delicious!

    • I’m glad the end product was good. I’m surprised about your dough being sticky though. Ive never had to use additional flour for rolling out. Maybe you should try kneading the bread in a stand mixer if you have one. I’ve had great results with that.

  100. Thanks for a great recipe! I tried it today and it turned out great. I had never used the tangzhong method for making bread, but now I’m sold! I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook for about 18 minutes to get a good elastic dough. The second rise took just about 40 minutes and the oven spring was huge. I’ve been looking for a while for a bread roll like this that is light and flavorful, so thanks again Kirbie!

    • So glad it worked out for you! I just made it again also using my Cuisinart stand mixer. i mixed it about 18 minutes as well and got a lot better elasticity than when I did it by hand. Glad to know the kitchenaid mixer can do the job as well. I heard people had some problems with the kitchenaid when working with dough which is why I hesitated getting kitchenaid when I was choosing a stand mixer. I’m planning on trying some variations on the recipe soon.

  101. I don’t usually make bread but I decided to try this recipe. It was pretty easy to make and turned out very soft and fluffy. Unfortunately I have no idea how it tastes because my husband and toddler ate the whole loaf before I could try any. I’m making a double batch right now for Thanksgiving so hopefully I’ll get to try some today.

  102. You are definitely my favorite food blogger! I never imagined I’d be able to make this!

  103. The bread is fabulous.

  104. It’s really good. So different from the lean breads with lots of big holes that I usually try to make. Reminds me of a less sweet version that has a similar texture, King Arthur Flour’s Classic White Sandwich Bread. (I don’t work for them, just a devotee of their site and flour). I used their milk powder in your recipe.

    • I’m so glad you like it! I didn’t have any milk powder, but next time I’ll try King Arthur’s. I love their recipes and flour too.

  105. Hi Kirbie,
    I made this bread today after being inspired from your site. I am an avid sourdough bread maker and usually use a KitchenAid. I kneaded the dough with the KitchenAid for about 8 minutes w/o the butter, then added the butter and kneaded another couple of minutes. I was guessing on the time b/c Christine’s site talks about kneading in a bread machine for 30 minutes! I don’t have any bread machine experience. I thought I blew it b/c the first rise took two hours, but the second rise only took 45 minutes. It rose to the top of the loaf pan, and the oven spring was incredible, 1 1/2 inches! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • You know I was just thinking of trying it out kneading with my stand mixer, so I’m glad to hear it worked with your KitchenAid. Did you like the bread?

    • Wow! All I can say about this recipe is wow! My teenagers won’t eat store bought bread anymore. 

    • My biggest problem is kneading tangzhong dough. I knead for more than 30 mins and it is still sticky! Even  I use bread marker to mix the dough for 30mins, it is still sticky! Until I cheated and add flour 

      But tang zhong is really good in making soft bread ( even I fail in kneading to a smooth dough)

      • Are you kneading by hand? Because it does take a long time to get the right consistency, especially if kneading by hand.

  106. Yes, I have had those rolls before. That is a perfect explanation of what to expect from this bread!! Thanks!

  107. Hi,

    How big of a loaf does this make? Would I be able to make rolls that would fit a 9″x13″ pan? I want to make this for my uncle who loves loves loves this bread!

    Thank you in advance.

    • I fit mine into a 9 x 5 loaf, so if you want 9 x 13, you should do twice the recipe. The tangzhong mix is enough for two 9 x 5 loafs, so you can just use the whole mixture at once for 9 x 13. Hope this helps!

  108. I have never had this type of bread? It sure looks soft. I am a sucker for bread. Can you compare it to any other type of bread that I might have had before?

    • Hmm, have you had the King Hawaiian dinner rolls before? They are sold at most supermarkets and usually are in an orange packaging. They taste similar to those. The bread is similar to white toast in texture, except it’s a bit sweeter than regular white toast and usually served in the shape of dinner rolls or as thick slices. It also tends to be fluffier than typical white toast.

  109. i love fluffy white asian bread like this….can totally eat the whole thing in one sitting..looks sooo good and like the ones from the shops!
    but id prob get a bread maker for this…can’t imagine hours of kneading ><

    • Yeah, I definitely recommend a breadmaker. I didn’t know how long the kneading would take! Luckily my parents have an old, unused breadmaker, so I’m just going to take that to do all the hard work for me. I know what you mean about eating it in one sitting.

  110. yum! this looks amazingly soft and delicious. I’ve heard about the Tang Zhong method but haven’t tried it yet – now I want to try it even more!

    • I definitely recommend it! The bread is amazing. I seriously couldn’t tell the difference between my version and the version I buy at the bakery.

  111. mmm! pan de leche! i love how soft this bread is!

  112. Oooh, this looks great! I love asian breads too. Now I wish I didn’t donate my breadmaker…

    • Heehee, I already told my mom I’m bringing back our old breadmaker which has been sitting in the garage for ages. So glad we still have it so I don’t need to get a new one. This bread is pretty awesome. I wont need to go to chinese bakeries all the time for it anymore.

      • Made it with AP flour and without a bread maker ( always prefer kneading it by hand). Turned out amazingly good. Wonder if I can do the same with whole wheat flour.

      • I’m glad it worked out for you!

      • Hi, I must have done something wrong, everything seemed fine until I added butter, then the dough became super greasy and will not shape at all. Help!

      • was your butter melted? It needs to be still solid but softened.

    • Hi, do you make the roux out of the ingredients or is it just additional?