Chocolate Milk Bread

This soft and fluffy chocolate milk bread is great for toast, sweet sandwiches, and stuffed French toast.  And of course, it’s delicious enjoyed on its own!

Swirl Chocolate Milk Bread

I’ve been experimenting with different flavored milk breads due to the popularity of this Japanese Milk Bread. 

After the success of Ube Milk Bread, I’m back with a second variation.  Say hello to this super versatile Chocolate Milk Bread!

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

There’s no wrong way to enjoy this chocolate milk bread.

Spread peanut butter and top it with sliced bananas. Or maybe, whipped cream cheese spread with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of honey.

For a little more work, turn it into French toast. Or for something more decadent, bake it into chocolate swirl bread pudding

However you choose to enjoy this milk bread, it’s bound to be soft, fluffy, and delicious. 

Chocolate Milk Bread Water Roux

Water Roux Creates Soft Fluffy Bread

Japanese milk bread, also known as Hokkaido milk bread, is known for its pillow soft interior. The bread achieves its iconic texture from the use of a dough starter or water roux. 

Creating a water roux is super simple. Flour, milk, and water is heated together to form a thick paste. This paste creates a forgiving, easy to work with dough.  

*NOTE: The recipe listed here makes TWO loaves! You will use half the water roux to make the cream colored milk dough and the other half to make the brown chocolate milk dough.

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

What is Milk Powder?

Milk powder is known by many names including: powdered milk, dried milk, and instant milk.

It is simply dehydrated milk.

Milk powder is used in a variety of dessert and baked good recipes. It’s great for recipes that could benefit from the flavor of milk without the added liquid.

Milk powder is found in the baking aisle of supermarkets alongside flour and sugar. Instant non-fat milk powder is most commonly available. Dried whole milk is a bit more difficult to find.

King Arthur Flour also sells Baker’s Special Dry Milk which is supposed to help baked goods rise more. 

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

Milk Dough + Milk Chocolate Dough

This recipe makes two loafs of bread. It also requires you to make two separate doughs, a cream colored milk dough and brown milk chocolate dough.

I suggest starting with the milk dough. No need to clean out the mixing bowl. Any remnants will be kneaded into the milk chocolate dough. 

Each loaf will have 4 cream colored milk doughs and 4 brown colored chocolate milk doughs. It is important to keep the dough covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. 

Depending on the humidity and temperature of your working environment, it may take anywhere from 45 minute to 90 minutes for the dough to double in volume.

NOTE: You can use either instant yeast or dry active yeast for this recipe. Instant yeast tends to rise faster than dry active yeast. 

How to assemble Chocolate Milk Bread

How to assemble marbled dough

  1. Divide each dough into 8 equal parts. Use a kitchen scale for ease and accuracy. You will end up with a total of 16 parts.
  2. Roll each part into a ball. Keep dough covered with plastic wrap as you work to prevent dough from drying out.
  3. Take one chocolate dough ball. Flatten or roll out to a length of 8-inches and width of 5-inches. Grab a milk dough ball and place on top of rolled out chocolate dough.
  4. Roll milk dough to same measurements of chocolate dough.
  5. Starting at the shorter end, roll dough into a log. 
  6. Place log seam side down on work surface. Use a small rolling pin to flatten the log. Roll dough into a rectangle 5-inches wide and 7-inches long.
  7. Starting at the shorter end, roll dough into a log. 
  8. Place log seam side down into loaf pan.

Repeat steps until each loaf pan has a total of four logs. For a better marble effect, alternate outer dough color. 

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

Recommended bread loaf pans

  • Pullman Loaf Pan: creates perfectly square breads

The photo above shows bread baked in a pullman loaf pan with lid. I purchased mine from Williams Sonoma years ago. 

  • Standard Loaf Pan: creates rounded top bread loaf

The standard loaf pan used for quick breads like banana bread can also be used for this recipe. It will created a domed, rounded bread loaf.

Either pan works well in this recipe. Pullman loaf will result in a straight-edged rectangular block. Whereas, the standard loaf pan will create a tall loaf with peaks and valleys. 

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

What does the finished bread taste like?

On a scale of one to ten sweeteness (ten being most sweet), this bread is about 6. It’s not overtly sweet. 

The marbled chocolate milk bread is the perfect vehicle for your favorite sweet toppings. 

It’s a soft and fluffy versatile bread. The chocolate flavor is apparent, but not pronounced.

The cocoa powder is used to add color and just a touch of flavor. If you want a very chocolate rich, flavor forward bread, I suggest making this chocolate babka instead. 

Marble Chocolate Milk Bread

How to store chocolate milk bread?

Thanks to the water roux, this milk bread will stay soft days after baking!

Allow the baked bread to cool temperature before storing. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.

For longer storage, wrap loaf in plastic wrap and place inside a ziptop bag. Store in the freezer for up to one month. Defrost at room temperature. 

Chocolate Milk Bread

Soft and fluffy marbled chocolate milk bread. This is a variation on the popular Japanese milk bread recipe.

Yield: makes TWO 9x5-inch loaves

Author Maryanne Cabrera

Ingredients

Starter Roux:

  • 45 grams (⅓ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 120 ml (½ cup) whole milk
  • 120 ml (½ cup) water

Milk Dough:

  • 7 grams (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast *see notes for instant yeast
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk, warmed to 100-110°F
  • 325 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk powder *
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) unsalted butter

Milk Chocolate Dough:

  • 7 grams (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk, warmed to 100-110°F
  • 310 grams (2 cups + 6 Tbsp) bread flour
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 60 grams (¼ cup) unsalted butter, softened, room temp

Instructions

Starter Roux:

  1. In a medium pot, whisk together flour, milk, and water. Set over medium heat. Stir often, making sure to pay attention to the bottom edges of the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of mashed potatoes.

  2. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to lay directly on top of mixture. Cool to room temperature.

Dough:

  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm milk. Let mixture sit for 5-7 minutes to allow yeast to activate.

    *see notes if using instant yeast

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, remaining sugar, milk powder, and salt. Attach dough hook to mixer. Add in half of cooled starter roux mixture (about 1/2 cup), egg, and yeast-milk mixture. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

  3. Add softened butter and continue to knead on low speed for 5 minutes until butter in integrated into dough. Increase to medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for one hour until dough has doubled in volume. Meanwhile, prepare milk chocolate dough.

Milk Chocolate Dough:

  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm milk. Let mixture sit for 5-7 minutes to allow yeast to activate.

    *see notes if using instant yeast

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, remaining sugar, milk powder, and salt. Attach dough hook to mixer. Add in remaining 1/2 of cooled starter roux mixture, egg, and yeast-milk mixture. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

  3. Add softened butter and continue to knead on low speed for 5 minutes until butter is incorporated into dough. Increase to medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes until dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for one hour, until dough has doubled in volume.

Assembly:

  1. Grease two 9x4 or 9x5-inch loaf pans or pullman loaf pans. If desired, line pans with parchment paper to allow for easy bread removal. Set aside.

  2. Working with milk dough first. Punch down risen dough. Transfer to clean work surface. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. (Use a kitchen scale for ease and accuracy.) Roll each part into a ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap as you work to prevent dough from drying out or forming a skin.

  3. Next, work with milk chocolate dough. Punch down risen dough. Transfer to clean work surface. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball. Cover dough with plastic wrap as you work to prevent dough from drying out or forming a skin.

  4. Grab one milk dough ball. Flatten or roll out dough to a length of about 8-inches and width of 5-inches. Grab milk chocolate ball and repeat rolling to same measurements. Place milk chocolate dough over milk dough. Starting at the shorter end, roll dough together into a log.

  5. Place log seam side down on work surface. Use a small rolling pin to flatten and roll log into a rectangle about 5-inches wide and 7-inches long. Starting at the shorter end, roll dough into a log. Place log seam side down into prepared loaf pan. Repeat process until each pan has a total of four logs.

  6. Cover the two loaf pans with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Remove plastic wrap from loaf pans.

    *If using standard loaf pan, lightly brush the top of risen dough with heavy cream or milk. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the top of the bread is golden brown and the internal temperature of the bread registers at least 190°F.

    *If using pull pan loaf, cover pan with lid. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove lid, and bake for another 18-20 minutes until internal temperature of bread registers at least 190°F on digital kitchen thermometer.

  3. Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes. Unmold bread from pan and place on wire rack. Cool to room temperature. Once cooled, use serrated knife to slice bread.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Notes:

  • Milk powder is found in the baking aisle of the supermarket alongside flour and sugar. It is also labeled as "instant dry milk." Non-fat dry milk powder is the most common variety sold. Whole dry milk will also work in this recipe. The milk powder provides additional flavor. Simply omit, if you cannot find it. 
  • The recipe works best with bread flour. However, you can use all-purpose flour. 

Instant Yeast: Whisk instant yeast along with bread flour, sugar, milk powder, and salt in Step 2. No need to rehydrate the yeast in Step 1.

Newsletter
cake
Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Lisa

I made this yesterday and this recipe is spot-on. Next time, i will try adding mini chocolate chips in one of two loaves. For the 325g of flour for the milk dough, I used 2 1/2 cups. Thank you for posting this recipe!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks for trying the recipe! Glad you enjoyed it! Adding chocolate chips is a great idea. It will definitely pump up the chocolate flavor.

cake
Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates