The Fresh Loaf

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Shokupan Sandwich Bread...Help?

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Nami01's picture

Shokupan Sandwich Bread...Help?


Nice to meet you all! So looking at the wonderful forum here, I found a recipe for Shokupan. Something I didn't know could be found ANYWHERE on the net. Excited, I started the recipe on from the Japanese site that was posted.

The pictures for the recipe and my progress work seemed to fit quite well, to the point I was really excited. But following the baking instructions, I got something like this...

Shokupan from Pullman Pan

D: It didn't look brown and toasty at all. In fact, it looked like it had shrunk in my pan. I baked it according to the site 160C for 10 min and 190C for 20 minutes. Then I waited 10 min before opening the pullman pan and popping it out. Can anyone guess what I did wrong?

I made sure to rise the dough until 1.5cm below the pan before baking. It looks like it grew a little initially during, but didn't quite make it there to make the pretty stuffed box shape?

The Japanese pullman pan is a different size than regular ones, not as long but wider and deeper. Could this have anything to do with it? I checked the ingredients and they should make a 1.4lb (630g) loaf...which should be about right for my 1.5lb pullman pan? Right?

From the background of the picture on the Japanese site, it looks suspiciously like they used a toaster "oven" type that my friend used while she was in Japan. Could it be that comparatively my big normal sized oven makes the pan too far away from the heat source and my temperature wasn't "hot" enough? On the site, they did say their little oven was "stronger" than most...?

And what in the world made the bread shrink smaller than the pan? Was I supposed to let it sit in the pan until completely cooled? Or maybe not let it sit in the pan at all (pop it out immediately)? Was it because my heat was too weak?

Sorry for being such a newbie. I feel that many experienced bakers may be able to tell what I did wrong from looking at the picture and my description. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I would roll up my sleeves for try #2 tomorrow! Thank you in advance for reading/replying to such a long post from a confused little newbie!


RobynNZ's picture

Hi Angela

Your bread looks very close to what you want to achieve, so a great first go. I beat it tastes good, and the toaster will crisp up those crusts!

As the total ingredients given in the formula you linked is for 711 gram, and this equates to 1lb 9oz (1oz = 28.35), I'm wondering what the 81 grams not accounted for in your calculation might be...... Oh, I see, the nutritional data panel shows the finished bread at 630 gram. 81 gram is moisture lost during process/baking.

The notes do indicate that 1.5 pound pan of volume 2800cc was used, but as you say the photo shows different dimensions to your 1.5 pound pan. I would have thought that your thinner loaf would have baked more quickly and so coloured more than the stubbier loaf. But I am not familiar with such pans.

The baker's percent column is a little out of kilter in the version on my screen, but the gram column appears accurate. Here is a translation for other TFL bakers to assist you:

Strong flour 100%   380g

Dry yeast     1%        4g

Sugar          6%       23g

Salt            1.8%      7g

Skim Mlk      2%        8g

Egg            10%      38g

Butter/no salt 5%     19g

Water          61%   232g

TOTAL                  711g  

Is this what you weighed out?

Did you follow the very detailed procedure exactly as given? Did you use a bread maker to do the mixing?    Were your temperatures and times as shown?  Did your dough rise as indicated it would?  What did you put the dough in for the various rising stages?

I'm not familiar with making this kind of

bread, but I would think that it is more likely the answer will be in the preparation stages. If you can provide  detail of the process  it may help some of the experts here to help you. Would you like me to write a summary of the procedure out as well?


lumos's picture

As a Japanese myself, I can assure you even Japanese people use a proper oven to bake their bread, not 'toaster oven' type your friends mentioned about. It's usually much smaller than ovens in American/European household, but they are proper oven nevertheless.

And I have baked many breads from the site you got your recipe from and other Japanese bread recipes I got from books or other sites in my British oven, which is probably similar sized one as you have yourself, and they all worked alright. Most of my bread pans are British made, so they are usually different size and shapes from the ones Japane recipes use, but still it did work. (though it came out in slightly diffseerent size and proportions, naturally)

One thing you have to keep in mind is that every oven has its own charcter. So even if your oven thermometer/setting tells you it's at a certain tempererature, there is a chance it actually is not. So if your bread comes out paler than what a recipe suggests, it may worth checking if your oven temperature with an oven thermometer (not the one which is on the oven).

Nami01's picture

To RobyNZ:

I used the exact grams. (I even specially ordered the strong flour Nisshin Kameriya which was used on the site)

For the mixing, I used the same times as the recipe called for, but used a kitchenaid mixer with the kneading stick on low speed. Do you think maybe its the mixing time wasn't enough or too much? I did check the dough after wards like it said, it was stretchy (pulled pretty thin) and a bit sticky but not so sticky that it would all just come off on oiled fingers.

My temperatures were the times shown on the rising stages. I had a little proof box that I made with a huge plastic tote, various lightbultbs (for temperature changes), and a wireless thermometer. I also used little stickers to check the increase in sizes, and the increase in sizes were similar as well...

The first dough rising I put in a plastic measured container that was rubbed with a very thin layer of butter @ 28C. The second was in a coated bowl (since it was only 2-2.3x) @ 28C and the third was in my coated little pullman man @38C until the loaf reached 1.5cm (on the puffy part) to the top of the pan.

Thank you so much for helping me with the steps! Was that enough information?

I toasted it and it was yummy to eat, though a bit more airy than the Japanese Shokupan.

To Lumos: 

Oh good! I wasn't sure about the oven thing, but the picture on the back scared me a little. My grandmother stopped baking and told me her oven was is storage (which was alarming since I didn't know ovens could go into storage...) and my friend had a little toaster oven in her room so I had a big misconception. Thank you for your knowledge!

Hmm...I will check my oven's tempurature right now. I'm not confused at 160C is 320F right? And 190C is 375F?

That e-pan site is amazing! The breads all look so wonderful, I will slowly try to go through the dessert breads when I have the chance (Although new to bread, I LOVE cooking cakes, and other sweets)

Also... o.o;; Do you think the wrong temperature in cooking could be what made my little bread shrink?

Maybe I will try baking in the convection oven in our restaurant...but then the temperatures might change between conventional and convection...and I would get more confused. T_T

Just checked the temperature, got 60C on  my oven. But it took a little while. Could it be my oven doesn't change from 60C to 90C fast enough?

RobynNZ's picture

Hi there

Looking at your photo I had had the sense that the sugars had all been used up during the preparation stage, that there wasn't enough left for the crust to brown (maillard reaction). As you adhered to the instructions and found your dough behaved as expected, then my initial thought is less likely.

Your concern about baking and Lumos' comments about oven temperature seem to be more on the money. I did read the comment on the second page about the heating power of the oven used being comparatively stronger, but didn't twig what that could mean in practise. I think you are probably correct, it is likely that the Toshiba oven used by the author of the formula goes from 160°C/320°F to 190°C/375°F more quickly than your oven, as there is a smaller area to heat and "stronger heating power".

I did a search here on TFL using "Pan de Mie"(using the search box at the top left of this page), to see what temperatures/baking times others have used. I think you should do the same search. You will find that a lot of people have found it challenging to get just the right amount to fill the pan. The formulae/methods may be different from the one you are making but I think that you can learn from what others have posted about using this type of pan. For example last week "evth' posted a photo of a pan de mie made following the formula found on the Paupered Chef blog. He baked his loaf at 400°F/205°C for 45 minutes.

So having double checked using an independent thermometer that your oven's temperature matches the temperature as you have set it (you say you got 60°C and 90°C when you checked but I assume that is a typo) maybe the next step is to do some experiments with the baking time/temperature, to find out what works best in your oven.

Another thing you might consider is working out the volume of your pan compared to that used by the author. If, say, your volume is 2940cc, that would be 5% more than the author's 2800cc, and so a little more dough would ensure you have enough to fill the pan completely.  Using the same kind of mathematical procedure shown at the end of the method you could work this out. Ask for help if you need to.

I'm sure that all the challenges we face in our own situation and the fact that even the less than perfect results from our experiments are mostly quite tasty is what keep us so engaged in learning about bread. 

Have fun with your experiments.


evth's picture


Hi Angela,

Check out my blog entry here at TFL. There's a good recipe link that you might like to try.

Ode to Pain de Mie


Nami01's picture

That sounds great!

Bread making is so addictive, even though it sometimes doesn't turn out right! I was quite proud when my friend ate it and said it tasted good. Whether out of politeness or not. :)

I was trying to make the dough again today (in the morning) but between church, work, baking chicken gratin, and studying it did not come to be. Which means it won't happen until after my test and AFTER the extra shift I picked up on Thursday...*sigh* Maybe I can manage it on Wednesday while studying...Actually...I think I will. >_< This project has gotten me so excited!

The information you have given me gives me a lot of food for thought. I will adjust my recipe for the size difference and see if that is where I err. Also, looking at the temperatures others have used, I may adjust accordingly, maybe heat it to 375F the whole time. If that still doesn't cut it, I will definitely try 400F...


Thank you so much for the link! I will definitely try out the recipe after I get my get in control of this sandwich bread! (I want to make tea sandwiches!) 

lumos's picture

My grandmother stopped baking and told me her oven was is storage (which was alarming since I didn't know ovens could go into storage...)

It's because many Japanese households, especially older ones, don't have a built-in oven (nor a free-standing cooker with oven), they buy a compact one which they can put on their worktop if they want one.  But they are fully-functional ovens and quite often very efficient, though much smaller than standard ovens as we know in Europe/US.

Reading what you found out about your oven, I have a feeling it wasn't pre-heated enough before you put the dough in. Because Japanese oven is smaller (and if e-Pan's is a 'stronger' one) it takes much, much shorter time to pre-heat.

I haven't been to e-Pan site for a looooooog time, to be honest. I have baked a few breads from that site ages ago, but I'm not so interested in Japanese-style breads which he mainly does, and there're a few things I don't quite agree with his method/information (including his use of a bread machine for kneading in most recipes) , so I stopped visiting the site.  He's completely self-trained (though very diligent and dovoted one, no doubt), and the site hasn't been updated for some years now, not all the things (esp. his 'tips' 'advice') written on that site are quite correct and some info are a bit outdated.

Am I right in thinking you understand Japanese?  If you do, there're some other Japanese breads sites I can recommend. Or if you're prepared to buy some books on Japanese breads, there're lots of good ones around, too. (In Japanese, I'm afraid, though....)

Let me know if you're interested. :)

Re: Pain de Mie

Pain de mie is probably the closest relative to Japanese shoku-pan (or is it the other way round? :p), but the latter is usually a slightly richer with  more butter/shortening and sugar because that's how many Japanese people tend to prefer their bread to be.  So if you try a recipe for pain de mie and if you feel it lacks something compared to shoku-pan as you know, it may worth adding a little extra fat and/or sugar the next time.

Nami01's picture

that the preheat time is an issue. Last time though, I preheated it almost 45 minutes ahead of time...I am guessing though, the time it needs to go from 160 to 190C takes longer in my larger oven than in his smaller oven. I will try cooking at 190C next time (hopefully wednesday...)

I do understand Japanese. I would LOVE recommendations to Japanese bread sites. Even though one of my parents is Japanese, I grew up in America so I admire Japanese breads very much. I only go to Japan once every 2-3 years...

lumos's picture

Here's only a couple I can think of at the moment. As I said, I'm not really into Japanese-style bread, so I don't really follow so many sites/blogs that is specialized in that field but the below ones are some of the most popular and reliable sources for recipes which I sometimes refer to myself.

 Cuoca - one of the largest baking ingredients/equipments suppliers in Japan


Hide-hide - A blog with mostly Japanese style breads

But there're tons of private sites/blogs that features all sorts of breads in Japan, so if you understand Japanese, I'm sure you'll find many more that you'd like by searching.

And this is not a site for recipes but an index of bread blogs at the largest blog community in Japan. You may not find a lot of recipes/formulae there unless they are of their own because they tend to be more nervous about violating copyrights, but at least they mention which book/site they got their recipe from. So by checking it regularly, especially some of the top ones, you can see what a current breadmaking is like in Japan and also it's a good source for learning which bread books are popular.