The Fresh Loaf

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Formula - Japanese Style White Sandwich Bread - Water Roux Starter / Sponge

Yippee's picture

Formula - Japanese Style White Sandwich Bread - Water Roux Starter / Sponge

Formula - Japanese Style White Sandwich Bread - Water Roux Starter / Sponge































From 'The 65 C Bread Doctor" by Yvonne Chen    
Water Roux Starter     
any amount is finebread flour50g  
as long as the 1:5 ratio is followedwater 250g  
 Whisk both until well mixed    
 Heat it up on stove, keep stirring     
 until temperature reaches 65 C or 149 F    
 (Yippee uses the microwave, about 4 minutes, stir halfway.)   
 (Final product should leave a trail when stirred.)   
 Put a plastic wrap directly on top to prevent forming a 'skin'.  
 Must be cooled to at least room temperature before use.  
 Refrigerate up to 3 days.      
 Do not use if turns grey.    
Makes 2 loaves     
Original recipe uses water roux starter only, sponge not necessary.     
Yippee threw in an additional step of developing the sponge out of the total, see side column for her portions.  
     Yippee's Sponge
A.bread flour540g 400
 yeast11g 8
B.whole eggs86g 86
 whipping cream (can substitute with either half n half or milk)59g 59
 milk54g 54
 milk (recipe calls for flavor enhancer but Yippee uses milk instead)9g 9
 water roux starter144g 2 TBSP out of the 144g
Mix:Combine A. and B. until a ball is formed.     
 Add C. and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.  
 (Yippee says:  use your judgment, each machine is different)  
 (Yippee kneads her dough in her Zojirushi breadmaker for 30 minutes.  
1st Fermentation:About 40 minutes at 28 C or 82.4 F, 75% humidity  
Scale: into 4 pieces if making twin loaves, each at 265g   
 (Yippee makes 2 log loaves, each at 530g)    
 15 minutes at room temperature    
Shape:For twin loaves:    
 Roll into an oval    
 With the long side facing you:    
 Fold 1/3 from top to bottom, press to seal    
 Fold 1/3 from bottom to top, press to seal    
 Turn seam side down    
 Roll and elongate the dough to about 30cm or 12 "   
 Upside down and roll into a cylindrical shape   
 Seam side down, into the loaf pan    
 For log loaves:    
 Shape like regular sandwich bread    
Final Proof:About 40 minutes at 38 C or 100.4 F, 85% humidity   
 (Yippee lets the dough rise for 20 more minutes to get a taller loaf)  
Bake:Whole egg wash, no water added    
 350 F, 35-40 minutes    




Sponge preparation:


a.                   Use the ingredients listed on the side column, mixed until all are well incorporated

b.                  Leave at room temperature ~ 76-80F for an hour

c.                   Grease a food grade plastic bag, pour dough in, leave enough space to allow the dough to expand to about 160% of its size, reinforce the bag with double or triple bagging before tightening it, retard overnight

d.                  Subtract the above ingredients from the main formula, whatever remaining will be mixed at the 'Mix' stage with the sponge.  Follow the rest of the formula. 


However, if your dough feels cold after mixing due to the refrigerated sponge, instead of following the time suggested in the formula, watch your dough:


1st Fermentation:           Completes when the dough has risen to about 180% of its size


Final Proof:                   Completes when a dent is formed and very slowly bounces back

                                    when dough is poked with a floured finger



To make rolls:

Scale: 60g each

Bake: 350F, about 15 minutes

rest of the procedures unchanged

Choice of fillings, if preferred: bacon, roast chicken, cheese, red bean, pork, curry and custard cream.

Pictures of assorted buns I made before:


ques2008's picture

for the japanese white bread recipe.  glad you didn't forget!

makebreadnet's picture

Hi Yippee,

Thanks for sharing this recipe!  I made it 2 days ago and it's delicious!  Mine didn't rise as much as yours but it was great nonetheless!

When you call for 59g of Whip Cream, do you mean the "ready whip" stuff that comes in a can, the frozen kind like "cool whip", or something altogether different?  I skipped this ingredient and wonder if it made a big difference.

Thanks and happy baking!

Yippee's picture


It's whipping cream, or you can use half n half.  The fattier the ingredients, the more aromatic your loaf will turn out.  I use milk when I don't have any whipping cream on hand.  I'll update the formula to avoid future confusion.  Happy baking to you, too.


erg720's picture

what's the logic behind that unic thecnique?

Yippee's picture

Water roux starter is a mixture of flour and water in the ratio of 1(F):5(W) by weight heated up to 65 Celsius to achieve gelatinization of starch in the flour, which presumably would retain more water in the dough. Bread made with this starter will have a softer and springier texture plus extended keeping time. This is a very popular technique used in the Asian, especially Chinese and Japanese, baking community.


erg720's picture

it was good, real good. and of course unic. thanks


Yippee's picture

I'm glad you enjoyed it.


BellesAZ's picture

Thank you Yippee.  I've never tried Japanese bread, but it sounds really wonderful.  My husband loves a soft white bread and I'm thinking he might really enjoy this recipe. 

Obviously, you have modified it to include a sponge that you let rest overnight.  Do you use the sponge for any other reason other than enhancing the flavor?  I might give this a try today, without using the sponge method and see how it goes.  Then do it again with a sponge.

One question, however... you mentioned dividing the dough in quarters.  Are we talking a standard sized bread loaf pan for those?  9x5 inch size?  If not, what size loaf pans did you use for your 250g doughs?  You said you made two and they were 12 inches long.. far too long for our standard loaf pan.  I can't wait to try - again thanks for sharing this.

And one more question.  You mentioned the original recipe calls for a flavor enhancer.  Do you know what that flavor enhancer was? 

Yippee's picture




Do you use the sponge for any other reason other than enhancing the flavor? 



... what size loaf pans did you use for your 250g doughs?



   ...they were 12 inches long...

when (each 265g dough) was rolled out with a rolling pin, then

you roll them back into cylinders.


...what that flavor enhancer was? 

It's a commercial product readily available in Taiwan to homebakers.  I don't have access to it.



BellesAZ's picture

Do you know the name of it?  There might be a substitute for it here in the US.  Just curious :)

Yippee's picture

are their classification.  Come in either powder or liquid form:

  1. Milk flavor powder
  2. Hokkaido milk sauce

I don'f feel any of them is necessary as the whipping cream has already made the loaves very, very aromatic.


BellesAZ's picture

Yes, I am know about window panes.. I've asked two different camps about window pane.. and I get two different answers.  Some say window panes aren't that important because the dough develops gluten with time and hydration.  I just spoke to a baker in Germany who suggests that stretching and folding every half hour gives you more volume and achieves better results. 

With that being said, however, it's purely a matter of personal choice in most cases.  For this bread, I think a strong mix to full window pane helps in the development of the dough since it doesn't ferment overnight, but is a straight dough.  Here is a pic of my last window pane.. it was nearly there, but my husband was anxious and took the shot.  LOL

I think you're right.. practice makes perfect.  I have also posted a recipe here that is similar to Yippees and I've had great luck with it.  It adds the egg directly to the initial roux and uses milk.  I know you were looking for a vegan formula, but if you want to try that recipe you should.. you may get different results.  A friend had to interpret it for me.. lol.

teketeke's picture

I made your bread with water roux starter. ( YUDANE  湯だね/湯種 )I decreased the sugar amount down to 5% and instand yeast ( Bread machine yeast ) down to 1 %.    I also put the water roux starter in a refrigerator after it is cooled for 6 hours.    I let the dough rest at 28c for 1 hour ( the dough rose tripled in bulk)  and... I had to leave the dough in a tin at 22-26c for 2.5 hours because I had to go out.   I expected the bread came out chewy as other Japanes bakers said. But this bread crumb is really soft and nice texture.  While kneading the dough, I was worried because the dough was really sticky like keading stew dumplings, but it came out smooth and shiny at the end of bulkfermentation.  The bread got brown on the top just 5 minutes past after I started to bake at 410F with steam that I sprayed water 4 times in the wall of the oven.  Of course, I decreased the oven to 350F after that. It took 35 minutes in totall to bake.

Your Japanese style sandwich loaf was a huge hit!  Thank you, Yippee. 

Many Japanese home bakers use 1: 1.25 = boiling water : bread flour. then put it in a refrigerator for over night.    I have never tried a water roux starter loaf until now.  Have you tried the way?    It is very interesting method and I'd like to experiment yours and the other method of water roux starters for a while.  Thank you for sharing your great loaf recipe.

Best wishes,


Yippee's picture

Hi, Akiko :

I'm surprised to hear that this is your first experience with 湯種, as it was originally developed by a well-respected Japanese professional baker, 綾野光男, in 昭和 36 年. I made this type of breads exclusively in the first month or two when I first started learning to bake, and the results were encouraging. Once I felt that I'd mastered the techniques of this category of breads, I've moved on to the artisan side. I'm glad you've enjoyed it.


dwfender's picture

Have you by any chance had any experience with baking these as a roll? Mabye a change in temperature or oven time? 

Yippee's picture


Hope it helps.


jyslouey's picture

for introducing to us the water roux method.  I finally managed to purchase the book by Yvonne Chen, I followed her recipe using a bit of whipping cream and for the flavour enhancer (not sure what it meant at the time) I decided to use a bit of vanilla extract in my dough and the bread was awesome.  It's the best bread I've made to date in terms of softness and taste.  I even used a bit of the dough to make individual buns wiith apple and cinnnamon filling. I was absolutely thrilled to see it rise in the oven within a few minutes!  This is the best method for a sweet dough for buns with filling or on its own as a loaf bread. Unfortunately I don't have a stand mixer and the kneading took quite a while to reach windowpane effect.  Best, Judy

Yippee's picture

How are things in Hong Kong? Is the frantic 盲搶鹽 over yet? People must be scared.

May be you could try autolyzing the dough w/o the yeast + a few S&F to develop the gluten first before hand kneading it.

Glad you like the bread. Do you mind tell us where the book is available for sale cos I think some people here might be interested? Thanks.

All the best,


jyslouey's picture

Hello Yippee,  you must be keeping a very close watch on the HK news scene.  I found the headline extremely apt and witty and  has made us Hongkies a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.  The frantic rush for salt is over now and stocks of salt are back on the supermarket shelves.  

I bought her book from the Commercial Press Bookstore but I also saw copies in Cosmos and various other Chinese bookstores although I have recently been told that its out of stock. 

I will take up your suggestion of autolysing the dough before kneading.   Should I be adding all the liquid ingredients incl. crream, egg and milk tog. with the roux or just mix the water roux in the flour first before adding the rest of the liquid ingredients (there's very little water roux to moisten all the flour so I am guessing that it's fine to add everything in at the same time?  Cheers, Judy

Yippee's picture

Hi, Judy:

Yes, I'd add all liquid ingredients at once, mix well, then let it autolyze in the fridge. I would not want to take a chance when raw egg and dairy products are present.


AnnaMagnani's picture

Hi, Yippee:

How long would you autolyse a dough that did not have egg and dairy?  I leave it for 10-20 minutes, so I haven't worried about it going bad in that short time.  (I don't think it makes a difference here, but I make all my bread in a food processor.)



Yippee's picture

Sorry again for an even more extended delay in replying your question. The timing of autolyse can range from an hour to two hours, usually depends on how occupied I'm with other tasks. 


RuthieG's picture

I hope I don't sound to dense but regarding the the sponge a percentage or part of the recipe total.....


in other words the sponge calls for 400 g's of that 400 g's of the original recipe amout of 540 or an additional 400.......


I hope I am clear.the question is.....does the recipe call for 540 g's of flour or 940?  of course that same question applies to all ingredients in the sponge...


I so want to try this bread but don't quite understand the recipe.  American brain is confused enough by grams and then the recipe has me reeling.......any help would be appreciated.

Yippee's picture

as I was traveling during the Spring Break. The formula calls for 540g of bread flour in total. The amounts of ingredients used for sponge are part of the total (column on the left), not in addition to it.


jyslouey's picture

the water roux amt in your recipe specifies 144 grms while  the  recipe in the book calls for 184 grs for 540 grs flour.  I've baked this bread a couple of times using half the amt and I have been using 92 grms of the water roux each time.  I will give your sponge method a try next time when I'm making this bread again.  Best wishes, Judy

Yippee's picture

Hi, Judy:

I did that for easy calculation.   

Laddavan's picture

I try your recipe. It worked out very good and my kids love it. My loaf never expand like this before, I can see it. But, I need a bit of practice to shape my dough.

Yippee's picture

Hi, Laddavan:

Practice makes perfect, it's so true, especially when comes to making bread.