Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread {Vegan}

Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread {Vegan}

I’m gonna be honest with you. I was going to write this whole big thing about this recipe and where its inspiration came from, but here’s the real story: carbs.

Delicious, yummy, brain happiness inducing carbs.

Inspiration comes from many places, but mostly it just comes from my need to derive some food-based comfort in the form of soft, white, pillowy bread that’s been kissed with a garlicky, herby butter. There’s just no way that’s going to be bad, right?

So this is a milk bread, but obviously because it’s vegan, there’s no actual milk in it. It does have plant-based milk, and quite a bit of it, but the real technical part of this recipe (that’s not actually that terribly technical) is something called a yu-dane (in Japanese) or a tangzhong (in Chinese) which is known as a water roux in English.

If you’ve ever had Asian-Style Milk Bread, you’ll know… the bread is super soft and milky white. This kind of bread starts with a water roux, which is just boiling water poured over flour to make a kind of paste. Then you make the bread as usual by blooming the yeast in warm milk (in this case, plant-based milk). The bread can either be sweeter (by adding sugar to the mix) or savoury (which is the direction I decided to take it.

Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread Vegan

It’s not super hard to make, but like all yeasted breads, it does take a bit of time because you have to give it time to proof.

But the resulting Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread is so, so worth it, when you tuck into those pillowy soft, fluffy buns with their crispy crust and garlicy butter.

Vegan Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread

Savoury Asian-Style Milk Bread {Vegan}

Rebecca Coleman
A soft, pillowy bread, finished with a garlicky, herby butter.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Course Bread
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4


For the water roux

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water just boiled

For the bread dough

  • 1 cup warm non dairy milk (between 90 and 100 degrees) I used oat milk
  • 1 package active dried yeast (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese I used Boursain Dairy Free Garlic & Fine Herbs

For the garlic butter

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter melted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley


Make the water roux

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the flour for the roux. Add the boiled water and mix well (you can start with a whisk if you like, but it will quickly get too thick and you'll need to switch to a spatula or wooden spoon) until it's a thick paste. Swipe and push the paste up onto the side of the bowl, then attach the bowl to your mixer.

Make the bread dough

  • Heat the non dairy milk till it is around 90-100 degrees (hotter or cooler and the yeast won't bloom properly)
  • Add the milk to the bowl of your mixer and then stir in the sugar. Finally, sprinkle the yeast on top, then leave it alone for about 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, it should be a bit foamy and bubbly and smell yeasty.
  • Now mix the water roux and the milk/yeast mixture together.
  • Attach the dough hook to your mixer.
  • Now add the flour and begin to mix. You'll want to run the mixer at medium-low speed for about 3-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and is clinging to the dough hook in a ball.
  • Now mix in the salt.
  • With the motor running, drop in the vegan butter and the vegan cream cheese. Allow the fats to completely incorporate into the dough, another 4-5 minutes or so.
  • Scrape all the dough off of the dough hook and place it back in the bowl. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour.
  • After an hour, the dough should be doubled in size. Punch it down and divide the dough in half, then in half again. Divide each quarter into 2 and roll them into balls, so that you have 8 balls of roughly equal size.
  • Grease a 9" round cake tin with vegan butter.
  • Place the dough balls all around the outside of the cake tin and one in the middle. Cover again and set aside to rise in a warm place for about another 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the vegan butter for the topping and mix in the olive oil, garlic powder and parsley flakes.
  • Brush some of the butter onto the tops of the rolls, and then bake in the preheated oven for about 25-35 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Brush with the remaining garlic/parsley butter and serve while still warm, ideally.
Keyword vegan


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