Soft and Moist Charcoal Bread (Yudane Method)

by - August 30, 2018

Charcoal Bread

Charcoal Bread

Charcoal Bread

I used the Yudane method to make this Charcoal Bread.  This bread is super fluffy, soft and moist.  It seems to stay fresh longer than most other ordinary homemade bread.

Yudane method is quite similar to Tangzhong (water-roux) method.  Both methods are scalding method. For the Yudane method, boiling water is used to scald the flour instead of cooking over the fire.  Please click here to see the differences between  Yudane vs Tangzhong Method. 

I was a bit sceptical when I first heard about Bamboo Charcoal powder.  Isn’t carbon bad for us?  However, I did some research and found out that activated charcoal is not only safe but there are probably health benefits relating to detoxification effects.

I have other Yudane Method recipes that you may like to try too.   Yudane Method Bread recipes.
It is advisable to read the following notes before starting baking.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.  This happen especially to Yudane dough method.   I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough. 

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof your dough until it just reaches or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Soft and Moist Charcoal Bread (Yudane Method)

Yields: 1 loaf


60g bread flour  (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
55g boiling water

240g bread flour  (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
3 - 5 tsp bamboo charcoal powder (I used 5 tsp)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tbsp (15g) brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
12g butter
160g – 180g fresh milk or full cream milk (start with 160g first, add in slowly the balance if the dough too dry)

Loaf pan (8" X 3" X 3")


  1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon.  
  2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  
  3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
Note:  I made the yudane dough 4 hours before and left it outside instead in the fridge. It works too.

  1. Put all ingredients (except butter) and including yudane dough (tear into pieces) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with paddle attachment for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue kneading for another 10 - 13 minutes or until the dough comes together, become elastic, smooth and reaches window pane stage.  I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough. It could be due to the gelatinization of its starch.  It is fine if your window pane is not very thin as long as you have kneaded the dough long enough. During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  2. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 60 minutes or until double in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film or kitchen towel.
  3. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 2 equal portions. Form each portion to a strand/long log. Roll out each dough with a rolling pin into long rectangle shape. Roll up the dough like Swiss Roll until a small log is formed. 
  4. Place all dough in the prepared loaf pan.  Let it rise for another 45 to 60 minutes or until double in size. 
  5. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) 170C (fan-forced)  for 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Bake at preheated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack completely before slicing.

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  1. Do we need to knead it till window pane?

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for asking. I normally didn't do the windowpane stage test as it is machine knead and 15 mins is more than enough. You may want to do window pane stage test if you like.

      Cheers & happy baking:)

  2. so is this like charcoal shokupan?!

  3. do you really use 5 tsp of Charcoal powder, or is it 5g?

    1. Yes, I used 5 tsp. But, please slowly add. Mine was not so black, so I ended up added 5 tsp.
      Cheers :)

  4. At what speed do you use for your mixer? I’m using a KitchenAid and it is advised to go no higher than 2.

    1. Hi, thank you for asking. I used Kenwood Mixer for this bread. I just got KA recently and has been kneading few breads. I turned to 3 - 4 for only a minute after adding in butter to the dough. Then turned back to 2. If I see my dough is not well kneaded. I will turn to 4 for not more than a minute then turned back to 2. I stopped my machine few times just to prevent over heating.

      Cheers :)

  5. Hi i am so happy to see your blog. I just bought a bag of Japanese 1st grade bread flour - 14% protein, high gluten. This is the first time i will be using this flour. I often follow recipes i find on youtube, generally they dun use high gluten flour. May i ask how much additional water to add if i use the high gluten flour now? 1/4 cup more ?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, thank you for visiting my blog. I used Japan High Gluten flour in all my bread and including this one. Please follow the above recipe and please do not add in all the water at one time.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

    2. Oh i see, so how do i know if the dough is too dry and need more liquid ? How shoukd the dough feels like or look like ?

    3. The dough will breaking up and unable to come together. The dough should comes together, become elastic and smooth.
      Cheers :)

  6. Hi,
    Is it possible to bake without the instant yeast?

  7. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. No, you can't make bread without yeast. Either using natural yeast/levain or commercial yeast.

    If you are looking for natural yeast/levain, there are several recipes in my blog as below link:

    Cheers :)