milk bread

Delicious Milk Bread

Winter always makes me a bit nostalgic for my mother's milk bread. The air was not only filled with the aroma of yeast and baking, but permeated with the expectation of homemade bread, fresh from the oven and served with butter and homemade strawberry jam OR (even better in my opinion) butter and hot chocolate made with real chocolate. My dad and I could barely wait until the bread was cool enough to slice! This last Sunday I posted some terrible pictures of my own fresh-out-of-the-oven milk bread and I was bombarded with questions about how to make the bread, so I thought I'd make a quick recipe post for you all to enjoy and try. So, this is my sweet mother's most delicious treat! And she baked many, many loaves for many, many people to say thank you, or to cheer them up, or just because. You could too!

The best bit is that this dough can be used as a base for other types of bread, like raisin bread (add raisins) or sugar bread (add rock sugar for baking). The bread will not rise quite as high, but the outcome will be delicious. And trust me when I suggest this, fresh sugar bread and fresh hot chocolate is the ultimate Christmas morning breakfast... and many a Sunday winter morning after that. Enjoy!

Milk bread (European style)
Base ingredients - milk bread
  • 500gr bread flour (white or unbleached)
  • 35gr fresh yeast
  • 8gr salt
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 75gr good quality butter softened (room temp)
  • 225ml whole milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • (Plus one egg beaten for the egg wash) 


  • Run a whisk through the flour to break up the clumps
  • Gently warm up the milk to just warm (not hot!)
  • Put flour in the bowl and make a hole
  • Pour some of the milk in the hole
  • Put the sugar in the rest of the milk to disolve
  • Break up the yeast in the milk and disolve, give it a minute or two to start bubbling
  • Add the salt around the very rim on top of the flour (make sure salt and yeast don't touch until after you've started mixing yeast and flour
  • Add the milk, egg yolk to the center and start slowly combining it all in the mixer but add the butter last.
  • Let it knead for ten minutes to fifteen minutes until the dough starts coming away from the bowl and is nice and smooth
    • of course you can knead it by hand too! Make sure you achieve that consistency of smooth, soft dough (it's a work-out!)
  • Put in a lightly floured bowl, rub some flour over the top, and cover the bowl with cling wrapped/sealed, throw a towel over it and
    • let if proof for an hour in a warm draft-free space. The dough will more than double
  • Butter and flour a bread form to prepare for the dough
  • Punch the air out of the dough and form a tight ball and shape into a bread loaf drop it in the form,
    • dust some more flour over the top
    • drape the plastic lightly over it and the towel
    • let it rise another 20-30 minutes until it's about doubled again
  • Preheat oven to 200 Celsius
  • Carefully remove the towel and cling wrap from the bread
  • Carefully brush egg wash over the top 
  • Bake in the center of the oven at 200C for 30 to 40 minutes (not on hot air, just bottom burner if you have that option)
    • otherwise you'll need to make sure it doesn't burn the top too fast/ tent with aluminum foil a bit to keep that from happening
  • Tap the bread to make sure is it sounds hollow indicating it's done, but I assure you, you will smell it, it smells soooo intensely good!
european milk bread
milk bread dough
milk bread baking
milk bread rising in the oven