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saffron milk bread

Saffron and cardamon infused milk bread

Japanese style tangzhong milk bread infused with saffron and cardamom. A fusion of flavours from the middle east and japan. adapted from two red bowls cook book A common table
1 from 1 vote
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese


  • Stand mixer with dough hook



  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp strong bread flour


  • 3/4 cup whole milk (plus 1 tbsp extra) about 185 ml
  • 1 gram saffron strands
  • 6 green cardamon pods
  • 2 and a half cups strong bread flour 320g
  • 1 7g sachet fast action yeast
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar 40g
  • 1 tbsp non fat dry milk powder or condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg plus one mixed with a tbsp milk for glaze
  • 3 tbsp softened butter


  • The night before, or at least two hours before baking
    (I have always made it the night before) : bash the cardamon pods lightly and place in a small sauce pan with the milk and saffron. bring the milk just to the boil. leave saffron and cardamon to infuse Set aside to cool slightly. remove the cardamon pods.
  • Now make the tangzhong: in a small sauce pan add the water and flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Heat over a medium/low heat whisking constantly until the mixture resembles a roux like gel, about 2 minutes. As soon as lines begin to appear in the mixture when it is stirred, remove from the heat and transfer to a small clean bowl and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  • Prepare the dough: When the milk is just warm and no longer hot, about 100f to 110f, sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar and milk powder and mix.
  • Once the yeast has foamed, add the egg and tangzhong and whisk together until well combined.
  • Turn your mixer on and pour in the liquid and start mixing with the dough hook. sometimes when i make this i find i need to Add 1 more tbsp milk now (different brands of flour can absorb liquid differently and even the method of storing flour can effect how much moisture it already has in it. you are looking for a soft dough so add more milk if you need to.
  • After the dough has been mixing for two minutes add the butter in small chunks a bit at a time and making sure it is combined before you add the next chunk. Turn the mixer up and knead for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • The dough should be well kneaded and no longer sticking to the side of the bowl showing that gluten has built up
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, so it has space to rise and cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night until it has doubled in size. (alternatively let is rise in a cool place for 2 hours)
  • The next day: remove the dough from the fridge. when I do this over night method I like to leave the bowl on the work top for 30 minutes so it can get back to room temperature, but I’m not sure that step is essential.
  • Shape the dough as desired. I rolled it out into a large rectangle and folded it in half and cut it into equal pieces and rolled it up and placed them in a lined baking tin. I also made some buns.
  • Leave to rise again for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 180c 350f. Mix an egg with a tsp of milk and brush the top of the loaf.
  • Bake for 30/40 minutes until golden brown, or an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle reads 200f (at 30 minutes it was quite brown so I covered the top with some foil so it didn’t burn.
Keyword cardamom, gingerbread, hokkaido milk bread, saffron, tangzhong