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Herman Milk Bread

Milk Bread is great for sandwiches, as breakfast toast, bread pudding or just as an in-between snack. This version is made with Herman Starter making the usual soft and mildly sweet flavors more complex.

Herman Milk Bread Loaves- One Sliced to show texture.

Recently I posted about Herman starter. It is an easy starter to make and a wonderful lesson on how things transform in nature. Once you have your sweet starter there are many ways to use it. This is one of many, with just a few ingredients.

Milk breads are wonderful and especially loved by kids. Baking milk breads create this wonderful aroma that is much more appetizing than that of regular bread. Adding Herman starter makes this bread taste and feel more enriched without adding extra fat or eggs.

You heard it right – this is a very soft bread without eggs and a lot of butter. I tbsp per and 9 X 5 loaf. It is definitely leaner than my other favorite milk bread – Hokkaido Milk bread. Hokkaido milk bread is another delicious recipe to try if you haven’t already.

‘Mom this bread is amazeballs’ was the review. So whenever I make it I make at least 2 large loaves and if I am lucky it will last 2 days. In a few years my kids will be over their growing stages and maybe I have to think about freezing 1 loaf. But until then it is 2 loaves for a day or 2.

On Loaf Pan Sizes

The recipe below is written for 2 large loaves. The pans I use here are 9 in X 5 in loaf pans. These are usually used for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb loaves. If you have standard pans measuring 8 in X 4 in the loaves would spill out quite a bit and you will get a large mushroom top. Alternately you could use 3 pans and make smaller loaves.

These can also be braided and baked without a pan. The key to remember is that when changing the baking pan adjust the time accordingly. When in doubt turn the oven light on and keep an eye on the loaf at least 10 minutes earlier than what the recipe calls for.

Herman Milk Bread - Dough

On Kneading

Personally, I enjoy making this bread by hand. Kneading the bread and feeling the dough transform in your hands is a wonderful experience and many home bakers refuse to use a machine until their arthritic hands literally refuse to move. I am not that picky, I do love the feel of the dough, but I hate having to attend to a bleeding wound or a chipped tooth or impending annihilation of the universe in the middle of kneading. So often time I resort to my trusty kitchen aid.

This dough starts out as wet and bit sticky. By the end of kneading, we are looking for a soft slightly wet, in a non-sticky kind of way, dough. It should feel soft and supple and should have an ever so slight give. In other words, if you form it into a ball and place on the counter it should flatten a little but not stick to the surface.

Then There Is Timing

Pure sourdough bread is more time consuming than standard yeast bread. Which is not surprising as the commercial yeast strain was isolated with the sole purpose of saving time. It does nothing to enhance flavor or nutrition. Check out my simple sourdough loaf – it takes 5 hours or more from start to finish.

The starter here is made with commercial yeast, but it also has bacterial content (acids) which flavorful. The bread recipe calls for additional active dry yeast as well. This cuts down the total time, in other words, we have the best of both worlds.

Herman Milk Bread - Sliced. Soft and spongy

What if I don’t have 3 hours?

The one not so secret rules that bakers swear by is that the ‘longer rising times means more flavor’. The added plus is that with really long rising times you can get away with pretty much no kneading (no Knead ). So if you do not have a block of 3 hours when you can tend to bread making, cut down on the yeast by 50% to 75% and let the dough rise slowly in the fridge.

Rising in the fridge is important. The dough has a good amount of dairy and even though it is bound to other substances, under warm conditions it is an inviting feeding ground for all the wrong kind of bacteria and mold.

I was planning to post a video of the recipe – but well I really enjoyed the kneading by hand the video got very shaky. I promise to add one soon.

Herman Milk Bread - Sliced. Soft and spongy

Herman Milk Bread

By Syama
A soft and delicious milk bread made with Herman Starter. This bread is great as breakfast toast, in sandwiches or even as bread pudding or French toast. It is learner than most milk breads, but no less flavorful.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Poofing (Total) 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 2 Large Loaves


  • 6 C AP Flour (+ 1/2 as needed) Notes
  • 2 C Herman Starter Notes
  • 2 Tsp Fine Salt
  • 4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 ½ C Milk, Preferably Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Butter


Make the dough by hand

  • Take 6 C of the flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the starter, and  yeast. Mix in gently. To this add ¾ of the milk, salt, and the melted butter. Mix in slowly adding more milk if needed. Once all the flour has become moist turn out to floured work surface. Start kneading. The dough might be sticky in the beginning. Add the remaining half cup flour little by little if needed. As you need the dough becomes less sticky and slowly begins to turn into a smooth lump. When it feels relaxed, smooth and supple it is time to stop kneading.

Make the dough in machine

  • In the  bowl of the machine place 6 C  flour, salt  and  yeast.  Keep the  salt and  yeast  from direct  contact. Fit  the  dough  hook and stir  for 15 seconds  to  mix  everything  together.   Remove the  hook  and  make a well in the center of the flour. Add the starter, melted butter, and ¾ of the milk.  Place the  hook back on and  knead at  the  recommended  setting  for 1 minute. If needed  add the remaining milk slowly  as  needed.  Knead for 2 minutes at the  end  of  which  add remaining  flour in batches  if  the  dough  looks  too wet.  Knead until the  dough  turns  into a smooth lump ( 4 to 5 minutes in total).  Turn off  and  check the  dough.  It should feel relaxed, smooth and supple. 

First Rise (Bulk Proof)

  • Form the dough into a smooth ball and transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn it so that all the  sides of the dough is coated with oil. Cover and let it rise  in a  warm place until doubled in volume (about 1 hour).

Shape and Second rise

  • Punch down and transfer the dough on to a floured surface. Divide into equal halves.  Take one  half  and flatten  (or roll out ) half  into a  rectangle.  Roll into a tight  cylinder. Tuck in the  edges.   Place in an  the oiled loaf  pan   with the   seam side  down.  Repeat  with the other half.  
    Cover and let rise until almost doubled (20 to 30 minutes).


  • While the loaves are rising preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C ).   Remove the cover  from the risen loaves and place the loves in the hot oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. 
    Tap the bottom of the loaf  to check if  it is  done baking. It  should  sound  hollow  when  fully cooked. tapped at the bottom. The internal temperature of  this  bread  should  be  between 190F to 200F  (closer to 200F) when  it  is  cooked  through. 
  • Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer from the pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing
    Slice and store in freezer bags or cover and store at room temp for a day or two.


  • Stir the starter well before measuring.
  • 4 Tsp yeast is a little less than 2 packets of  yeast.  1 Pkt yeast is about 2 ¼ Tsp. You can use 2 packets of yeast in this recipe without any trouble.
  • For temperature conversion when using different types of  oven try this  link

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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Herman Milk Bread - Pinnable image


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Saturday 11th of July 2020

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