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5 from 7 votes

Japanese Milk Bread Rolls

These are soft, fluffy, and feather light. Easy to make!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Resting Time2 hrs 50 mins
Course: bread
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: bread, easy, rolls, TangZhong starter
Servings: 8
Calories: 258kcal


For the TangZhong starter:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose ("plain") flour

Additions to the TangZhong starter

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Dry ingredients for the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For glazing and topping the rolls before baking them:

  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • Sesame seeds -- a sprinkling for each roll


  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the TangZhong ingredients: water, milk, and flour. Whisk well to smooth out any lumps. Set the pan over low heat, and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens -- about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Whisk in each addition to the TangZhong: milk, egg, melted butter, and yeast.
  • In a large (-ish) bowl, stir in the listed dry ingredients for the dough. Then stir in the TangZhong mixture. Stir until a shaggy dough develops. On a lightly-floured board, knead the dough by hand until it is elastic and fairly smooth -- about 5 minutes. Wash out, dry, and lightly grease the mixing bowl.
  • Form the dough into a ball, and place it in the greased mixing bowl. Then flip the dough to grease its underside. Cover with cling film, and then place in a warm location. Let rise until doubled (or nearly doubled) in volume -- 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Lightly grease a 9-inch-diameter cake pan. Gently deflate the dough. Then cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 4 equal size pieces to achieve 8 pieces total. Form each dough segment into a roll, and place in the prepared cake pan. Cover and let rise until the rolls fill the pan -- about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Brush the rolls with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water). Brush gently to avoid deflating the rolls. Top the rolls, if you wish, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are brown and beautiful -- 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before serving.


Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 313mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 249IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg