Today I want to share with you how to make “Shokupan” fluffy Japanese white bread.
“Shokupan” is one of the staple Japanese bread that you can find at any grocery store.
The size is the same, but it comes in varieties of thickness.
There is a funny story about the thickness.
Kanto region, including Tokyo prefer thin slices, Kansai region including Osaka, prefer thick slices. No one knows the reason why but both of them consider their “thickness” is perfect.
I like the thin slices although I live in Kansai region. BUT, who cares? Lol.
Shokupan comes in 2 types of shape, one is square, and the other comes in the rounded top like a mountain. It called Yamashoku. Yama means mountain.
Squared one is more moist and dense compared to mountain shape because we bake it with the lid. The moisture stays in the dough. Mountain shape Shokupan is lighter in texture. Perfect for toast. It’s up to you which one to choose.
We’d like to eat “Shokupan” at breakfast toasted, served with butter almost all the time. Sometimes we make a sandwich with Shokupan.
This recipe is very basic but you will definitely love it.
Makes two 8 inch-by-4inch loaves
625g (22 oz.) bread flour
30g ( 3 tablespoons) sugar
12g ( 2 1/2 teaspoons) salt
8g ( 2 teaspoons ) active dry yeast
450ml lukewarm （38℃/100℉）water
35g (3 tablespoons ) unsalted butter
- Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and yeast while mixer is By the way, you don’t have to proof the yeast before adding. I think it weakens the function before popping the bread into the oven.
- Add lukewarm water slow and steady stream.
- Knead for 6 to 7 minutes until the dough formed thin layer when it stretched.
- Add creamed butter. The dough should come back together after 3 to 4 minutes. The dough becomes elastic and stretchy when finished mixing. Grease the mixing bowl. Shape your dough into a nice round ball, and pinch the end. Place the dough into the greased bowl. Cover with a piece of plastic, and let it rise at a warm place (40℃/104℃) for 40 to 45 minutes.
- After 40 to 45 minutes, the dough should rise double in volume. If not, let it sit for 10 more minutes or as needed. Punch out the carbon dioxide form the dough, shape into a ball again, get it back to the bowl. Now it’s time to second rising. Leave it for 30 mins until the dough rises double in volume.
- We have to check the fermentation went properly by sticking your dusted finger. If the hall you have just created remain as it is, the procedure is perfect. If the hall is shrinking, it was a little bit too early. Don’t worry, we can make it up on the final fermentation.
- Take out the dough onto floured working surface. Divide the dough into 4. Two 280g balls, these are going to be square-shaped, and two 300g balls, these are going to be mountain shape.
If you don’t have a mold with a lid, divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
- Shape it into a nice round, cover with plastic, let it sit for minutes. This step is called Bench time or rest, to relax the gluten created by cutting.
- After the bench rest, let’s shape the dough to fit in the mold. Take one dough and flip it over. The pinched side is facing up, with your rolling pin, spread the dough until it stretches to 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick. Fold in 2/3 way down the dough, then fold the bottom to the upper Rotate the dough 90 degrees angle, roll up the dough with tacking and stretching motion to make the surface smooth.
- Before putting it in the mold, check the direction of the dough. What I mean by that is this. The left side of the dough should roll to the left, the right side of the dough should roll to the right. In this way, the dough will fully rise in the oven beautifully. Make sense?
- Cover with plastic and let it rise for the last time. It’s going to take 45 to 50 minutes, depends on the temperature. If your second rise is not enough, it might take longer.
Start heating your oven to 200℃（392℉）.
- For the square shape, when the dough rises 1cm below the upper edge it’s time to bake. Set the lid and pop it in the oven, then re-set the temperature to 200℃（392℉） for 35 mins.
For mountains shape, let it rise 1cm over the upper edge. Pop it in the oven for 35 mins. In the halfway, cover with aluminum foil to avoid burning.
- Take out onto the wire rack, leave until comes to room temperature. For the mountain shape, brush softened butter to make it shine.
- Slice as the thickness you like. Freshly baked bread is so fluffy and moist, I want to taste it as it is. My homemade butter is made from leftover fresh cream. It has a wonderful flavor.
Basically we live on rice, so we love the moist texture.
This is a typical western style Japanese breakfast. In the 1970’s, this type of breakfast came into fashion in Japan. Since then, Shokupan breakfast is kind of fixed breakfast like American eats cereal for breakfast. In fact, Shokupan breakfast is more popular than rice breakfast.
However, as I have shown in the traditional breakfast video, my family prefer Japanese style. To be honest with you, this is my everyday lunch! Why not? I hope you will give it a try!