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  • Shokupan: The Quintessential Japanese Milk Bread

    Shokupan and shokupan tins

    The Baking Process:

    Preparing the Dough

    To create the perfect shokupan, it's essential to pay attention to the dough preparation process. Start by combining bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients until they form a shaggy dough, then knead it until it becomes smooth and elastic.

    Proofing the Dough

    After kneading, the dough needs to go through a proofing process. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm and draft-free area for about an hour. This step allows the yeast to ferment and leaven the dough, resulting in the important light and airy texture.

    Shaping and Baking

    Once the dough has proofed, it's time to shape it into the iconic square form of shokupan. Take the risen dough and gently punch it down to release any air bubbles. Divide the dough into equal portions and shape each piece into a rectangle. Then, carefully roll up the rectangle tightly, starting from one end. Place the rolled dough into a greased shokupan tin and let it rise again for about 30 minutes. Finally, bake the bread in a preheated oven until it turns golden brown.

    Here are some popular variations to inspire your baking adventures:

    Matcha Shokupan

    Infuse your shokupan with the vibrant and earthy flavors of matcha green tea. Simply add matcha powder to the dough mixture during the initial mixing process. The result is a visually stunning and deliciously fragrant bread that pairs well with a cup of tea or coffee.

    Chocolate Chip Shokupan

    For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate chip shokupan is a heavenly delight. Add a generous amount of chocolate chips to the dough before shaping and baking. As the bread bakes, the chocolate chips melt, creating pockets of gooey goodness throughout the loaf.

    Cheese-Filled Shokupan

    Indulge in the savory side of shokupan by incorporating a cheesy surprise inside. After rolling out the dough, sprinkle grated cheese onto the surface, then roll it up tightly. When sliced, the cheese creates a delightful stringy effect that complements the softness of the bread.

    here is our one loaf shokupan recipe:

    • Bread flour: 300g
    • Dry yeast: 6g (roughly 2 teaspoons)
    • Lukewarm water (~40 degrees Celsius): 210ml
    • Salt: 6g (roughly 1 heaping teaspoon)
    • Skim milk: 6g (roughly 1 tablespoon)
    • Sugar: 12g (roughly 1 heaping tablespoon)
    • Butter: 12g
    1. In a bowl, dissolve sugar, salt, and mix in the skimmed milk into the measured lukewarm water.
    2. In another bowl, take half of the sifted bread flour and mix it with the dry yeast. Add the first mixture to this and mix well. Then, add the remaining bread flour and mix roughly in the bowl to combine.
    3. Take the dough out on a platform and knead it until it doesn't stick. Then, add butter and knead well again. Spread it, fold it, and slam it on the platform (about 10-15 minutes). Once the dough can be stretched thin enough to see your fingers through it, the kneading is done.
    4. [First Fermentation] Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it ferment in a warm place (27-30℃) for 40-60 minutes (you can also use a microwave or an oven if they have the correct features). The dough is good if it rises to about 2-2.5 times the original size and when you poke the center, the hole stays.
    5. Take the dough out onto a platform and deflate it with both hands.
    6. Gently roll the dough, cover with a dry cloth, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
    7. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to the width of the shokupan tin. Fold both ends about 5cm inward. Then, roll the dough from the front to form a cylindrical shape and pinch both ends to form a shape like a straw bag. Put this in the baking mold (pre-greased) and lightly press the surface.
    8. [Second Fermentation] Ferment in a humid, warm place of 35℃ for 40-50 minutes. Once the dough has risen to 80% of the shokupan tin, lightly spray it with mist and put the lid on. Leave it as it is for about 15 minutes and the dough will ferment up to 90% of the shokupan tin.
    9. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for about 35 minutes. (Baking time may vary)
    10. Let the shokupan rest on a cooling rack and enjoy!


    Shokupan originated in Japan during the Meiji period. It was introduced by the British and quickly gained popularity among the Japanese population.

    Shokupan is square because it is traditionally baked in a square-shaped tin. This unique shape allows for even baking and creates the characteristic slices of square bread.

    While the traditional method involves using a specialized tin, you can still achieve a similar result by using a regular loaf pan. The shape may differ, but the taste and texture will remain delicious.

    Choosing the right shokupan tin mostly comes down to what size you like.

    The most common type is of course the traditional cube and rectangle, however more specialised shapes are becoming increasingly popular!

    We also have Shokupan tins with a thicker 0.7mm wall! This helps the Shokupan cook more evenly in the oven.

    No, but it can be! Traditionally, shokupan is not gluten-free as it is primarily made from bread flour, which contains gluten. However, there are gluten-free alternatives available for those with dietary restrictions.

    When stored properly in an airtight container, shokupan can stay fresh for up to three days. However, for the best taste and texture, it is recommended to consume it within the first two days.

    Yes, you can freeze shokupan. To freeze, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil and place it in a freezer-safe bag. When ready to enjoy, thaw the bread at room temperature or reheat it in a toaster oven.