Make Japanese style milk bread rolls with this easy milk bread roll recipe! These dinner rolls are soft, fluffy, moist, and just a touch sweet. They are perfect for your holiday dinner parties but also simple enough to make for an everyday meal.
Whisk together the milk and bread flour in a small saucepan until no lumps remain.
Place the saucepan over medium high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook and whisk until the entire mixture is like a thick paste with no loose liquid remaining.
Remove from heat and transfer the tangzhong to a small heatproof container. Cover and let it cool completely, or at least until the center is warm to the touch before using.*Refer to the post for a photo reference of how tangzhong looks.*
To make the dough:
Sprinkle the active dry yeast over the warm milk. Give it a little stir and set it aside to allow the yeast to dissolve and activate, about 3 to 5 minutes.
In the stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Give it a mix and add the cooled tangzhong, softened butter, and milk with dissolved yeast.
With the dough hook attachment, mix on low until the dough comes together. Then, increase the speed to medium high and knead until the dough is smooth, supple and passes the window pane test.*Refer to the post for the alternative knead-by-hand method and more details on the window pane test*
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to clean mixing bowl. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the dough proof in a warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
To shape the milk bread rolls:
Once the dough has doubled, deflate the dough and transfer it to a clean work surface. Portion the dough into 16 equal pieces for small rolls or 9 equal pieces for large rolls.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, knead the edge of the dough into the center to release air bubbles, then pull and tuck the dough to round it out into a ball. Place the dough ball into a lightly grease square pan (9x9) and repeat with remaining dough.
Cover the pan and let the rolls proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until almost doubled.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Brush the tops of each roll with egg wash and garnish each roll with a pinch of coarse salt.
Bake the rolls for 20 to 23 minutes or until they are golden brown on top and the interior temperature registers 190°F.
Let the rolls cool for a few minutes then remove them from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
Enjoy while warm or at room temperature with butter, jam, or as dinner rolls!
Tangzhong can be made up to 3 days before use. Just refrigerate it and keep it covered to prevent dry out.
These milk bread rolls are best eaten the day of. However, they will still taste great and have great texture, if stored in an airtight container, up to 3 days at room temperature, up to 2 weeks in the fridge, and up to 1 month in the freezer. Just microwave it until warmed so that they are soft and fluffy and again.
Do refer to the post above for tips, FAQs, and photo references for making these Japanese milk bread rolls!