Corner Café

March 14, 2009

Japanese-Style White Bread Loaf 波特吐司

Filed under: Breads & Quick Breads — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,


Makes one 23cm x 10cm x 10cm loaf

350g bread flour
1 tablespoon milk powder
30g caster sugar
5g (1 teaspoon) salt
7g (2 1/2 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
150ml lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
30g butter, cubed

Water-Roux Paste:
20g (1 1/2 tablespoons) bread flour
100ml water
Water-Roux Paste:
Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 65ºC. It should have thickened to a paste at this stage, that is when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, place a cling wrap over the paste and leave until lukewarm, or room temperature, before using. (Alternatively if you don’t have a thermometer, cook as before until it just starts to thicken, then continue to cook for about 1 more minute before removing from heat.) This water roux can be kept in an airtight container after cooling in the refrigerator for 1 day if not used immediately. However DO NOT USE if it turns grey in colour, that means it has gone bad.

For the Bread Dough:
1. Prepare a 23cm (L) x 10cm (W) x 10cm (H) loaf tin. Sift bread flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add lukewarm water roux and mix in. Gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.)
2. Knead in butter until incorporated. (In many cookbooks, they mentioned that the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane, but it’s hard to achieve with hand kneading. I usually stop kneading when the dough sticks to the work surface and stretches like chewing gum when pulled!) Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Optimum room temperature for this first prove is 28°C with a humidity of 75%. To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.
3. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 5 equal portions. Form each into balls and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Roll out each dough piece to about 30cm long with about 10cm width to fit the loaf tin. Roll up from the short end like a Swiss roll. Place the five rolls into the tin.

Water-roux doughs before final proving.

5. Let rise until the dough has risen to fill about 80% of the tin. Optimum room temperature for this final prove is 38°C with a humidity of 85%.

Water-roux doughs after final proving.

5. Bake in preheated 180°C oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Taste: Soft white bread loaf that stays soft for at least 2-3 days
Consume: Best within 3-4 days
Storage: May be frozen to keep longer, defrost before serving
Recipe Reference: ‘波特吐司’ recipe from the cookbook ‘65°C湯種麵包’ by 陳郁芬


  1. Hi SD,

    I’ve read somewhere previously on this 65C Tang Zhong bread. Do you understand the science behind this, and can you share what this technique is about? Thanks.

    Comment by LT — March 14, 2009 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

    • LT,
      I don’t know too much about the science behind it, but what little I know was what I wrote in the ‘Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough’ post. It is basically to gelatinize the starch in the flour to allow the dough to absorb and retain more liquid, thereby keeping the buns/breads softer and fresher for a longer time period.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 16, 2009 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  2. Hi

    I tried your coconut buns and they came out very well, thanks a lot for the recipe and detailed instructions, they were so easy to follow. I have a question regarding the bread dough recipe used. Can I subtsitute the egg with something else? I want to make the coconut buns for my parents and maybe even use the same recipe for bread to make garlic buns but would like to avoid egg as my mother doesn’t eat egg. Please advise. Thanks and keep the recipes coming, we all love them! 🙂

    Comment by Cara — March 16, 2009 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  3. Cara,
    No worries.

    You may omit the egg in the ‘Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough’ recipe, just make up the liquid with more lukewarm water. By doing this you may change the texture slightly though.

    Comment by SeaDragon — March 16, 2009 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  4. I love all the bread recipes that you have here. Just one question tho, can I use wholemeal flour instead of white flour? Thanks.

    Comment by may — March 25, 2009 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

    • may,
      I’ve got a specific ‘Wholemeal Bread Loaf’ recipe using water roux you might want to try (I’ve not tried it myself):
      Makes two 1-lb loaves
      280g bread flour; 200g wholemeal flour; 50g caster sugar; 7g salt; 10g instant yeast; 60g egg; 140g milk; 120g water roux; 50g butter

      Do let us know the result if you try it, yeah?

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 26, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  5. Can I substitute active dry yeast for the instant yeast? If so, do I need to change the recipe at all? Thanks.

    Comment by christine — November 7, 2009 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

    • Yes, you can but you need to increase the amount to 1.5 times. You also need to dissolve the active dry yeast in some of the warm water first until bubbly then proceed as per recipe.

      The conversion for yeast is as follows:
      Fresh Yeast : Active Dry Yeast : Instant Yeast = 3 : 1.5 : 1

      Comment by SeaDragon — November 8, 2009 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  6. Hi,SD,
    I’ve tried ur recipe many times, and i like to use water roux.
    One time I’ve tried this recipe to make fried doughnut, why it wasn’t so soft after one day, please correct my recipe in (maybe there was baking powder in ingredient that the doughnut not soft?)
    One more question, how much water roux if i use 500 gr bread flour? Can u give me proportion between bread and water roux?

    Comment by lia — November 18, 2009 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

    • lia,
      I am not too sure too. I did try making deep-fried donuts using water roux before, and although very soft on the day, they were not as soft the next day as compared to the baked version. So not too sure if maybe they are not suitable for deep-frying. Don’t think baking powder will affect the softness, it just makes the the donuts rise more. As for flour to water-roux proportion, I would just use the same ratio as the recipe in this post.

      Comment by SeaDragon — December 5, 2009 @ 10:24 am | Reply

  7. Thanks for your answer.
    I put your site to my link list at my blog…I always follow your news

    Comment by lia — December 5, 2009 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  8. Helloooooo

    I bake this loaf yesterday…… i used all purpose flour ….the bread turned to be soft but heavey… i didnt also like the think texture of the bread….any advice?

    Comment by Marwa — January 17, 2010 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

    • Please don’t change the flour, you must use bread flour to get the light fluffy texture.

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 17, 2010 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks Dear 🙂

    Comment by Marwa — January 20, 2010 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  10. If I don’t have milk powder, can I eliminate that from the recipe? Thanks!

    Comment by Irene — February 28, 2010 @ 6:17 am | Reply

    • Yes, you may, but the flavour will be different without the milk.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 28, 2010 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  11. I tried this recipe and it was the best bread I’ve made so far. Loved the flavor and texture and it keeps well for a few days. My family really liked it. THANKS!

    Comment by Irene — March 21, 2010 @ 1:31 am | Reply

  12. Can I use this recipe in a bread machine? how to do it in a machine?

    Comment by lof — March 30, 2010 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

    • I don’t have a bread machine so I can’t tell you how to use it. I would suggest you only use the machine to knead the dough only and bake in the oven.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 3, 2010 @ 7:42 am | Reply

  13. Greetings SeaDragon
    Thank you so much for the recipe. Everyone I make it for absolutely love it. I was wondering how the final product would change if the dough was baked as a single large loaf instead of five separate rolls. I would try it but I don’t have time for failure. Any suggestions. Thanks.

    Comment by kris — July 30, 2010 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

    • Should be no problem, still the same thing in the end because here although I’d shaped into 5 portions but they are still baked in one loaf tin.

      Comment by SeaDragon — August 1, 2010 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  14. Sorry I forgot to ask if this recipe can be doubled or tripled.

    Comment by kris — July 30, 2010 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

    • If you doubled or tripled, then I would recommend baking in two loaf tins or three loaf tins respectively. If you want to bake all in one large tin, I can’t give you an answer as I have never try it myself.

      Comment by SeaDragon — August 1, 2010 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  15. I’ve never heard of a water roux , but soun ds alot like a grain mash that i’ve seen in peter reinhart books. the scalding of the wheat allows the enzymes to break sugar chains out of the starch. the heat also partially gelatinizes the starches which lends a creamier texture to the finished product

    Comment by grammy bear — September 1, 2010 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  16. Hi may I know if the kneading can be replace by mixer?

    Comment by Jen — October 8, 2010 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  17. hi, i had tried your recipe yest. but results turn out not to my satisfaction. The bread is hard. Y? Could it be due to i add in fillings instead of making plain white bread?

    Comment by freedom — October 25, 2010 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

    • I have not tried adding filling for this recipe, so I really don’t know if that affect the result. But I think the problems are you did not prove or knead your dough properly.

      Comment by SeaDragon — October 29, 2010 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  18. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve casually made bread and pizza dough over the years, but up until now I have never created the soft white loaf that I’ve wanted. Today I made that loaf using your recipe. It was excellent. I’m now looking forward to seeing how well it ‘keeps’ over the next couple of days. Best wishes from Nelson, New Zealand…. Stephen Coote.

    You can see a picture of the loaf here:

    Comment by Stephen Coote — November 26, 2010 @ 10:36 am | Reply

    • You’re welcome. Your loaf looked fantastic, so evenly coloured and shaped!

      Comment by SeaDragon — November 29, 2010 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  19. HI SeaDragon,
    I made this, but my bread did not turn out as dense as yours – any suggestions as to why it happened?

    I am thinking of making buns with savoury fillings – eg char siew or curry puff fillings – would you suggest this same recipe, or do you have another bread recipe that’s specifcally suited for savoury buns?


    Comment by RL — January 28, 2011 @ 11:29 am | Reply

    • Hmm, I don’t quite understand what you mean. Do you mean your bread tuned out with a lot large air bubbles inside the bread? Check that you successfully made the water-roux paste, usually that’s the first problem, then make sure you knead the dough properly and prove them as directed accordingly.

      For Asian buns, use my Japanese Sweet Bun Dough recipe (the link should be under the Most Popular section in the side bar, as it is usually the most popular post in my blog).

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 28, 2011 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

      • Hi SeaDragon,
        Yeah, my bread has bigger air bubbles than yours.
        Will try again. WIll also try the jap sweet bun recipe soon 🙂

        Thks 🙂


        Comment by RL — January 30, 2011 @ 5:36 am | Reply

  20. This is a great idea and technology …
    I did and the result – beautiful and delicious bread.
    Thanks for this recipe, Best regards, Diana

    Comment by Diana — February 8, 2011 @ 5:19 am | Reply

    • You’re welcome. Your bread looked fantastic!

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 12, 2011 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  21. Hi,

    I work in a bakery for almost a year now, but i want to make changes in the Bread taste and buns. Please send me more information on this or comment so that i can improve.
    Japenese style bread is just good.


    Comment by Josephine Tata — February 20, 2011 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • Sorry, can’t really help you anymore than what I have written in the post as I’m just a amateur home baker myself. The recipe above is based on a Chinese cookbook.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 20, 2011 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  22. Hi SD,
    Sorry I took so long to get back with thThermomix adaptation…things got in the way. Anyway, here it is…only the method is different; everything else is the same as in your recipe.


    1. Place sugar into the TMX bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9. Pour out and set aside.
    2. Put water roux ingredients into the bowl and cook for 3 minutes at 70C at speed3 until mixture becomes a thick paste.
    Leave it in the bowl to cool a bit.
    3. Add the dough ingredients to the water roux in the bowl in the order listed. Return the icing sugar to the bowl. Mix
    for 30 seconds on speed 0-6.
    4. Then knead for 3 minutes on Interval speed. Dough will be sticky.
    5. Turn dough out onto a floured working surface, pick it up and throw it down 10-20 times to improve the structure of the
    dough, hand-kneading in between.
    kneading a few times by hand in between throws.
    6. When the dough is elastic and very soft (but not sticky, shape into a ball, place it in a large bowl and cover it with
    cling wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise until double in size.

    Then the rest follows the method in your recipe.

    Love your Japanes-style Sweet Bun recipe too1.

    Thank you again. Hope you have readers who have the Thermomix and will find my adaptation useful.

    The rest is

    Comment by peggy — February 21, 2011 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

    • Thank you so much for sharing your Thermomix method 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 27, 2011 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

  23. I live in Melbourne too, SD

    Comment by peggy — February 21, 2011 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  24. I used whole grain bread flour and it turned out spectacular. Best I have ever baked.

    Comment by Rocky — August 2, 2011 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  25. nice buns nice and soft

    Comment by Paul-Margaret Williams — August 4, 2011 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  26. Thanks for posting this recipe. The Water-Roux Paste is the first stage of making choux pastry. By making the roux you encorporate more water into the flour than normal. When it bakes the water turns to steam and creates rise and air pockets. With choux pastry you use eggs as the leavener. With bread you have the yeast.

    Comment by Matthew — November 16, 2011 @ 6:37 am | Reply

  27. Hi, could you write a blog post on how to knead a bread dough?
    Thank you

    Comment by Andrea Tan — December 28, 2011 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

    • It would be difficult to describe in words as it is a technique, however there are already plenty of youtube videos out there where you can watch the technique of kneading.

      Comment by SeaDragon — December 30, 2011 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  28. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My website is in the very same area of interest as yours
    and my visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks a lot!

    Comment by my site — June 25, 2012 @ 1:59 am | Reply

    • As long as you credit them back here, it is fine.

      Comment by SeaDragon — June 25, 2012 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  29. Hi!
    I tried the “Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough” recipe and it was a great success!
    Now, I’m thinking of making some braided bread, something similar to this one:
    I’m not sure which recipe shoud I use? the one posted here or the Sweet Bun Dough?
    I thought of using this one, but I noted that the bread will be baked in a baking sheet – no sides of the pan to support it. Is it ok?
    Can you, please, give me your advice for what to do in this situation?
    Thank you for the great recipes!

    Comment by Jasmine — August 16, 2012 @ 11:36 am | Reply

    • I have had a look at that recipe and they used an enriched dough to make the braided bread, so I would go with the sweet bun dough first as that is also an enriched dough, just not as rich as the challah. I have previously done filled braided bread successfully using the sweet bun dough too. However I think this bread loaf recipe should work as well if you want to try it.

      Comment by SeaDragon — August 16, 2012 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  30. Hi. My bread rose beautifully. But it does not brown on the sides like yours. I used cooking spray on my tins. Any ideas why?

    Comment by Norsie — November 6, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

    • Hmm, not sure as I have never used cooking spray when making bread.

      Comment by SeaDragon — November 29, 2012 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  31. Hi SeaDragon,

    Is this an egg free bread? I didn’t see egg in the recipe..
    I have previously baked the jap style sweet buns with much delight from my family. And now would like to bake some loaf bread for them and found this recipe.
    Also, as I had left over water roux, I used 120g of cooked water roux instead of cooking as per required in this recipe. Is 120g water roux same as 20g bread flour cook with 100ml water?
    Thank you for your reply.

    Comment by Lynn — November 21, 2012 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

    • No egg in this recipe.

      Yes, you can use 120g although strictly speaking by cooking 20g bread flour in 100ml water, you are going to lose a bit due to water evaporation during cooking, so you will actually get a bit less water roux.

      Comment by SeaDragon — November 29, 2012 @ 8:43 pm | Reply

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