Milk Bread Recipe: A Soft and Fluffy Chinese Bread

by akash

You’re craving a soft, fluffy Chinese milk bread that’s both sweet and savory – and you’re in luck! With a few simple ingredients like all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and whole milk, you can create a velvety-soft loaf that’s perfect for snacking, sandwiches, or toast. But be warned: achieving the perfect milk bread requires precision and practice to avoid common mistakes. With the right techniques and customizable mix-ins, you can discover the secrets to a tender, fluffy crumb and take your baking skills to the next level.


Key Takeaways

  • Achieve softness and sweetness in milk bread by using whole milk and controlling yeast activity and proofing time.
  • Mix and handle the dough gently to prevent overmixing and develop a smooth, elastic texture.
  • Customize milk bread flavors with mix-ins like dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips for endless variations.
  • Follow precise techniques for mixing, proofing, and baking to achieve a tender, fluffy crumb and beautifully baked loaf.
  • Experiment with flavor variations like Garlic and Herb, Cinnamon Sugar, or Cheesy Delight to create unique milk bread recipes.


Understanding Milk Bread Basics

Understanding Milk Bread Basics

Milk bread is all about achieving the perfect balance of softness, sweetness, and richness. This Asian-style bread offers endless flavor variations. Imagine sinking your teeth into a velvety-soft loaf infused with the subtle tang of matcha or the sweetness of condensed milk.

The Challenge of Baking Milk Bread

Baking milk bread can be demanding, especially for beginners. It requires:

  • Precision: Handle the dough gently to maintain its delicate structure.
  • Patience: Avoid overmixing or overproofing, which can lead to a dense, tough loaf.

However, with practice and persistence, you’ll soon be whipping up milk bread like a pro.


The Simple Milk Bread Recipe

As you start making this simple milk bread recipe, you’ll learn how to combine the ingredients, mix and proof the dough, and shape and bake it to perfection.

You’ll discover the straightforward method that yields a soft, buttery, and slightly sweet bread.

Let’s break down the process into three key stages: preparing the ingredients and method, mixing and proofing the dough, and shaping and baking the final product.


Ingredients and Method

Make Delicious Milk Bread at Home

Milk bread is a staple in Asian bakeries, and you can make it at home with just a few simple ingredients. You’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • A pinch of salt

That’s it! This recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require any special ingredients or complicated baking techniques.

What You’ll Get

When you make this recipe, you’ll get a soft, buttery, and slightly sweet loaf that’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, or just snacking. Each serving has:

  • 184 calories
  • 29g of carbs
  • 5g of protein
  • 5g of fat

Get Creative!

You can customize this recipe by adding nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruits to create unique flavor combinations. With these simple ingredients and basic baking techniques, you can make delicious milk bread at home.

About the Recipe

This recipe was perfected by Judy over the years and is now a staple in many Asian bakeries. It’s easy to make and requires minimal ingredients. Give it a try and enjoy your homemade milk bread!


Mixing and Proofing

Mixing and Proofing

Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to combine them in a stand mixer and start making your bread.


  • Add the ingredients in the specified order and mix for 15 minutes.
  • Stop mixing when the dough starts to come together and stick to the bottom of the mixer bowl, but not the sides.
  • The dough should still be slightly sticky at this point.


Next, let the mixture rest in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. Important: Keep the room temperature between 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C) for ideal yeast activity.

During this time, the yeast will start to ferment, producing carbon dioxide bubbles that will make your bread soft and fluffy.

What’s Happening During Proofing

  • Yeast starts to ferment
  • Carbon dioxide bubbles are produced
  • Dough doubles in size

Once the dough has doubled in size, you’re ready to move on to the next step – kneading and shaping your milk bread.


Shaping and Baking

Shaping Your Dough

Now that your dough has doubled in size, it’s time to shape it into loaves or rolls. You can shape it into a rectangular loaf, a round boule, or even individual rolls – the choice is yours!

Be gentle when handling the dough to preserve the air bubbles that will give your bread its signature softness.

Preparing for Baking

Place your shaped loaves or rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about an inch of space between each one.

Cover them with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let them proof for another hour, or until they’ve almost doubled in size again.

Baking Your Bread

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Before baking, gently brush the tops with an egg wash for a golden, shiny finish.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until your milk bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

The result will be a soft, fluffy bread with a tender crumb texture that’s simply irresistible.


Essential Ingredients and Mix-Ins

Essential Ingredients for Milk Bread

To make the perfect milk bread, you need a few essential ingredients. These include:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Whole milk

These ingredients will give your bread its signature softness and subtle sweetness.

Customizable Mix-Ins for Exciting Flavors

But you can take your milk bread to the next level by adding some exciting mix-ins! Try adding:

  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate chips

Imagine biting into a sweet and crunchy pecan or discovering a chunk of dark chocolate in your milk bread.

Get Creative with Mix-Ins!

You can also experiment with innovative combinations, such as:

  • Cranberry and orange zest
  • Cinnamon and raisin

The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to you to get creative!


Mixing and Proofing the Dough

Now that you’ve got your ingredients ready, it’s time to bring them together and create the perfect dough. As you start mixing, remember that getting the consistency just right is vital – you want it to be slightly sticky, but not too clingy.


Mixing the Dough Properly

Mixing the Dough Properly

When you combine the ingredients in your stand mixer, pay attention to the dough’s transformation, which should take around 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts sticking to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides. This is a crucial step in creating a soft and fluffy milk bread.

The Right Mixing Techniques

  • Overmixing: Avoid this! It develops gluten, leading to tough bread.
  • Undermixing: Don’t stop mixing too soon! It results in poor texture.
  • Gentle mixing: This preserves dough elasticity, ensuring a soft crumb. It’s the sweet spot for milk bread!
  • Overworking: Handle the dough gently! It releases too much carbon dioxide, affecting the rise.
  • Even mixing: This distributes ingredients evenly, promoting uniform texture. It’s the key to a consistent loaf!

As you mix, focus on developing the dough’s elasticity, which will give your milk bread its signature softness. Be gentle, but thorough, and you’ll get a tender, fluffy crumb. Remember, the goal is to create a smooth, even dough that’s slightly sticky but not clinging to the bowl’s sides. By mastering this mixing technique, you’ll be well on your way to baking a delicious, authentic Chinese milk bread.

Milk Bread

Dough Consistency Matters

The Perfect Dough Consistency

The perfect dough consistency is crucial for a tender, airy crumb in your milk bread. You want a smooth, slightly sticky texture that’s not too dry or too wet. If unsure, it’s better to add a little more flour or water as needed. The type of flour you use also affects the dough’s consistency, so keep that in mind.

Getting it Just Right

As you mix and proof your dough, it will develop a smooth, elastic texture. This is when you know you’re on the right track. The proofing process helps the yeast do its magic, and the dough will start to rise beautifully. When shaping your dough, it will hold its shape nicely, and the texture will be soft and pliable.

The Benefits of Perfect Consistency

With the right dough consistency, you can:

  • Experiment with flavor variations, like adding nuts or dried fruits
  • Cater to different texture preferences, like a denser or lighter crumb


Proofing Essentials

Proofing Essentials for Perfect Milk Bread

Blending and proofing the dough is crucial in creating the perfect milk bread. As you mix the ingredients, the dough starts to come together, and that’s when the magic begins. Yeast activation is key, so make sure your yeast is fresh and active. Temperature control is also crucial, as yeast thrives in a warm, cozy environment.

Ideal Proofing Conditions:

  • Initial Mixing: 15 minutes at room temperature (around 75°F/24°C)
  • First Proofing: 1-2 hours in a warm environment (around 80°F/27°C)
  • Second Proofing: 1 hour in a warm environment (around 80°F/27°C)
  • Baking: 23-25 minutes at 350°F (175°C)
  • Cooling: 10-15 minutes at room temperature (around 75°F/24°C)


Shaping and Second Proofing

Shaping and Second Proofing

Now that your dough has doubled in size, it’s time to gently deflate it and shape it into loaves or rolls, depending on your desired final product. This step is crucial in creating the perfect milk bread.

How to Shape Your Dough:

  • Gently deflate the dough: Use your fingers or a pastry scraper to release any air bubbles that have formed during the first proofing.
  • Divide the dough: If you’re making rolls, divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces. For a loaf, you can leave the dough as is.
  • Shape the dough: Gently shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it slightly into a disk or oblong shape.

Once you’ve shaped your dough, it’s time for the second proofing. Place the shaped dough in a warm, draft-free area, cover it with a clean towel, and let it proof for another hour, or until it has doubled in size again. This step will give your bread its signature softness and fluffiness.


Baking the Perfect Loaf

Now it’s time to bring your milk bread to life!

You’ve shaped and proofed your dough, and now it’s time to transform it into a golden-brown loaf.

In this final stage, you’ll learn the techniques to achieve a perfectly baked milk bread that’s both visually stunning and irresistibly delicious.


Final Shaping

Shaping Your Dough to Perfection

As you shape your proofed dough, remember to handle it gently to prevent air from escaping, and aim for a smooth surface that will give you a beautifully rounded loaf.

Tips for Shaping:

Be gentle: Handle the dough carefully to prevent deflation and maintain the air pockets that will make your bread soft.

Score with a purpose: Use a sharp blade or lame to make a few strategic cuts on the surface of the dough. This helps control how the bread expands during baking and creates a more even texture.

Get a smooth surface: Use your hands or a bench scraper to smooth out any wrinkles or air pockets on the surface of the dough. This ensures your loaf bakes evenly and has a beautiful, rounded shape.


Baking Techniques

Baking Techniques

Now that you have shaped your loaf, it’s time to bake it to perfection. Baking is the process that transforms your loaf into a golden-brown masterpiece. When you put your loaf in the oven, the yeast starts working, releasing carbon dioxide and making the dough rise. This process is crucial to get the perfect bread texture – soft, fluffy, and airy.

To bake your milk bread to perfection:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Place your loaf on the middle rack.
  • Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until it’s golden-brown.

During this time, the yeast will keep fermenting, making the crumb tender and the crust crispy. You’ll be rewarded with a delicious aroma and a beautifully baked loaf that’s not only visually stunning but also a delight to eat.


Tips and Variations to Try

Take Your Milk Bread to the Next Level

Want to make your milk bread more exciting? Try these creative twists and variations! You can add nuts or dried fruits to give your bread a sweet surprise. Or, try adding savory ingredients like cheese or herbs to give it a unique flavor.

Flavor Variations to Try:

  • Garlic and Herb: Add minced garlic and chopped fresh herbs like parsley or rosemary to the dough for a savory twist.
  • Cinnamon Sugar: Mix in some cinnamon sugar into the dough for a sweet and spicy flavor combination.
  • Cheesy Delight: Add shredded cheese, like mozzarella or cheddar, to the dough for an extra burst of flavor.

Experiment with Ingredients

Want to create unique flavor profiles? Try substituting some all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a nuttier flavor. You can also add dried fruits for added sweetness.

Decorative Finishes

Get creative with your bread’s appearance! Brush the bread with egg wash or add some sesame seeds on top for added texture and visual appeal. The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment and make this milk bread recipe your own!

Milk Bread

Nutrition Information and Facts

Nutrition Information

One serving of freshly baked milk bread contains approximately 184 calories, 29g of carbs, 5g of protein, and 5g of fat.

Benefits of Milk Bread

Milk bread provides several health benefits:

  • Carbohydrates provide energy for daily activities
  • Protein helps build and repair muscles
  • Fat contributes to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction

Making it Healthier

Want to make your milk bread recipe healthier? Try these modifications:

  • Use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour to increase fiber content
  • Reduce the amount of sugar or use a natural sweetener like honey

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