The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Japanese- GREAT white bread

uchinanchu's picture

Japanese- GREAT white bread

I have been searching for a really great Japanese white sandwich bread recipe (sometimes called milk bread) and a Japanese hotel bread recipe.  NOTHING compares to the Japanese sliced white bread which has an almost feathery and stringy texture when pulled apart ~ so light but solid  texture~ never dry or dense.  Luckily I live in Japan and can find a bakery on almost every other street. We are spoiled here ~ Japanese bakeries are wonderul with many of the bakers having been trained in Europe.  It is only when I go back home to the US that I freak out by the poor quality of white bread available in supermarkets ~ wonderbread type brands. However, I am happy to see that artisinal breads have become readily available in so many parts of America in the past decade.  I am a total bread freak and love my crusty breads, ciabattas, baguettes etc.  But some sandwhiches (left over turkey from thanksgiving) couldn't taste better than on soft, stringy Japanese style white bread with nothing but mayonaise and pepper! Brings me back to my childhood :) 

Does anyone know the secret to the great Japanese sandwich breads? Most are made in pan de mie style.  Next time I run to the bakery I can take some snap shots of the crumb.  I am hoping there are some professional or expert bakers here who have traveled to or trained in Japan and know the bread I am refering to.  Better yet, someone might have some great recipes and techniques to share with me.  I did find this one website but haven't tried any recipes out yet.... these look good but not quite as good as what we get at the supermarkets and bakeries. I am preparing for when we move back to the US and I have to make my own Japanese pan (bread). Nothing makes better toast! 

Here is a chocolate marble sweet bread on the site ... I think their elaborate braiding must be the secret to the stringy texture.

 American in Japan...

Kuret's picture

I have heard that the secret to making these feather light sandwich loaves are a method called the 95C method or something similar. Essentially you almost boil some of the flour making the starch absorb a lot of water, this allows you to make a loaf that contains a lot more water than you normally could without sacrificing the sandwich bread type crumb.

 I have read about this in a baking blog somewhere, but could not find the source.

Wild-Yeast's picture

This may turn in to the "Great Shokupan Recipe" quest.  Seems that the recipe is mostly available in Japanese with few translations (for some reason). Found the following recipes that between them should yield a viable ingredient list. Shokupan is derived from brioche bread recipes so the method shouldn't be all that different:


It uses a glutinous starch syrup additive that needs better definition.

Recounts the need for covered loaf pans and uses "vital wheat gluten flour".

Ingredients Only:

Refers to an ingredient "powerful powder" which is super glutinous flour with around 21% glutin.  Something about Manitoba Flour was also mentioned.

What we need is input from a Japanese baker, expert in the methods and ingredients for the varieties of white bread available in Japan.



kanin's picture

Thanks for the links guys. Even if the recipe are in Japanese, translation web sites are handling it well.

Is the bread you describe the same the Hokkaido pan loaf?

uchinanchu's picture

Hi everyone! 

Thanks you for the replies and great links/suggestions.  I found a website that has some great pictures (and probably great recipes... if I could only read Kanji fluently!)  I do have a friend~ who has a friend~ who is an intermediate baker and can possibly in the future come translate and teach me how to make great bread.  The only problem is that we are both very busy, she just recently had a long stay at the hospital after a car accident. 

 We all know that great recipes do not necessarily guarantee great results.  I hope she is experienced in technique and I can get my hands on the authentic ingredients to make a really great Japanese bread.  I will keep you all posted. 

 In the meantime, these are some of the best pictures I have found on the internet of Japanese breads.  I know it will make a lot of you drool!  HAHA.  The pictures do not do them justice.  There is something indescribeable about Japanese pan....  In the meantime (maybe an experienced Japanese baker can step in to thoroughly translate and give tips and put us all out of our suffering), these pictures may help. A great feature on this website (but only on a few of the pictures) if you place your mouse over them a close up shot of the crumb appears.  Only a few do that.  Check out all of the links and recipes if you have time... it really showcases Japanese "everyday" bread.  YUM!

I tried to paste a few recipes pages, but it just brings me to the home page. So, here are the directions to access the recipes for those who do not read Japanese...

On the left hand side of this page.... , 

under "Note Top" click on the link directly below it. On the right will appear a dozen or so recipes... too see the crumb click on the 9th and 10th recipe SandwichPullman and Fresh cream bread.  These are the two pictures that you can place your mouse over to view another picture of the crumb. 

 I won't have too much time in the next few weeks to surf the net but I hope to see lots of great discussions when I visit this great website soon! But, take a minute to look over the website.  You won't be dissapointed and they have great pictures.  Think of it as Japanese Bread Culture 101 LOL . Enjoy.   Thanks again everyone!

 In a rush, have to run for now...

Uchinanchu (OO-CHI-NAAN-CHEW)

Wild-Yeast's picture

Google Language Tools translate the website fairly well.  Most Powerful Flour, Very Strong Flour and Starch Syrup need further work though...,


Karin's picture

The Just Hungry blog has a section on Japanese baking.  It doesn't mention these terms, but I bet a post might yield answers or leads.  Look forward to seeing what happens with this! 

jennyloh's picture

Is this what you are looking for?

I just made the japanese soft bread on Sunday...found the recipe in a Singapore blog website that has a link to another blog.  Check out my link here.

It turned out like a Japanese Yamazaki Bread Store, very very soft bread.  The secret seems to be whipped cream and very light flour - I used a local chinese flour,  I would suggest Japanese flour to get the effect.

walter17's picture


i agree with uchinanchu.  the Japanese go to Europe and train to become chefs and bakers and then come home to open their own business.  the Japanese are quite aggressive in opening a business with a unique product. i have been watching reruns of Soko ga Shiratai for a decade now and i'm quite jealous that the United States don't have that kind of quality around the corner. it's just the typical stuff one would find at a supermarket.  nothing special.  

however i live in Hawaii and the supermarket i shop at does make Japanese Bread! i dare to ask how many calories are in a slice.  whatever it's so good anyway!