Hokkaido milk bread is like the Japanese-version of a western brioche, only a bit sweeter and even softer. The bread is traditionally enriched with milk and butter, which we will be substituting for rich coconut milk and Earth Balance.

For many of you, who have visited Asian bakeries, milk bread should come as nothing new. It’s the basis for most of the pastries, from the famed pineapple bun to the notorious hot dog roll.

There are 2 unique factors about how the Hokkaido milk bread is made. First is that the dough starts with a roux called “taizhong.” Because part of the dough is precooked, it disrupts gluten structure thus resulting in a softer end product. Second, a loaf of Hokkaido milk bread is made from the spirals of several pieces of dough. I think the spirals add more layer-y goodness to the bread, but it also makes it fun to eat when you pull the bread apart.

The addition of charcoal is really for spectacle. I mentioned charcoal bread in my charcoal ice cream video. There is no flavor and is safe to consume. Because of the sweetness, the bread would be amazing for breakfast or in French toast, but the slight sweetness also pairs well in a savory sandwich.

Charcoal Hokkaido Milk Bread Recipe

(Makes 1 loaf)

Roux:

  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, lukewarm
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons charcoal powder (http://amzn.to/2lxdFlx)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg substitute - 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon oil, 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Directions

  1. Prepare the roux by mixing the flour and water in a pot and cooking it over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until mixture is thickened. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and sugar. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, prepare the substitute egg by mixing together the water, baking powder and oil.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and charcoal powder.
  5. In a mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment, mix together the yeast mixture, egg substitute, roux and the rest of the coconut milk until all is combined.
  6. Add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes.
  7. Slowly add in the Earth Balance butter until it combines with the dough. Increase speed again and continue kneading for another 10 minutes until dough is elastic. Cover dough and let rest for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
  8. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Form into balls. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  9. On a floured surface, roll out balls of dough until it resembles a long egg shape. Then fold in the left and right sides so that the edges are straight. Continue rolling out dough until it measures roughly 3 inches wide and 10 inches long.
  10. Roll the dough up forming a spiral. Place roll, seam side down, into a greased loaf pan. Continue with the other 3 balls.
  11. Cover the dough and let rest for another hour.
  12. Bake dough at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes.
  13. Brush top with Earth Balance.