Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Sourdough Japanese Soft White Buns

September 30, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Sourdough Japanese Soft White Buns

Sourdough Japanese Soft White Buns

I used my Sourdough Shokupan (Sweet Stiff Starter + Yudane Method) to rebake these Sourdough Japanese Soft White Buns.  With a high percentage of sweet stiff starter, I found that the bread proofs noticeably faster.  It helps to help cut down proofing times and make the bread rise faster.

The bread texture is quite similar with bread using a Liquid Starter recipe. It is soft, moist, fluffy and slightly chewy. It stays fresh longer than the non yudane method bread.

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 - Sourdough Japanese Soft White Buns

Yields:  16 buns


Yudane Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
70g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
All the yudane dough (above0
15g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
30g milk powder (please cut down to 20g if you do not like milky bread)
25g butter, room temperature
45g egg, whisked (from 1 medium egg)
25g water (reserve 10g and add in later if needed) I used total 20g of water

8" square pan

  1. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually slightly torn the stiff starter and yudane dough first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until the dough become smooth, silky and reach window pane stage.  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.
  4. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes and the dough rose quite a lot in 45 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences between 15 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 16 equal portions (approx. 42g each).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Please watch the video here "How to shape bun"
    3. Place bun onto the baking pans lined with parchment paper.
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size. This one took approximately 3 hours at at room temperature of 28C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and the starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 150C (top & bottom heat) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Sprinkle some corn flour or bread flour on top of the buns using a sieve.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes, or until slightly light brown.  I covered the buns with aluminium foil after 30 minutes to prevent the buns from getting too brown.
    4. Remove buns from oven and pan.   Let them cool on rack.
Yudane Dough

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

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.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


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, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. 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.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. 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 until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


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.


  1. Hi, thank you for the recipe. Would this still have a tangy taste since it's not using sweet levain?

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. It is very mild sour taste. Actually, my hubby said he couldn't really taste it. I refresh my starter everyday and also I used more starter in my recipe. So, it takes shorter time to rise. But, if you are unsure how to control, then just use the sweet levain like shared by Autumn Kitchen.

      Cheers :)

    2. Do you use up all 210g of the levain? Thank you

    3. Hi, Thanks for asking. No. You will need only 190g as mentioned in my recipe above ya.

      Cheers :)

  2. what is sourdough starter, where to buy?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading. Sourdough is natural leavening. You have to cultivate yourself or get from someone you know that they are baking sourdough bread.

      Please search Youtube on how to cultivate sourdough starter from scratch.

      Cheers :)

  3. This looks so good! Your notes are so detailed and you provided so many pictures! You are awesome, one of my favorite bakers!!

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe and your kind comment. Glad that you like my recipe writing. Your compliment is very much appreciated.

      Cheers and happy baking.

  4. I'm new to break baking. Can I check if you wait till yudane has cooled down before placing in the fridge? Thanks.

    1. Hi, Thanks for reading this recipe. It doesn’t really matter. Sometimes I put in the fridge immediately after preparing when I was in the rush.


    2. Thanks for your reply.

  5. Hi... Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'm waiting to try this. Currently waiting for my levain to triple. Did last night, till now only slight increase. Its 15 hrs now.

    1. Good luck, Karen. I hope you will like it too. By the way, thanks for reading this recipe.

      Happy baking :)

  6. Hello! Just want to check what happens if my starter can’t triple? Can I still do this? Also does that mean that my starter is weak?
    Btw, Thanks for always posting these amazing recipes :)

    1. Hi, Did you bake with the starter risen till double, your bread may take very long time to rise or may not rise. Please feed your starter daily if possible until it get stronger.

      Cheers :)

  7. Can the final proof be done in the fridge overnight?

    1. Hi, Thanks for reading and your question.
      I have not tried this method. I afraid it is not going to rise a lot and make your bread sour. However, I have tried let it proof in aircond room (about 24C- 25C) overnight about 7 - 8 hours (depend on your environment).

      Cheers :)

  8. Hi
    Is your levian made of Japanese flour too? I tried feeding my regular starter with Jap flour, but it has not risen yet. Works well with regular high gluten flour usually.

    Anyway love your recipes, thanks for teaching me that sourdough bread doesn't just have to be rustic breads!

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe and your question. Yes, I fed my levain with Japan High Gluten Flour too. It could be changing of flour as your starter already used to the regular high gluten flour you used. You stick to your regular high gluten flour for feeding the levain for time being. But, If you plan to change different flour for feeding, it will take a while. Maybe a week or longer for the bacteria to get use to it.

      Cheers :)

  9. Tried this recipe with my "rye flour 7-day freshly made starter", did it with the stretch-and-fold technique and proofed it overnight in the fridge and it works. yummy. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. Hi, thanks for trying and your feedback. Glad that it worked for you.

      Cheers :)

  10. Thank u for sharing Ur recipe on SD soft buns. I note the main dough only requires 70g of bread flour? Is this correct?

    1. Hi, You are most welcome. Yes, it is correct. 20% of flour is in Yudane and 60% in sweet stiff starter.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

  11. Hi. What happens if you decrease the sugar ? I'm looking for a sourdough bun that is Egg free and is very low in sugar and fat

    1. Hi, chances are the bread will be more sour if you decrease sugar. You can replace with honey if you want. You may want to try this vegan sourdough bread recipe:

      Cheers :)


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