Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

We’re not super big “bread” people, but that might be because not all bread is as good as these Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls. They are truly outstanding, soft and billowy, tasty. They’re like “next level” bread.

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls


They’ve become kind of a tradition at our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and these are rolls that will have your guests taking notice. They’re going to be what’s remembered from your dinner. More than your turkey, more than your sides and probably more than your pie. As a matter of fact, when I was trialing these, we skipped dinner and just kept eating these rolls, they’re that good.

About Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls:

Oh, and don’t even think about using anything but butter on these, unless, perhaps, you’d like a bit of jam! Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls deserve butter and nothing less. No spreads, margarine or oleos on these, please! I feel like I shouldn’t even be mentioning those products on the same post as this wonderful bread!

What makes these rolls so special is a Japanese bread-making technique called Tangzhong – a bit of the flour is cooked with the milk into a kind of roux or pudding-like mixture. Then everything is dumped together and mixed and that mixture includes an added milk boost with some dried milk.

The result is fluffy, light and gorgeously flavored and textured rolls. They’re almost ethereal. If you’re a follower, you might remember the Kindred Milk Bread I made a while back using the Tangzhong technique. That bread’s delish, too, but much richer than these lighter dinner rolls. What can I say, I love both breads! 🙂 But with everything else at the table for a holiday, I think this one is a little better suited.

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

Making Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls:

With all the sugar and yeast in this recipe, they’re quick to make, rise and bake so this isn’t an all-day project but are probably best made all in one day. I made these once the night before and refrigerated them overnight to bake the next day. They really weren’t as light and this dough took forever to come to room temp, so I really wouldn’t recommend doing so. I didn’t save any time and didn’t like them quite as much.

This is originally a King Arthur flour recipe. If you’re a baker, you know how reliable they are. I did have a bit of difficulty at first, though, with the instructions. When I make bread, I’m used to adding flour until the bread forms kind of a “ball” in the mixer when it’s properly kneaded. This bread is almost like a batter and should be that moist. You’ll want it to hold some shape, but don’t expect a firm ball that’s springy.

Other than that, just follow the recipe; it pretty foolproof and you’ll have gorgeous bread in no time that’s gonna make you look like pro.

Saving Money on Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls:

And of course, I have a few money-saving tips: When you bring home flour, or any products with flour in them, freeze for three days or refrigerate for 30 to prevent infestations.

For the best pricing, buy yeast in jars and keep in the fridge or the freezer, and look for all these baking items on sale around any Holiday. They’ll be at the lowest around Christmas and Easter.

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls



Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

  • Author: King Arthur Flour
  • Total Time: 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hrs
  • Yield: 8 rolls 1x
  • Category: Breads
  • Cuisine: Asian



The “roux” or Tangzhong:

  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

The Bread:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) melted and cooled butter


The “roux” or Tangzhong:

Combine milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk together. Place over medium heat and whisk until the mixture thickens and “clean” trails are left behind as it;s whisked.

Remove from heat and cool. Mixture will cool faster if removed from the hot pan; it’s just as easy to transfer it to the mixing bowl to cool it.

The Bread:

To make the dough: Combine the tangzhong with the rest of the dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms. Don’t expect this to form a ball, it will be more like a batter that holds some shape and will be rather sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball by pulling the edges under and crimping or pinching together on the bottom. Place the dough on a very lightly floured counter and cupping it on either side with hands, use pinkies to pull the dough down and in as you gently turn it, tightening up the rolls.

Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9 to 10″ pan, a springform works well. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy and smoothly risen.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water), and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the middle roll should read at least 190°F.

Remove the rolls from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 8 large rolls.


To make a loaf: After the dough’s initial rise, divide it into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangle, then fold the short ends in towards one another like a letter. Flatten the folded pieces into rectangles again and, starting with a short end, roll them each into a log.

Place the logs in a row of four, seam side down and side by side in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover the loaf and allow it to rest/rise for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy. Brush the loaf with milk or egg wash and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190°F. Remove the loaf from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Keywords: Bread, dinner rolls, Eggs, Japanese, King Arthur, milk, milk bread, nonfat dry milk, rolls, Tangzhong

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I’m going to be sharing these marvelous rolls this week on our very own Throwback Thursday as well as Saucy Saturdays and Fiesta Friday! Fiesta Friday is hosted this week by Linda @ La Petite Paniere and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

I was thrilled to see these lovely rolls featured on Fiesta Friday!

apanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls are rich, light, billowy & insanely good! They rise & bake fast & you'll look like a pro when you bring these to the table. These are SO next level! #JapaneseMilkBread #JapaneseMilkBreadDinnerRolls #JapaneseDinnerRolls

48 thoughts on “Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #149 - Fiesta Friday

  2. HI Mollie! These rolls are so beautiful!! (and I’m sure delicious!). and thanks for the extra tips– that’s the kind of things you need to know to really make a recipe work! I’m so fond of bread– Hope I can make these soon!! I have everything but the dried milk. thanks!

    • Thanks, Rhonda! I’ve used dry milk before for bread but it has been years and year. I finally found it near the condensed milk in the baking aisle. I remember when I was growing up people used to mix it with regular milk to save a little money, but it sure didn’t seem too cheep to me! I guess it’s not longer a much used, every day item…

      • Yep, muy mom went through a powdered milk phase for us. Part of the post WWII food technology boom. But we never loved it. I’ll let you know how I do with the rolls. They really are beautiful! Have you launched into Christmas baking?? I’m going to try to copy some chocolate hazelnut cookies we had at a coffee shop up with SF this morning . It may be a big flop! we’ll see… Take care blog-buddy!! xo

  3. Pingback: Japanese Milk Bread Dinner Rolls — Frugal Hausfrau | theBREAD

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