The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Benito's picture

Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

This is the bread I am going to bring our friends who we are seeing for the first time in over a year.  They do seem to prefer a softer bread so what better than a sourdough Hokkaido milk bread with Tangzhong.  This is the second time I am making this bread and I hope they enjoy it.

The recipe that follows is for a 9”x4”x4” Pullman pan open.



Sweet Stiff Starter 

• 53g bread flour 

• 24g water 

• 18g light brown sugar 

• 18g sourdough starter ~100% hydration 


Tangzhong classic 1:5 ratio

• 89g milk (adjusted down to 1:5 ratio from original)

• 18g bread flour   


Dough Dry Ingredients 

• 360g bread flour or 330 g and use 30 g to mix with butter

• 59g sugar

• 7g salt 


Dough Wet Ingredients 

• 139g milk 

• 59g egg beaten (about 1 ⅕ of a large egg)

• 67g room temperature butter

Total flour = 431 g


Total weight 899 g


Pre-bake Wash 

• 1 egg beaten

• 1 Tbsp milk


Post-bake Wash 

• 1 Tbsp butter





Mix the starter ingredients in a jar or pyrex container with space for at least 100% growth.  At room temperature, it typically takes 7-9 hours for this sweet stiff levain to be at peak.


In a sauce pan set on med-low heat, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool in the pan or, for faster results, in a new bowl.


In the meantime, mix butter with 30 g of flour, this will make the butter much easier to incorporate into the dough for mixing by hand or by machine.




Mix the following in a bowl, milk, egg(s), sugar, salt, tangzhong and stiff levain to combine and dissolve/breakup the stiff levain.  Add bread flour and knead until good gluten development.  Then gradually add the butter flour mixture until fully combined and full gluten development.  The dough should pass the windowpane test.


Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, form it into a ball, flip it smooth side up, cover and let rise for 6-12 hours depending on room temperature. If you refrigerate the dough, plan for longer rise times.  I did cold retard for 26 hours.


Prepare your pullman pan by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper.  Transfer the dough to the countertop and divide into four equal parts rounding each into a small boule.  One by one roll each dough ball into a long rectangle and do a letterfold.  Turn 90* then roll out again into a long rectangle.  Finally, roll into a tight roll.  Once you have rolled each dough ball into a roll place them into the pullman pan so that their swirls alternate.


Cover and let proof for 2-4 hours (more if you put the dough in the refrigerator).  I proof until the top of the dough comes to within 1 cm of the top edge of the pan.


Preheat the oven to 350ºF and brush the dough with the egg-milk wash.  Just before you place the dough into the oven brush again with the egg-milk wash.


Bake at 350ºF for 50 mins rotating halfway through.  Keep an eye on the crust and be prepared to shield it if it is getting too dark.  After 50 mins of baking take the bread out of the pan and place it back into the oven for another 5 mins to crisp up the crust.  Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.  Enjoy!






Kistida's picture

Very beautiful bake, Benny! 

Benito's picture

Thank you Christi, this loaf got crazy tall, I hope it isn’t under fermented especially since it is for friends.  I guess we’ll know later today.

Happy Baking


SunnyGail's picture

Very inspiring, as usual Benito!! Looking forward to seeing the crumb if you can sneak a shot or 2...:-)

Benito's picture

Gaelle, thank you.  I’m glad my friends enjoyed this loaf, you never if people will like your baking so it’s great when they do.


SunnyGail's picture

Is it really sweet (like a brioche for ex)?

Would it work  with a regular starter or do you have to make a special sweet one for those type of breads?

Benito's picture

The verdict from my friends is that it isn’t that sweet.  You can make it with a regular levain for sure.  However, this is what Kristen of Full Proof Baking said about sweet levains: “Adding sugar I've learned does two primary things: it absorbs water from the doughy mixture (it is hygroscopic) and therefore reduces water availability to the microbes in the sourdough culture (which puts selective stress on the acid-producing bacteria but not as much stress on the hardier yeast populations). It also provides more simple sugars to the yeasts -- this makes way for a super charged, high rising starter!”

If this is true, it might partly explain why this bread has so little sour tang despite it being sourdough.  

SunnyGail's picture

So intriguing!! I'll definitely try it when I'm back in December! Thanks Benito :-)

Benito's picture

Here are the shots before the half the loaf was devoured with dinner.

Do you like their bread knife.  The serrated edge is the outline of the Swiss Mountains.