Milk Bread Recipe

Chef and recipe developer Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska says, "This milk bread makes [such] a beautifully impressive loaf you could even give a it as a gift." She also assures us that "the recipe is easy – the hardest part is waiting for it to rise enough for baking!"

How's that for the best of both worlds? A staple dish that's simple yet gorgeous. And of course one that simply tastes divine, too. "I think that milk bread is delicious just about any time," Sampson says. "We enjoy this loaf with our dinners but it's also fantastic for breakfast or lunch. I can just imagine how amazing peanut butter and jelly would be on this bread!" 

The milk bread also pairs well with meats, soups, salads, omelets, and just about anything else you'd care to try, whether used to accompany a dish or as part of the recipe itself.

So why is the recipe called "milk bread" anyway? No trick question here: It uses a fair amount of milk. You'll also need a stand mixer and a few other ingredients just about any decently well-stocked kitchen will have on hand. Let's talk through everything you need now, then get to the baking quickly, because given the approximately three hours you need to wait on this bread as it rises, time is precious!

Gather your ingredients for milk bread

As noted, there is nothing at all exotic about this recipe's ingredients; it's all in how you handle them. You'll need two and two-thirds cups of bread flour for the main loaf (here's what makes bread flour different than all-purpose flour), plus two tablespoons of bread flour for the starter paste. You'll also need a half cup of milk for the bread itself, plus another two tablespoons of milk for a wash used right before baking. Also set aside three tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of instant yeast, one-fourth teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of salt, one egg, and one-fourth of a cup of butter. Also be sure to get your stand mixer, loaf pan, a whisk, large and small mixing bowls, and a stove-top pan.

Make the starter paste and prep the yeast for your milk bread

To make the starter paste, add the two tablespoons of bread flour to a small saucepan and whisk in the water and milk. Then, cook this mixture over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until a paste is formed. The paste should be thick, with the whisk leaving a clean spot in the pan when it's scraped on the bottom. Scoop the starter paste into a bowl and set it aside to cool.

While the paste is cooling, melt the butter in a separate bowl and then stir the milk into the melted butter. Make sure the milk and butter blend is not hotter than 110º or so, and then add the active dry yeast to the same mix and stir to combine.

Make the though then give it a first rest before making milk bread

Put all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, and when the starter paste is cool, put it in the mixer bowl too. Now add the milk, butter, and yeast mixture, and the egg. Switch the mixer on (with a bread hook attachment) and knead until a smooth, shiny dough forms, which will take 2 to 3 minutes for most mixers. You need a thorough combination, but don't over mix.

Now, lightly grease another bowl, put the dough in and rotate it to coat with the oil, then cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 90 minutes or so until it's puffy and you can poke it and leave dents that stay in the dough.

Form dough quadrants then form loaf

Grease a nine-by-five-inch loaf pan, then get ready for the only (slightly) tricky part of the whole recipe. Once the dough has risen, gently press the air out of it, then divide the dough into quarters. Take one quarter of the dough and pat it out into a roughly three-by-five-inch rectangle, and then fold the short ends in — or in other words, lay the dough rectangle out horizontally and bring each side in over itself to the middle. Now, pat this same dough out again into a three-by-five-inch rectangle then roll it in on itself. Place this first piece into the pan. You'll want to repeat these steps with the remaining quarters of dough until the pan is filled.

Time for the second rest, then the wash, then baking your milk bread

Once all 4 dough pieces are in place, cover the pan with a towel (lightly dampened, ideally) and let the dough rise for another 90 minutes or so — the dough will get puffier again, but it won't really be doubled in size this time.

Now, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then brush the loaf with the 2 tablespoons of milk you reserved for the milk wash.

Then, bake your milk bread for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has baked through. "You can check the temperature of the bread on an instant-read thermometer," Sampson says. "It should read 190 degrees in the center of the bread."

And then, your milk bread is ready, and it's time to enjoy.

Milk Bread
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A delicious and gorgeous milk bread recipe that's great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and gift-giving. All you'll need is simple ingredients in a stand mixer.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Milk Bread
Total time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • 2 2/3 cups plus 2 TBSP bread flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP milk
  • 3 TBSP Water
  • 1 TBSP instant yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter
  1. Add the flour to a small saucepan and whisk in the water and milk, then cook, stirring over medium-low heat, until the paste is thick and the whisk leaves a clean spot in the pan when it's scraped on the bottom.
  2. Scrape starter paste into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Melt the butter and then stir the milk into it.
  4. Once milk and butter cool, add the active dry yeast to the mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Put the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  6. When the starter paste is cool, put it in the mixer bowl along with the milk, butter, yeast mixture, and egg.
  7. Mix and knead until a smooth shiny dough forms.
  8. Lightly grease a bowl, put the dough in, turn it to cover with oil.
  9. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 90 minutes or so.
  10. Grease a 9" by 5" loaf pan.
  11. Gently press the air out of the dough and divide it into quarters.
  12. Take one quarter of the dough and pat it into a three-inch by five-inch rectangle
  13. Fold both sides of the shorter ends of the dough in toward the middle and press it out into a rectangle again.
  14. Roll the flat piece up into a roughly rectangular shape once again and place it in the loaf pan.
  15. Repeat with the remaining quarters if dough.
  16. Cover the pan and let the rise for another 90 minutes or so; it will again be puffy but it won't change in size nearly as much this time
  17. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and brush the loaf with the milk wash.
  18. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until baked through.
Calories per Serving 496
Total Fat 15.6 g
Saturated Fat 8.6 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 74.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.8 g
Dietary Fiber 3.1 g
Total Sugars 2.5 g
Sodium 402.1 mg
Protein 15.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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