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Healthier Sweet Milk Bread

Sweet milk bread is a moist and fluffy bread that uses warm milk paired with sugar and yeast to create its billowy texture. This bread is a hit when it comes to gobbling up with a pat of butter and a cup of tea.

fluffy loaf of bread on a cutting board

If you are new to bread making, this sweet bread is a great place to start.

Yeasty breads always produce a tall loaf that is sure to turn out as long as you use fresh yeast.

This is where I began when it came to bread baking. My fool proof crusty loaf is one of my favorite dinner breads and this sweet bread is perfect for breakfast or for a tea time snack.

When you master your hand at yeast breads, be sure to give my healthy sourdough french loaf a try or even my simple sourdough rolls that are exquisit!

loaf of bread in a glass loaf pan

What Is Milk Bread?

Milk bread is similar to white bread, except that you swap out warm water for warm milk, giving it that richness you hope for in a sweet bread.

This results in a flavorful, fluffy bread that is higher in fat content than regular white bread.

Milk bread was a standard staple in Asian countries before becoming popular here, and so you’ll sometimes see it referred to as Japanese milk bread or Hokkaido milk bread, after the chef who first perfected it.

fluffy loaf of bread on a cutting board

Why You’ll Love This Sweet Milk Bread Recipe

  • It has the thinnest, softest crust. If you have children that regularly leave the crusts uneaten on their plate, rest assured that that won’t be the case with milk bread!
  • Milk bread has such a soft texture. Sometimes, we need a change up from crusty sourdough. This soft bread is perfect for that.
  • This easy recipe uses only a few basic ingredients and bakes up into the perfectly moist, almost dessert like bread loaf.
  • While most recipes like this call for sweetened condensed milk, I use more wholesome ingredients to get the same result!
  • This would be a great recipe to use for cinnamon rolls. Simply roll the dough out in a large rectangle, sprinkle with melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar and roll up! Slice them, add them to a pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
fluffy loaf of bread on a cutting board

Tell Me About This Sweet Bread

  • Taste – This melt-in-your-mouth milk bread has a slight sweetness, similar to brioche or dinner rolls.
  • Texture – Milk bread is all about it’s fluffy texture! And it achieves that fluffiness without lots of visible air bubbles, resulting in a super springy bread with a fine crumb.
  • Ease – You likely have all of the ingredients in your pantry already, and you don’t have to mess with a sourdough starter. That means Asian milk bread is a perfect bread for first time bakers to try.
  • Time – The mixer will do most of the work for you, and the rise time is much shorter than other types of homemade bread.
ingredients for sweet milk bread

Ingredients For This Fluffy Type Of Bread

  • Warm Milk – Be sure to use warm milk, not hot! Too hot, and you’ll kill the yeast. Whole milk will give you the richest flavor.
  • Bread Flour – While you can use all purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand, bread flour has a much higher protein content, which helps create a tight, springy loaf. I don’t suggest using whole wheat flour – it’s quite a bit denser, and you won’t get the trademark milk bread consistency.
  • Salt – With any sweet recipe, you need to compliment the flavors. Adding a touch of salt helps to amplify the sweetness of the bread in the best way!
  • Sugar – Only a quarter cup for the entire loaf! We’re going for a slightly sweet taste that pairs will with other toppings without overpowering the flavor. I use white sugar, but you can use other types of sugar as well.
  • Active Dry Yeast- Yeast gives rise to breads and was created as a replacement for sourdough starter. I prefer using active dry yeast or quick rise yeast to make sure the bread rises quickly. Be sure to wait a few minutes after you add it to the warm liquid and sugar so you can make sure your yeast is good and alive before adding the dry ingredients. It should be nice and foamy.
  • Butter – This is for brushing over the top of the loaf. Use unsalted butter if you can, since there’s already salt in the dough itself. The butter will melt over the top of this sweet loaf and create a delicious glaze on top.
bread dough rising in a bowl

How To Make Milk Bread Dough

  1. Make the Dough- Add the ingredients to the large bowl of your stand mixer and knead the ingredients with your dough hook attachment until smooth and elastic. Let the dough rise, covered in plastic wrap, for 2 hours.
  2. Bake the Bread- In a prepared loaf pan, shape the dough and put it in the pan. Bake and enjoy!
bread with a golden top

Ways To Finish The Top Of Your Milk Bread Loaf

I like to brush melted butter on top of my loaves and rolls, but that’s not the only option!

  • Melted Butter – Butter not only adds a light golden brown color to the loaf, but it also slightly soaks into the bread, adding to the overall flavor and making it a bit softer.
  • Egg Wash – Eggs will give you the deepest golden crust, and will also make it more crispy. It’s used more for pastries than for breads.
  • Milk Wash – You won’t get much of a golden color from a milk wash, but it does tend to make the crust extra soft! Milk bread already has a higher milk content than many other breads, so the crust is plenty soft to begin with – trust me.
slices of sweet milk bread

Change This Loaf Into Milk Bread Rolls

This milk bread recipe works great as rolls for dinner or tea, because of the slight sweetness! To bake this dough as rolls, you’ll need to make a few edits.

  1. Instead of using a loaf bread pan, use a round pan or a baking sheet.
  2. After the first rise, divide the dough into equal portions and roll them on a floured surface into small balls.
  3. Since you’ve handled the dough quite a bit rolling them into balls, you’ll need to do a second rise before baking! A proofing time of one hour will suffice.

How to Store Sweet Milk Bread

If you are looking to store leftover bread, there are a number of ways you can do that.

The easiest way to store this bread is by letting it cool completely and then wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap.

Keep it at room temperature for up to 4 days.

A great thing about milk bread is that it keeps moist for several days due to its liquid content.

Can you freeze Sweet Milk Bread?

Yes, you can freeze this bread by letting it cool completely and wrapping it in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and then sealing inside of a gallon freezer bag.

The layers keep it from getting freezer burned. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Sweet Milk Bread Recipe

fluffy loaf of bread on a cutting board

Sweet Milk Bread

Liz Quick
Sweet milk bread is a moist and fluffy bread that uses warm milk paired with sugar and yeast to create its billowy texture. This bread is a hit when it comes to gobbling up with a pat of butter and a cup of tea.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 33 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 297 kcal


  • 1 electric stand mixer
  • 1 loaf pan


  • cup warm milk
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • teaspoon active dry yeast


Make the Dough

  • Warm the milk in a small saucepan on low heat.
  • Add the milk to a stand mixer with a dough hook. Add in the sugar and yeast and allow the yeast to get awake and foamy for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the flour and salt and mix until the dough is elastic and the bowl is clean.
  • Cover and let the dough rise for 2 hours or until doubled.

Bake the Bread

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan.
  • Form the dough into a loaf and add it to the loaf pan. Brush the top with melted butter.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the loaf cool completely on a wire rack.


How to top your milk bread:
  1. Brush with melted butter
  2. Brush with an egg wash
  3. Brush with a milk wash
Keyword sweet milk bread

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