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vegan japanese milk bread buns
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5 from 4 votes

Vegan Japanese Milk Bread

Hokkaido-inspired coconut milk buns. Just a simple, fluffy, soft vegan milk bread with no weird ingredients. Great recipe for impressing your friends and fam.
Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Rest:2 hrs 10 mins
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Bread, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Servings: 8 buns
Calories: 280kcal
Cost: $0.13 per bun


Tangzhong (Water Roux)

  • 1/2 cup water 120 g
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour 45 g

Hokkaido Milk Bread Dough

  • 1/2 can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk 200 g; see Notes
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter or margarine 40 g
  • 1/4 cup sugar 50 g
  • 1 tsp salt 6 g
  • cups all purpose flour 325 g; see Notes
  • tsp instant yeast 10 g

"Egg" Wash *optional

  • 1 tsp warm water
  • 2 tsp brown sugar or syrup


  • Add tangzhong ingredients to a small saucepan. Set it on the stove at low heat and whisk until smooth. I used chopsticks but you can use, you know, an actual whisk. Once smooth, let it heat for about 5 minutes or until thickened (see video or pictures below), whisking occasionally.
  • Add tangzhong and coconut cream to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Keep the saucepan going on low heat. Add the vegan butter or margarine and let it melt, then turn off the stove.
  • Add the melted butter and the rest of the ingredients except the yeast to the bowl, then start mixing in the stand mixer using the dough hook.
  • When the ingredients are roughly mixed but haven't yet started coming together, add the yeast. We want to add it last to avoid the hot butter and tangzhong from killing any yeast.
  • Now let the stand mixer knead the dough for 12 to 15 minutes. (See Notes.)
  • The dough should now be soft and smooth. Shape into a ball and let it rest in the bowl, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  • After rising, the dough should be about 1.5x its original size. Take it out of the bowl and flatten into a big circle, pressing out any air pockets.
  • Slice the circle into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball (see video) and place into a round baking pan. Or a square one. Whatever you have.
  • Cover and let rise. After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
  • Optional: Mix the "egg" wash ingredients together in a small cup and gently brush onto the risen rolls.
  • Put your rolls into the oven at the 40-minutes mark. (My oven takes 10 minutes to preheat from cold. If yours takes longer, start the preheat a bit earlier.)
  • At 25 minutes, the rolls should be lightly golden. Turn off the heat and let the rolls sit in the oven for 10 minutes before removing to cool. Let rolls cool in pan for another 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.