If you’re looking for a bread recipe that’s light, fluffy, and loaded with flavor, you’ve come to the right place. This milk bread recipe is incredible versatile–perfect for loaves, rolls, and even cinnamon rolls! Best of all, it comes together easily and is almost foolproof.
What is Tangzhong Milk Bread?
I wasn’t sure, myself, but when I got a call from my sister telling me that Tangzhong milk bread would change my life, I jumped on the idea.
To be honest, I’ve never been particularly happy with most homemade breads because the texture isn’t great.
I used to own a bread machine and the loaves always looked gorgeous but the taste and texture left something to be desired. Many of those loaves of bread had a cornbread-like texture. Ick.
I was told this milk bread had a perfect texture, and I decided to try for myself.
Milk bread is similar to many other types of breads but it calls for ice cold milk instead of water. It also calls for powdered milk to be added to the mix, which serves to soften the dough.
Adding Milk to Your Bread Recipe
According to an article titled Milk in Bread Baking:
Milk will make bread that has:
- Greater volume (improved capacity to retain gas)
- Darker crust (due to the lactose in the milk)
- Longer shelf life (due partly to the milk fat)
- Finer and more “cottony” grain
- Better slicing due to the finer grain
I just have one word to describe this experience: Perfection! I’m so relieved that I’ve finally found a bread I can proudly present to friends and families!
The Tangzhong Method
To learn more about the Tangzhon Method, you can visit the King Arthur flour site. Basically, you create a slurry (in many ways like a roux) which is added to the dough.
This is what I learned from the King Arthur site from someone who’s skilled at the Tangzhong method:
First I make the tangzhong slurry, the cooked mixture of flour and liquid. A standard slurry uses between 5% and 10% of the flour in the recipe and is composed of one part flour to five parts liquid (by weight).
I’ve now made this standard slurry often enough that this is what I use for any yeast recipe calling for between 3 and 4 cups of flour: 3 tablespoons (23g) of the flour in the recipe + 1/2 cup (113g) of the liquid.
Remember, you’re using flour and liquid from the recipe, not adding extra flour and liquid! Take that into account when you’re measuring out the remaining flour and liquid for the dough.
When I made my bread in my Thermomix, (a multi-use food processor/cooker) it did the work of creating the Tangzhong for me.
When I made this bread in my Kitchen Aid, I actually skipped this step and didn’t notice any difference. I still ended up with a soft, fluffy bread, even without the added step of making the roux.
That said, it’s easy enough to add 1/8 cup bread flour to about 1/2 cup warm milk and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before adding the other ingredients. (Easy-breezy!)
And think about it this way: the slurry you’re making is similar to a sourdough starter but doesn’t require the grueling process of feeding and keeping it alive/active. It’s a fifteen-minute process.
Milk Bread Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.
- bread flour divided
- warm milk
- large egg yolk
- extra egg for brushing
- granulated sugar
- powdered milk
- instant yeast
How to Make Milk Bread
This is such a simple process and I have to say, this is my favorite bread recipe so far! I’m going to give you my simplified instructions (minus the roux process).
Mix warm milk, yeast, sugar with whisk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. (I used the bowl of my stand mixer but you could use a regular mixing bowl if you like.)
In separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, milk powder.
Add egg and dry ingredients to wet ingredients.
Using dough hook attachment, knead for 3 minutes on low speed.
On lightly floured surface, roll dough in rectangle and fold over, envelope style. If you find this to be a sticky dough just add a tiny bit more flour.
Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Rise for 30 minutes in a warm spot.
Punch down to release the air from dough.
Divide into three equal pieces.
With a rolling pin, roll into rectangles and fold over envelope-style.
Place each dough ball side-by-side in prepared loaf pan.
Cover with a tea towel. Rest for 30 minutes in a warm spot until dough doubles in size. (Allow dough to rise before attempting to bake. If your dough isn’t rising, check the expiration date on your yeast or move your dough to a warmer spot.)
If you’re using active dry yeast (as opposed to fast rising) this process will take twice as long. I can’t stress how important it is to place your pan in a warm place. I usually turn my oven on 250 and set the pan on top of it.
Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. (If you like, you can do an egg wash ahead of time, brushing the top of the raw bread dough with beaten egg.)
Brush with softened butter.
Remove from pan to continue cooling on wire rack.
Slice and serve. Bread is delicious warm but is also good at room temperature.
What to Expect from this Delicious Milk Bread?
Is there anything better than homemade bread? I think not! Especially one with a fluffy texture like this!
As I mentioned above, this is a light bread. It slices beautifully, but tears well, too.
It’s perfect slathered in butter, jam, or honey. You can’t go wrong, whether you’re serving it with savory foods or as a dessert.
Milk bread has all of the same notes as a good yeast roll and is the perfect complement to any meal.
I recently posted a recipe for a wonderful homemade Challah bread. It’s absolutely terrific, too. But this Milk Bread is lighter and springier. And talk about an easy recipe!
This is one of those milk bread recipes you’re going to turn to again and again.
The Classic Television Bread Scene
In many ways I felt like Lucille Ball in that infamous bread-baking scene in I Love Lucy.
I’ve never been a bread baker. . .until now. And I’m so relieved to report that my bread escapades turned out a lot better than Lucy’s!
Variations on this recipe:
Now that I know I can make Milk Bread I plan to do so in a variety of ways. Here are some of my ideas:
Tangzhong Method: Before combining yeast, sugar, etc. start with 1/8 cup of bread flour and 1/2 cup warm water, mixed together. Allow to sit for 15 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients, as instructed.
Fluffy dinner rolls: I think this recipe would make the perfect base for yeast rolls. I’ll probably bake my milk bread rolls in a cupcake pan so they balloon on top.
Cinnamon rolls: As I mentioned above, this bread recipe is perfect for all sorts of things and cinnamon rolls are high on the list! Let the dough rise the usual way then roll it out and fill with cinnamon and sugar. Yum!
Braided bread: Braided breads like my Challah are lovely to look at. This milk bread is perfect for braiding!
French Toast: Bake according to directions, cool, and slice to make traditional French toast.
Sesame Seeds: If you like, you can sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on top of your bread before baking. (Yum!)
All purpose flour: If you don’t have bread flour you can try all purpose but the texture of the bread might not be as soft. I would suggest doubling your milk powder.
Whole wheat flour: You can use a whole wheat flour if you like. The color and texture will be slightly different.
Using the Thermomix for Bread Recipes
A Thermomix is a marvelous kitchen appliance that slices, dices, chops, mixes, and cooks. It’s a modern marvel!
I had to convert the measurements from ounces to cups and spoons, but other than that, this is the Cookidoo recipe from start to finish.
Other Breads from Out of the Box Baking
Challah Bread: Challah is a wonderful white bread with a crunchy exterior. It’s perfect with soups, salads, or even on its own.
Southern Cornbread with Whipping Cream: I made this recipe tonight for dinner and fell in love with it all over again! This is my favorite cornbread recipe. . .ever!
That’s it for this easy milk bread recipe, y’all. I hope you love Milk Bread as much as I do!
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour divided
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 large egg yolk
- extra egg for brushing
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tbl powdered milk
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix warm milk, yeast, sugar with whisk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes
In separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, powdered milk.
Add egg and dry ingredients to wet.
Using dough hook and knead for 3 minutes
Roll dough in rectangle and fold over, envelope style.
Rise for 30 in warm spot.
Punch down to release the air from dough.
Divide into three equal parts.
Roll into rectangles and fold over envelope-style.
Place side-by-side in prepared pan.
Rest for 30 in warm spot until dough doubles in size.
If you're doing an egg wash, this is the time to do so.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until loaf is golden brown.
Brush with butter and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.
Remove from pan to continue cooling.
Slice and serve.