When I was a kid and first went to school, so very long ago, like 70 OMG years, the bigger kids quickly taught me some very naughty things. In those days bread was delivered daily, except for Saturdays and Sundays and was left in a tin or bread crock at your front door. Walking home from school was always an adventure from stealing mandarins or any other fruit that might have been in season, to terrorizing old spinsters living alone in huge houses, to God only knows what else. My fave was eating out the middle of the bread loaf and putting it back in the tin, so the the broken end was hidden. You had to be quite sneaky, but despite knowing that there would be cake when we made it home to Grans, starving hungry after school, that squishy white bread was irresistible. Those where the days when a neighbour could give you a halfhearted belting and your parents would confirm that it was well deserved, even make you give up your pocket money for the equivalent cost of what you had stolen! I often think that kids of today just miss out on so much adventure being dropped to and picked up from school…maybe an old person’s point of view?

Having worked with several fantastic bakers over the years I have learned not to take yeast too seriously. One who was always late for work thought nothing of shocking the yeast with hot water to get it going and didn’t take much notice of proving times despite having commercial proving boxes and fantastic commercial ovens with plumbed in adjustable steam.

As a result, I’m slightly blasé with bread making and yeast thinking there is always some sort of save at my fingertips. However, to get that squishy soft bread texture of the Hokaido bread, in a perfect square loaf this is a bread that requires every proving time to be observed.

I find this restaurant obsession of making round Japanese sandos wasteful/ridiculous…I mean, just how many buckets of fresh breadcrumbs can a restaurant use? We do cut the crusts and they make excellent breadcrumbs.

Domestic ovens have come ahead in leaps and bounds but I find making 2 small tins is better than than a double sized tin. If you’re lucky enough to have steam with your oven refer to your manual a little initial burst of 5-10% steam for 5 minutes is always useful.

AO 23 OCTOBER 2023


makes 1 loaf [2 or double size tin]
tin size – 205mm x 115 mm x 110 mm deep

for the Tangzhong
80g [160g] full cream milk
80g [160g] water
31g [62g] flour

for the bread
120g [240g] full cream milk
7g [14g] dried yeast
10g [20g] sugar [1]
20g [40g] full cream powered milk
1 egg [2]
1 [2] Tangzhong
350g [700g] flour
5g [10g] fine sea salt
60g [120g] unsalted butter, very soft but not melted
very soft unsalted butter for the tins
flour for dusting the tin

keep paying attention

for the Tangzhong
Can be made the day before and refrigerated but best brought up to room temperature before using.

Weigh the milk and water into a small saucepan and then whisk in the flour and continue whisking until it is lump free. Cook the mixture, stirring and scraping constantly using a silicon spatula until it boils. It should be thick and come cleanly away from the saucepan.

Scrape into a small bowl, contact cover with Freezer-go-Between to stop it skinning up and stand it on a rack to cool.

for the bread
This is a very soft/wet dough and we use the Kenwood creaming paddle rather than the dough hook.

Weigh the milk, yeast, sugar and powdered milk into your mixing bowl and whisk together. Set to one side until it starts to bubble. In a cool kitchen about 30-40 minutes.

Add the egg and Tangzhong and mix together. Sift in the flour work for a minute and then add the salt and continue beating the dough on low speed for about five minutes. Add the butter and work in. Set a timer for ten minutes, maybe scraping the sides down once. Detach and drop the creamer beater into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel.

The dough will go from shaggy to smooth and shiny…..refer to video below. Set a timer for an hour. Unless it is a stinking hot day, and your kitchen is above 30°C this should be about doubled…prove until it is.

Knock the dough down with the beater and beat on low speed for another ten minutes. Butter and flour your tin[s]. Scape the dough into your tin, cover with the lid and set a timer for an hour. About 15 minutes before your timer goes pre heat oven to 180°C…the dough should be about 15mm below the edge of the tin.

Cook for 40 minutes the loaf should be nicely coloured and coming away from the edges of the tin. Invert onto a rack and allow to cool. Try to resist the temptation to cut the crust off, slather it with butter and Vegemite [only if you’re Australian]….it spoils the loaf.


a. The base for this recipe was found online and has been made three times to get it just right. The first loaf, not having any focus, I mistakenly forgot to put the Tangzhong in at the beginning and then put a double batch in, at the end. Amazingly it was still pretty good but way too sweet.

b. There’s a lot of kerfuffle about rolling the dough and putting it in four rolls into the tin. Great if you want to break them apart but, lousy if you want to slice the bread.


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