My First Shokupan Adventure: Lessons from Baking Japanese Milk Bread

So, I’m a bit late to the shokupan (Japanese milk bread) game, but hey, better late than never, right? Despite overkneading the dough, underproofing during bulk fermentation, and overproofing during the second rise—I still ended up with a loaf that exceeded my expectations.

I’ve learnt a couple of things:

  1. Sokupan is Forgiving: One of the best parts about shokupan is that it’s very forgiving. So, if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world.
  2. Rescue Overproofed Dough: If you’ve overproofed during the second rise, don’t panic. Simply flatten and reshape the dough, and give it a third rise. (Avoid overproofing again, but if it happens, a fourth rise may be the charm.)
  3. Cool Before Cutting: Cooling the loaf on a rack before cutting into it is crucial. The bread’s center is so soft and moist that it can lose its shape if you cut it while still warm.

I used the Ninja Indoor Grill (on the Bake function) instead of a conventional oven. It perfectly accommodates a single loaf pan. Just remember to reduce the recipe temperature by 25-50 degrees. When the internal temperature hits 200°F, you know it’s ready.

I’ll definitely be giving this another shot, and once I’ve mastered the technique, I’ll be sure to share my recipe.