Square Shokupan Recipe (Tangzhong Milk Bread In A Pullman Loaf Tin)

When I say square shokupan, I really mean rectangular shokupan. But it doesn't have the same ring to it (and at least the slices are square-shaped).

If you think this recipe is familiar, it's because I made it a couple of years ago under 'tangzhong milk bread'. Tangzhong milk bread and shokupan are essentially the same – the former is simply the Chinese name and the latter the Japanese name. Both are made with a flour and milk paste to keep the bread moist and fluffy – called 'tangzhong' in Chinese and 'yudane' in Japanese.

I use 1 tsp instant yeast in this recipe. If you want to use dry active or fresh yeast like I did with my original tangzhong milk bread recipe, double it to 2 tsp or 10g, warm up the milk and double cream from the main bread ingredients a little, and mix it with your dry active/fresh yeast along with 1 tsp sugar taken from the 'main recipe' sugar. Let it rest for a couple of minutes until bubbling and add it to the rest of your bread ingredients.

You'll also need a lidded 450g Pullman loaf tin. The trick to getting the perfect loaf without the dough overflowing through the gaps of the lid is in the second proof. When the dough is rising after you place it in the tin, some instructions say to put the lid on, and wait until the dough is touching the lid. However, I find that it rises too much this way and results in overflow. Instead, I cover the top with clingfilm so I can see what's going on, and put the lid on once the dough's about 1cm from the top before popping it in the oven.

You can also watch me make this on YouTube:

Ready? Let's go.

Ingredients for Tangzhong/Yudane:

25g white bread flour
100ml whole milk

Rest of the Bread Ingredients:

370g white bread flour
75g caster sugar
100ml whole milk
25ml double cream
1 tsp instant ('easy bake') yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt


1. To make the tangzhong, gradually whisk the milk into the flour in a nonstick pan so there are no lumps. Switch the heat on to a medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until super thick like a paste. Remove from the heat and tip onto a plate, covering with clingfilm to cool completely.

2. To make the bread, simply stir all the ingredients (including the cooled tangzhong) together in a bowl, switching to your hands when it becomes tough to stir with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is no longer gooey and sticky and is instead smooth and elastic.

4. Pop the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel. Let it proof until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to two hours, depending on how warm your room is).

5. Punch the dough back down. Oil your work surface, and spread the dough out into a large square shape. Fold it into thirds like a booklet, then roll the resulting rectangle up into a sausage.

6. Oil the insides of your Pullman loaf tin (including the inside of the lid). Roll the dough sausage so it matches the length of the tin, and pop it in the tin.

7. Cover with clingfilm and leave to proof a final time, until the dough almost reaches the top of the tin with about 1cm to spare (the second proof is usually faster than the first). While you're proofing, preheat the oven to 180°C – don't wait until the second proof is over as the dough will continue to expand.

8. As soon as the dough is about 1cm away from the top of the pan, slide the lid on, place the tin on a baking sheet and pop in the oven.

9. Bake for 45 minutes, and remove the bread from the tin immediately (wear oven gloves, it'll be hot!). Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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