3cupsbread flour360g - reserve two tablespoons for when kneading
2 ¼teaspoonsinstant yeastabout 1 packet
¾cupsoy milk not hot – warm to touch ranging between 110°F to 120°F180mL (or any non-dairy milk)
⅓cupmelted vegan butter69g
Vegan Egg Wash
3tablespoonsunsweetened vegan milk(44mL) (or any non-dairy milk)
1teaspoonmaple syrup or agave syrup(6.75g) use only ½ teaspoon if you don't want any extra hint of sweetness on your bread
½teaspoonregular mustard, (2.5g) or dijon mustard
After Baking Brush On
some melted vegan butter, or a simple syrup mix if you want it sweetsimple syrup by melting down 1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon water until mixed
In a small pan, whisk together the bread flour, vegan milk and water until mixed together. Add the pan to the stove over medium high and stir until the mixture thickens up which will happen quickly, within 1 minute or 2. It’ll look thick, almost like a pudding or a slurry. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes in the fridge. I like to do this first while I’m assembling the rest of the ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the bread flour, sugar, instant yeast and sea salt. Whisk the ingredients together.
Create a well in the centre of the flour. Slowly add the warm milk, vegan butter and Tangzhong mixture from earlier to the dry ingredients, and then mix together with a spatula until JUST incorporated. The dough should look shaggy.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit for about 10 minutes to rest and allow the ingredients to absorb together.
Using your dough hook, knead the dough for 15 full minutes on medium (speed 4 for a Kitchenaid). You can pause halfway for a minute or two to scrape down your bowl.
The dough might be sticky at first, but you can add up to 2 tablespoons of flour while kneading about 5 minutes in to make it easier to manage. You want the end dough ball to be smooth, with slight dimples with a bit of tension formed. Stretch the dough up and onto itself and pull/roll into a smooth ball.
Lightly grease the bowl of the dough with some additional oil and place the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it sit for at least 1 hour to 90 minutes on the counter in a WARM area. If your kitchen is too cold, you can place it in your OFF oven with the pilot light on which will provide enough residual heat for it to rise. The dough should rise and double in size.
Punch down the dough. Pull the sides in on each other and fold over the dough a few times.
Weigh out your dough, and divide into 4 equal balls. Pull and roll the balls tight, then cover with a damp towel or paper towel and let that rest for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, place one dough ball onto a floured surface. Using your rolling pin, gently roll it into a log, pressing out all the air bubbles. Get it smooth and flat, into about an 8” x 4” rectangle (roughly). Fold the two ends over and onto each other. Turn the dough 90 degrees, and roll out again (you are creating layers by doing this). Shape your log into 4 inches wide now. While rolling and tucking, roll into a 4 inch long log.
Butter an 8 ½ x 4 ½ loaf pan, and place the first log, seam side down, into it.
Repeat the same for the other 3 balls, placing side by side in the loaf pan.
Cover again with a damp towel and allow to rise for about 45 minutes until the dough crowns the top of the loaf pan.
You can also begin preheating your oven to 350°F/180°C within the last 15 minutes so it’s ready when they’re done rising.
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the vegan egg wash - the extra milk, agave/maple syrup and mustard. Brush your “humps” generously with the mixture.
Bake your bread for 30-35 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove from the oven. If they begin to brown too quickly, cover with foil in the last 5-10 minutes.
Remove the from the oven and brush immediately with melted butter or a simple syrup if you want it sweet. After 10 minutes, remove from the pan and let it cool completely on a wire rack before pulling the 4 pieces apart. You can also slice into slices. Enjoy!
How to store: When wrapped well, this bread can be stored at room temperature for 5 to 7 days.How to freeze: You can freeze a loaf of Japanese milk bread for up to 3 months. Let it thaw at room temperature before serving.