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Japanese Milk Buns are soft and tasty dinner rolls perfect for eating on their own or with a pat of butter.
4.7 from 13 votes

Japanese Milk Buns

Japanese Milk Buns are soft and tasty dinner rolls perfect for eating on their own or with a pat of butter.

Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Keyword breakfast buns, dinner rolls
Prep Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 9 pieces
Calories 231 kcal
Author sanna


For the Starter ( Tangzhong)

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour

For the Dough

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk warm (105-115 F)
  • 2 tbsp whole milk powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp milk for brushing on the buns


Make the Tangzhong

  1. In a small pot, stir together milk, water and flour until lump -free. Cook over low heat while stirring continuously until the mixture is thick like a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

Make the Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the warm milk. Sprinkle the yeast and about 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast turned foamy. Add the sugar, milk powder, butter, egg, salt and the cooled tangzhong. Use a big wooden spoon to incorporate all the ingredients together. Add the flour and stir it into the rest of the mixture. Once the dough has gathered together into a shaggy mass, turn it over into a floured surface.

  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and soft.

  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes until puffy. Divide dough into 9 portions, shape each into a ball and place on a greased 9-inch baking pan. Cover the rolls and let rise again for  50 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface of the rolls with milk and bake at 350 for  15-17 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.