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Feb 16, 2024

Black Sesame Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread with Yudane)

This black sesame shokupan (Japanese milk bread) is soft and fluffy. It's ideal for breakfast toast and sandwiches. 

Black Sesame Shokupan slices with a partial loaf.


With a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, this bread smells heavenly. You'll love spreading the first slice with soft, salted butter and devouring it then and there. 

This bread is soft and squishy and stays fresh for days because of the magical yudane in the dough. 

Whole loaf of Black Sesame Bread.

If you're looking for a fabulous bread for sandwiches and toast that is soft and flavorful, this Japanese milk bread will make you very happy. 

What is Shokupan?

Shokupan is a Japanese milk bread that uses a yudane to help make a soft and fluffy bread that stays fresh longer. It's kind of the Japanese verson of Wonder Bread, only way better. 

The yudane method involves taking about 20 percent of the flour in the dough and combining it with boiling water and kneading both together. The heat from the boiling water gelatinizes the starch in the flour to help keep the moisture in the finished bread.

It's similar to using a tangzhong but with a tangzhong, you create a "roux" by cooking liquid and flour together to 149 degrees F, let it cool, and then add it to the dough. Typically, the ratio of flour to liquid in a tangzhong is around 1 part flour to 5 parts liquid, and the tangzhong has a custardy consistency. 

Sections of Japanese milk bread torn apart.

Yudane vs. Tangzhong:

Both methods create the softest, fluffiest breads. I can't really tell the difference in the final result, but the yudane method is a bit easier. in that you don't need a thermometer to cook the liquid and flour to exactly 149 degrees. You just have to pour boiling water over flour and mix everything together. 

On the flip side, You do have to wait several hours (at least four and preferably more) before you can use the yudane. You can use the tangzhong as soon as it cools or save it for later. 

Japanese milk bread, made either way, is wonderful. 

Black Sesame shokupan slices

While bread is not necessarily traditionally Japanese, evidentally wheat (and bread) was introduced to Japan by the United States after World War II during a famine caused by a rice shortage. 

Japan has adapted many western dishes, including curry beef (from the British, who adapted it from India), beef steak, kare pan (curry filled bread), potato salad, and the egg salad sando (sandwich). 


Black sesame seeds: I usually keep a jar in my freezer and toast them just before using them. Once you've toasted them, give them a quick grind in a mini-blender, spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle. 

P.S.  If you are using them as a topping for bread, you don't need to toast them in advance because they will toast in the oven.

Bread flour: This will help you bread rise beautifully. 

White whole wheat flour: To add flavor and nutrition. You can also use spelt, kamut, or standard whole wheat flour. 

Ground flax seeds: These also add nutrition and structure to the dough. You can skip this ingredient if you don't want to purchase flax seeds. I keep a bag in the freezer. 

Brown sugar: I loved including brown sugar rather than white sugar to this dough. The flavor went so well with the sesame seeds. 

From your pantry: whole milk, butter, and salt. 

Japanese milk bread with a jar of black sesame seeds.

This bread was introduced to the Bread Baking Babes by my bread baking friend, Kelly, of A Messy Kitchen. She made an absolutely beautiful marbled version of this bread using a black sesame paste incorporated into some of the dough, so be sure to visit her post. 

Pan Size: 

I tried making this loaf in both an 8" by 4" and an 8 1/2" by 4 1/2" (1.25 pound) loaf pans. The first four photos are using the larger pan and the rest of the photos are from using the smaller pan. 

While the smaller pan seemed fine after the final rise, the oven spring was so amazing that I ended up with a pretty crazy loaf. I should have known because this always seems to happen to me when I make Hokkaido milk bread

If you use all purpose flour, you'll probably get away with using the smaller pan, but if it goes crazy, you'll have amazing bread, even if it's a bit lopsided. 

Black Sesame Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread with Yudane) on cutting board.

Equipment You May Need:

While you can knead this bread by hand, if you have a stand mixer, you'll be happy that you have it because the final kneading is 15 minutes. My favorite all-purpose mixer is the KitchenAid 7-quart Pro. It didn't over heat or "walk" across the counter. It's great for cakes, cookies, and other baked goods, but it is still a workhorse with bread dough, including bagels

Storing this Bread:

Before cutting this bread, you don't need to wrap it until the second day. Once you've cut into it, you can keep this bread on the counter in a plastic bag for up to four or five days. 

You can also wrap and freeze this bread, either sliced or unsliced. I don't recommend keeping bread in the refrigerator as it will stale faster. 

Black Sesame Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread with Yudane) in bread pan.

Toasting the Sesame Seeds:

You can toast them in a hot skillet for a couple of minutes or bake them briefly on a baking sheet. Either way, stop toasting them the minute they become fragrant. I baked mine on a baking sheet at 425 degrees F in a toaster oven for four minutes. 

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are making Black Sesame Shokupan. Our host is Kelly! Be sure to check out her marbled and braided version. 

After the recipe, you can find the Bread Baking Babes' versions of this recipe. 

Black Sesame Shokupan partially sliced.

Black Sesame Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread with Yudane)

Black Sesame Shokupan (Japanese Milk Bread with Yudane)
Yield: 12 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 4 HourTotal time: 5 H & 30 M
This black sesame shokupan (Japanese milk bread) is soft and fluffy. It's ideal for breakfast toast and sandwiches.


For the Yudane
  • 75 grams bread flour
  • 68 grams boiling water
For the Final Dough
  • 210 grams bread flour
  • 90 grams white or regular whole wheat flour
  • 6 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon) brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons table salt
  • 16 grams (2 tablespoons) ground flax seeds
  • 225 grams (scant cup) cold whole milk
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds, lightly ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
For the Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar


To Prepare the Yudane
  1. Combine the flour and boiling water in a small bowl. Stir until just combined.
  2. Using your hand, knead the warm mixture until fully incorporated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
To Make the Bread
  1. Combine all if the dough ingredients with the exception of the butter and sesame seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the butter in pieces until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the sesame seeds and mix until incorporated.
  4. Mix the dough on medium (speed 4) for 15 minutes. The dough should be totally elastic.
  5. Place the dough into an oiled dough rising bucket, cover, and let rise in a warm spot in your kitchen until doubled, about an hour.
  6. Deflate the dough and divide into 3 equal portions. Spray a 4 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch bread pan with spray oil.
  7. Roll each piece of dough out into a long oval, fold each like a letter, and roll each out again. Roll them up into a coil and place them in the bread pan. Cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap.
  8. Let the dough rise again in a warm spot until doubled, about one hour. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Whisk together the egg wash ingredients and brush them over the dough.
  10. Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

4 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1 g

Carbs (grams)

27 g

Fiber (grams)

2 g

Net carbs

25 g

Sugar (grams)

4 g

Protein (grams)

6 g

Cholesterol (grams)

19 mg
yudane, milk bread, black sesame seeds
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The Bread Baking Babes Shokupan:

A Messy Kitchen

Bread Experience

Judy's Gross Eats

Blog from OUR Kitchen

Would you like to comment?

  1. I have never heard of yudane before. I learn so much from you. You truly are the queen of bread!

  2. The crumb is just gorgeous! Your loaf turned out absolutely perfect!

  3. Your loaf is gorgeous! So soft and fluffy and just look at the loft!

  4. Magnificent rise Karen, gorgeous loaf. This was my dad’s favored shape with the three balls.

  5. How beautiful. Look at that loft!! I bow down to you.

  6. Your loaf turned out beautifully. While I like the marbled version, I'm tempted to follow your lead and just use the toasted seeds next time.

    1. Hi Judy! I was really happy with this simpler version but I'm totally jealous of your black sesame tahini.

  7. I just made this bread but haven’t cut it yet. Not sure I did the coil correctly. Can you explain how you coil the bread? Thanks. Looks a little funny but smells amazing

    1. It might look funny because of the oven spring. This bread has a crazy rise in the oven! Coil is just rolling it up like a cinnamon roll.

  8. Can you explain how you coil the bread before the last rise? Never heard this term. Thank you. Cathy N

    1. It's simply rolling it up like a cinnamon roll. Nothing complicated. Hopefully, you bread worked out!!

  9. Hello from Australia! Just read about both the bread and you at Sally Newton's. Am here clapping - not a baker but . . . I could be, couldn't I !!! Am subscribing to learn anyways !!!

    1. Hi Eha! You could! I taught myself by reading and experimenting myself, including Sally's blog!


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