Hokkaido Milk Rolls

Indulge your family and friends this holiday season with the softest, fluffiest and most delicious dinner rolls ever. I guarantee.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

Rolls have never (Yes, NEVER) appeared on my family’s dining table.

For one, growing up, my family didn’t have an oven. Two, it’s uncommon to eat rolls with our meals.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

So to me, rolls were a specialty. Something I only get to eat at steakhouse restaurants (which is a rare affair). Birthdays…. Anniversaries… Straight As… Yes, we’re Asians after all. 🙂

Little did I know it was a regular affair in the Western world.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

I love rolls. They’re small and cute. They’re a good size for me to enjoy some carb but not too big that it fills you up. Of course, I don’t eat em with rice. That would be weird.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

I do have one pet peeve about rolls. Some of them can be hard as a brick. Like if someone would to throw one at me, it’d knock me out cold and leave me bleeding to death.

Death by rolls.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

All this drama ends here with this delicious Japanese Milk Rolls which employs the tangzhong method where a pudding like roux (made up of flour and milk) is first cooked and then added to the rest of the ingredients for the dough.

This small extra step is all we need to make the most amazingly soft, fluffy & pillowy rolls. Best part, it continues to stay soft after a couple of days unlike regular homemade rolls.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.


1. To read in depth about this TangZhong method or how to easily convert any bread recipe to make soft, fluffy bread, click here.

2. The rolls are shaped this way to increase height and fluffiness to the rolls. If you’re pressed for time, just shape them into balls, let rise and bake. They won’t rise as high but they’ll still be soft and fluffy.

Hokkaido Milk Rolls - This will be the last dinner rolls recipe you'll ever need. Amazingly soft, light & fluffy. I guarantee.

Lastly, if you haven’t already check out my last post One Pan Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce. A classic Malaysian dish, chicken is seared & braised in a thick spicy, sweet sourish sauce made of a flavorful spice paste & tomato sauce. All in one pan!

If you like what you see, don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter to get the latest post updates. See you there!


Hokkaido Milk Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Hokkaido Milk Rolls is the softest, lightest & fluffiest rolls ever. I guarantee.
Recipe type: Bread; Rolls
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 12 rolls
  • Tangzhong
  • 3.25 oz milk
  • 0.65 oz bread flour

  • Dough
  • 5.25 oz warm milk
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2¼ tsp (1 pack) active dry yeast
  • 12.1 oz bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large room temperature egg
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter, softened

  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Activate Yeast : In a small bowl, add the warm milk, sugar and yeast. Give it a stir and let sit for 10 minutes. This is to activate the yeast.
  2. Tangzhong: In a small pan, over medium low heat, combine the milk and flour. Whisk until the consistency's like a thick pudding. It takes a couple of minutes. It's ready when the temperature is 149 F or line streaks stay visible. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Make Dough: In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Crack the egg in, add the yeast mixture and the tangzhong. Stir until it comes together.
  4. Knead: If kneading by hand, turn it over a work surface and knead for 5 minutes. You may need to keep work surface and dough lightly floured if dough is too sticky. Add the butter and continue to knead until butter is well incorporated another 7-10 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Add the butter and knead for another 5-8 minutes. After adding the butter, the dough hook may not be able to pull up the dough stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Scrape it up so that the dough is evenly kneaded. To know if dough is ready, dust some flour on the dough and poke it. It should spring back immediately.
  5. First Rise: Allow the dough to rise (covered) in a warm, draft free place for 1 - 1½ hours or until double in size.
  6. Shape: Punch all the air out and knead the dough a little. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and shape each into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it becomes a long oval. Fold one side (lengthwise) into the middle and then fold in the other side. Use a rolling pin and flatten it. Now, roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seams. Place it seam side down on a greased 13" X 9" pan. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  7. Second Rise: Cover with a clean cloth and let rise again for 1 - 1½ hours or until double in size. 30 minutes before the rolls are ready, preheat the oven to 375 F.
  8. Bake and cool: When the rolls are ready to bake, brush the top with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the rolls from the pan immediately and let it cool on a wire rack. If you want shine on the rolls, rub freshly baked rolls with butter. Rolls can be kept in room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days.
1. Rolls (will stay soft) can be kept over the counter for 2-3 days. If keeping longer than this, wrap tightly with aluminum and place in the an airtight container/bag in the freezer (not the refrigerator) for 3-4 weeks max.

2. Reheating Rolls (rolls must be in room temperature): Preheat the oven to 300 F, loosely wrap the rolls with aluminum foil and bake for 5 - 10 minutes or until heated through. Take heed not to overheat or it will come out drier than before. If baked rolls were from the freezer, loosened the tightly wrapped foil and thaw overnight on the counter top to bring them to room temperature.

52 Responses

  1. Katherine

    Hi Ai Ping,
    I tried baking this bread today but was somewhat disappointing.

    I had to hand knead the dough as I didnt have an electric mixer, however that was fine. The results were 1. A very hard top to the bun. Ut wasn’t a soft texture like the buns i ve had.
    2. The inside was soft but still not the texture I was expecting.

    Trying to understand what went wrong. Is it the kneading? I used instant yeast which I had at home. I noticed it wasn’t very active, no bubbles or rise.

    My dough didnt rise either when I left it to rest for the full 1.5hrs and longer. Was it because of the yeast?

    Any insights is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • AiPing

      Hi Katherine. I’m sorry to hear that this was disappointing for you. If you’re expecting the level of softness like from the bakery or grocery store, then it might be difficult to achieve that.
      A hard top to the bun can be fixed by covering the buns with aluminum foil halfway. You can add milk into the egg wash so that the result isn’t as hard. I’m not sure what texture are you expecting for the inside. It should be fluffy and soft. If the dough didn’t rise, then yes the yeast is dead. Replace them with a new batch and see what happens. Not sufficiently kneading will also cause the dough not to rise and thus not having a soft and fluffy texture. Hope this helps.

      • Katherine

        Thanks Aiping for replying. I will try it again as I think several things can be improved. I usually like to review what went wrong in my head to try and figure out the steps taken etc.

        Some thoughts since that day…hahaha
        1. will test again with the yeast or may change completely with my sourdough starter instead.
        2. Don’t preheat the oven too early.
        3. Make sure the starter or yeast is strong and vigorous
        3. Knead more and check room temp. Where are you based? Singapore ?
        4. I noticed using the egg wash gave it that glow n sheen. I tried the water wash too but noticed the outcome wasn’t as nice.

        I shall keep you posted when I rebake this again…hopefully soon 🙂

        Thanks again for your help.


        (I’m expecting the soft and fluffy texture as mentioned in your post.)

  2. Kali

    Hi AiPing, I love how fluffy and soft the rolls turned out, however the outside of my rolls are on the hard side and are chewy. I’m wondering if it’s because I left the rolls out to cool too long, or maybe I did something else wrong. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • AiPing

      Hi Kali. I’m so happy you tried these rolls. As to why the crust of the rolls were hard and chewy. I can think of several factors that may be the reason.
      1. Leaving rolls out too long (like you mentioned).
      2. Not keeping the baked rolls in an airtight container.
      3. Oven too hot (different ovens though set at the same temperature may produce varying degrees of heat in the oven itself).
      Also, covering the rolls with foil the last few minutes of baking to avoid over browning (which may cause crust to be too hard), brushing the freshly baked rolls with butter or loosely covering freshly baked rolls with a clean tea towel may help.
      With that being said, though these rolls turn out real soft, they can’t be compared to the super soft ones in stores because the ovens used at home vs commercial ones are different and there is the addition of dough enhancers and additives in commercial ones to make them soft.
      I hope this helps.

  3. Susan

    I want to try these rolls that sound yummy. Can you tell me if it`s possible to do a double batch and freeze half of them?

    • AiPing

      Yes. You can bake either free baked rolls or unbaked (after 1st proof) rolls. Let me know if you have other questions. 🙂

  4. Hunakai

    Aloha, AiPing!

    I want to try these rolls, but don’t have a way to weigh my ingredients. Do you (or any of your readers, perhaps?) have measurements by tablespoons, teaspoons, and cups, rather than weight?

  5. Nathan Ganley

    I just made these today. They’re amazing! So soft, and fluffy, with the slightest little crunch on top. These will be a main stay in our house. 😀

    • AiPing

      Hi Nathan. I’m so happy you’ve tried and loved it. I myself can’t get enough of these rolls. So so good! 🙂

  6. Alex

    Can’t wait to try this! Quick question, your measurements for milk is in oz. is that liquid oz or by weight?

  7. Anne Murphy

    I’ve seen some really interesting things about that technique – and rolls are the perfect way to use it. (I love the way you – well – rolled to rolls… to give them the layers. Neat.) They look lovely!

  8. Levan

    OMG these rolls are so gorgeous!!!!! I live in Asia so this is very close to my tastes 🙂 THanks for sharing this!

  9. Boastful Food

    Thanks for sharing such a great recipe, AiPing! I always love having good bread recipe, makes me look like a rockstar even though I’m not the best baker:)

    • AiPing

      Lol. Armed with this recipe Raquel, you’re gonna be the best rock star out there. It’s just so so good. 🙂

    • AiPing

      Haha. Indeed, they would be good with anything. I actually eat soft bread/rolls with curry. Do you? 🙂 Happy new year to you too!!!

  10. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom

    Oh my gawd! These look so wonderfully pillowy soft! I’ve been dying to make these, so thank you so much for the recipe! I have family coming in today – I know my dad will love them (he’s the baker in the family).

  11. Sharon

    So brilliant!! I love soft rolls too, I hadn’t heard about the tangzhong method before, so interesting and thanks for sharing.

    • AiPing

      Oh, once you go tangzhong, you’ll never go back. In some ways, a curse really… but in a good way. :p

    • AiPing

      Thanks Amanda. I don’t know about professional looking but they’re definitely delicious. Can’t wait for you to try em.

  12. Kirstie

    These look beautiful! Question for you – you said they stay soft and lovely for 2-3 days. How do they stand reheating? If I wereto make them a day in advance, could I pop them into a warm oven for a few minutes to warm them up for dinner without sacrificing that nice soft texture?

    • AiPing

      Hi Kirtie. Thanks! 🙂 Yup, you surely can reheat them. Preheat the oven to 300 F, loosely wrap the rolls with aluminum foil and bake for 5 – 10 minutes or until heated through. Take heed not to overheat or it will come out drier than before. Enjoy!

  13. Mondo

    This looks so good! I saw it an instantly wanted to try it! I love the colour and how soft they look! Will defiantly give it a try, I hope mine turn out as good as yours. Thanks for sharing!

    • AiPing

      Dipping in curry’s totally a Malaysian thing. My husband looks at me funny when I do that. :p It’s sooooo goood though, right?

  14. Amanda@chewtown

    No joke, these look like the most incredible rolls I’ve ever seen! I’ve already pinned this for later use. So wonderfully shaped and colored I feel like I need to eat one immediately.

  15. Dini @ The Flavor Bender

    I saw this on FB and I knew I needed to make this… I use Tangzhong for bread rolls too, but it’s a sweet roll with raisins in them. It’s amazing how soft it makes bread rolls!
    I have such a weak relationship with bread rolls, I can’t stop eating them when they look as good as these! I love how shiny those tops look too AiPing!

    • AiPing

      Thanks Julia. Once you use the tangzhong method, you won’t turn back. I can’t do regular bread recipes anymore. :p

  16. Simon

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! They look truly awesome! Hope I can make them that beautiful one day!!!

      • Simon

        Thanks for the compliment but honestly… baking really is more difficult! It has to be much more measured and timed! But I like baking too!

      • AiPing

        In terms of measuring and all that, yeah it’s tough. But grilling, one needs to be one with the meat to get the perfect doneness and juiciness. Yum!

    • AiPing

      Yeah, I can literally sleep on em. Only I’d have too much butter on my face. But then again, it should moisturize it right? :p

  17. Shihoko

    Wow look so yummy fluffy and soft. I did not know Tangzhong method. Thank you for sharing the recipe. My new oven just got installed and just baked first muffin with the oven. Bread will be next!!