Soft Milk Bread Rolls

Super soft milk bread rolls stacked on top of each other and served on a wooden chopping board.
Soft and Fluffy Bread Rolls

Soft milk bread rolls are next level bread wizardry. I don’t know how I haven’t heard about them before now. They are originally from Japan and wow, the Japanese really know how to make good bread. They are so soft and airy and as far as bread recipes go, super simple to make. If you have a dough hook and a stand mixer, you can put everything in, sit back and watch but you can also do it by hand pretty easily, which I prefer. In the west they are called milk bread rolls and in the east they are referred to as Hokkaido milk bread.

Eight milk bread dough balls on a baking tray. Shiny and soft looking.
Soft and fluffy bread dough

You might be thinking why do I need condensed milk and what do I do with it? The best answer I can give is anything and everything. In the west we have Rice Krispie treats, creamy fudge and clotted cream biscuits (gorditas de leche condensada) and in the east you can make a lovely Philippine dessert called Ube Halaya and wash it down with a sweet Vietnamese coffee. Also, as you’ll soon find out from this recipe, you can make super soft milk bread rolls that are sweet and utterly delicious. They pull apart so easily and have a mouthwatering taste. Serve them with butter, chocolate spread or dip them into savory dishes to mop up sauces. Enjoy!

Eight freshly baked rolls straight out of the oven on a baking tray.
Freshly baked rolls straight out of the oven

Tips on making a great Soft Milk Bread Roll

  1. Use a thermometer if you have one. It will take the guess work out of baking the bread.
  2. Use the palm of your hand to roll the dough into a round ball. Gently roll it into a circle shape.
  3. Brush the warm baked rolls with a sugar syrup while they are still warm and sitting on the cooling rack. This will give them a sweeter taste but also give them a nice shiny exterior.
Soft Fluffy Bread Rolls served on a wooden board with butter. One roll cut in half looking very fluffy.

Soft Milk Bread Rolls

Author: Fiona Halligan
Soft milk bread rolls are next level bread wizardry. They are so soft and airy and as far as bread recipes go, super simple to make.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proofing Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Servings 8 rolls
Calories 238 kcal


  • Stand mixer with a dough hook


  • 140 ml Whole Full Fat Milk plus a little extra for brushing the dough
  • 7 g Instant Yeast
  • 30 g Granulated Sugar
  • 300 g Strong Bread Flour sieved
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 70 g Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter melted
  • 1 large Whole Egg beaten


  • Warm the milk in a saucepan or microwave for 20/30 seconds. You want it warm enough to activate the yeast but not to kill it. Roughly 38°C/100°F.
  • Once warm, add the yeast and a pinch of sugar.
  • Let the yeast activate for around 5 minutes. Once the yeast is activated you should see bubbles and it should look frothy on top.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.

Kneading & 1st Proof

  • Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10/15 minutes until the dough is smooth.
  • Test the dough by stretching a piece. It should be thin and nearly see through without ripping. The dough should still be slightly wet and a little bit sticky.
  • Rub some oil around the inside of a large bowl. Place the dough inside the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to proof (rise) for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

2nd Proof

  • Take the dough out of the bowl and knock the air out of it.
  • Split the dough into 8 even dough balls. Pinch the dough underneath itself and using the palm of your hand gently roll it on the table into a ball shape.
  • Lightly oil a tray or use parchment paper. Place your 8 dough balls on to it, spaced out evenly.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof for another 40 minutes or until doubled in size.


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F.
  • Lightly brush the top of the bread rolls with a small amount of milk.
  • Bake the bread rolls in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.
  • When they are done they should have a lovely golden brown color on top and if you are using a thermometer then it should read 90°C/190°F.
  • Transfer them to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy them warm with a good helping of butter.


  1. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature.
  2. If you prefer them warm, then pop them in a microwave for 10 seconds.
  3. Serve with butter or a clotted cream. Try them out with savory dishes as well to mop up the left over sauces.
  4. To “knock” back dough; this means to get the air out of the dough. You can do this by folding or punching the dough a few times.
  5. The milk for the yeast should be just above body temperature. If you have a thermometer then it’ll be easier to see. If the milk is too hot then it will kill the yeast.


Calories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 320mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 217IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Milk Bread Roll
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