The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Loaf - a classic shreddable soft bread

txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Loaf - a classic shreddable soft bread


Some facts first:

- Hokkaido is a place in Japan.

- Hokkaido Milk Loaf is THE most classic/common/well-loved sandwich bread in Asia. It's enriched with milk, heavy cream, butter, egg, milk power, and quite a lot of sugar - which makes it richer than most Asian soft sandwich bread recipes, pushing toward brioche territory. The finished loaf is very tall, very soft, rather rich tasting.

- Hokkaido Milk Loaf has nothing to do with the place Hokkaido. Nothing. Well, other than the name.

- Hokkaido Milk Loaf is usually made with dry yeast, a sample recipe can be found here using straight method:, many TFLers have also done this bread successfully.

My notes:

- I adapted the recipe to use SD only. In fact it was over a year ago that I first attempted, since then, I have gone through many iterations on ingredient ratios, fermentation schedule etc. This is my measuring stick on how well my SD sandwich bread method works. What I am posting below is the latest version. In the begining I reduced sugar/fat ratio, but now I know my SD starter is strong enough to take on what the original Hokkaido recipe calls for, so I have slowly raised fat/sugar ratio back up, now it's comparable to the dry yeast version. The bread has the classic rich flavor and soft texture of Hokkaido loaf, and a slightly tangy taste thanks to SD starter.

- Like other soft sandwich breads, the success of this bread relies on intensive kneading. Please see the following two previous posts about this topic:

- The same dough can be used for rolls and other breads. Other than the sandwich loaf, I also made some rolls filled with chocolate hazelnut paste. I didn't specify ratios for the filling because I winged it, using whatever was on hand. I like to over fill the rolls with filling, which means lots of coca/hazelnut/sugar mixture, AND lots of softened butter to absorb it.

- Comparing to my previous soft sandwich breads, you might notice that baking temperature is higher (400F rather than 375), I find it gives a better lift to the bread.


SD Hokkaido Milk Loaf

Note: 19% of the flour is in levain

Note: total flour is 250g, fit my Chinese small-ish pullman pan. For 8X4 US loaf tin, I suggest to use about 270g of total flour. For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I would suggest using about 430g of total flour.

Note: for the rolls, I used a 8X8 square tin, and 340g of total flour.


- levain

starter (100%), 13g

milk, 22g

bread flour, 41g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 203g (I used half KAF bread flour and half KAF AP flour for a balance of chewiness and volume)

sugar, 33g

butter, 10g, softened

milk powder, 15g

egg whites, 38g

salt, 4g

milk, 74g

heavy cream, 63g


1. mix until stage 3 of windowpane (-30sec), see this post for details.

2. rise at room temp for 2 hours, punch down, put in fridge overnight.

3. takeout, divide, round, rest for 1 hour. shape as instructed here for sandwich loaf. For rolls, roll out the dough into 16X12in (quite thin), mix together coca, toasted hazelnut, and sugar in a blender, first brush the dough with lots of softened butter (LOTS), then spread on coca/hazelnut/sugar mixture (again, LOTS), roll up, cut off two ends, then divide into 9 pieces, and put in 8inch squre pan.

4. rise at room temp for about 6 hours. For my pullman pan, it should be about 80% full; for US 8x4inch pan, it should be about one inch above the edge. The dough would have tripled by then, if it can't, your kneading is not enough or over.

5. for sandwich loaf, bake at 400F for 45min, brush with butter when warm. for rolls, bake at 400F for 25min.


Thanks for all the protein, fat, and sugar in the dough, the bread should be very tall - if not, more kneading is needed.


With enough (but not too much) kneading, and proper fermentation, the crumb should be velvet soft.


Same for the rolls. The rich taste of the dough matches well with the filling.


I am sure I will keep tweaking the recipe, since I just can't leave a good thing alone. :P


Sending this to Yeastspotting.


RonRay's picture

txfarmer, you have given TFL another work of art, and given me another item on a very long list of "try when there is time".

As usual, everything looks almost too good to eat. Now, what was that you said about the total calorie count on these baked goods LOL


SallyBR's picture

If you knead the bread well - as TxFarmer evidently did - the calories are squeezed out of the dough and evaporate in thin air.

so, no worries....

RonRay's picture

Oh, Sally, that is such a relief to know that. Wow, you have created a real need to knead incentive for me now.... ;-)


SallyBR's picture

I am always glad to help!     ;-)

Syd's picture

Looks lovely and those rolls are especially decadent. :)



RuthieG's picture

Beautiful examples.  I made the bread one time and it was devoured.  I have to do it again.

AdelK's picture

Hi Txfarmer

Your sandwich loaf looks amazing! Just a quick question, could I use a 100% hydration rye sourdough starter for this recipe? I'm very new to bread baking and only have a rye starter at the moment.



txfarmer's picture

Rye has much lower gluten than white flour, and the key for this bread is extremely high gluten developement. If you must use rye starter, expect lower profiler, and coarser crumb. However, even with rye starter, if you feed it a couple of times with white starter before using, it can be very close to white starter.

AdelK's picture

But the actual amount of starter used in this recipe is only 13g, wouldn't the amount of gluten in that 13g of starter be negligible?

Also do I use the normal milk powder for this recipe? (as in the ones for babies?)

Cheers and hope to hear from you soon.


txfarmer's picture

I find rye starter gives different flavor and texture due to lack of gluten, as well as extra acidity. Of course, it's personal tastes, I am fairly obsessed with the "right" height and texture. You may find the difference to be acceptable. Yes, normal milk powder would be fine. 

nicodvb's picture

Txfarmer, I followed your recipe. I find it extremely soft and cottony, and tasty too! A jewel I won't forget. Thanks for the recipe! I dount that I will ever get the perfection of your crumb, but I'm satisfied.


txfarmer's picture

Very nice!!! (Even though I can't read the text:P)

AdelK's picture

I used the original Hokkaido recipe as my sourdough starter has been playing up lately but I made use of most of your tips. This bread is absolutely amazing. The perfect sandwich loaf, in fact I could eat it on its own.

Once again thank you so much for introducing us to this wonderful bread!


vickyT's picture

Made my first loaf 2 weeks ago, it has a good oven spring and the flavour texture were great if my hub didn't charcoal the top and the inside was totally fine.

I tweaked a little on my 2nd one, by adding tangzhong about 61gm and than reduce bread and sprouted spelt fl about 193gm.. It has a distinct layers, fluffy and moist plush crumb for days

Just made another one today, I further tweaked the flours replacing about 170gm bread fl and 23gm cake fl SD & TZ and everything else remain the same.  It was so light must be the cake fl.

Though I have never made any loaf bread,  started to learn to make SD this May which I used mainly in muffins, Lebanese mountain bread, English muffin, scone and mantou but for sure TXfarmer has built up my confident and would like to thank you all so much.

BTW they are all unbleached fl