Discover how to make unique Japanese sweet bread “Anpan”. Anpan is simply Japanese sweet bread buns filled with sweet bean paste. Many readers of Chopstick Chronicles fell in love with Shokupan and requested how to make sweet bread using the yudane method. So here it is!
What is Anpan?
Anpan is soft and moist Japanese milk bread filled with sweet bean paste called “An” or “Anko”. Japanese call bread “pan” which is derived from Portuguese pao or pain (bread). So An-Pan literally means sweet bean bread. It is pronounced An Pan. Japanese people young and elderly love Anpan and every Japanese bakery sell Anpan with their original recipes.
How to Make Soft & Moist Japanese Bread?
There is an Anpan speciality bakery in Ginza, Tokyo called Kimuraya. It is my favourite Anpan shop. Whenever I go to Tokyo, I make sure I get anpan from this bakery. Their Anpan is made from Sakadane (Sake yeast cultured in koji rice malt) which is so unique to Japan. It would be difficult to attempt this special version, for obtaining the necessary ingredients would not be easy. However, do not despair as there is another way to make Japanese bread deliciously soft and moist.
That is the Yudane method that I mentioned in my Shokupan Japanese Milk Bread Recipe post. Yudane is a mixture of bread flour and boiling hot water. The hot water gelatinises the starch in the flour which takes in more water thus making it soft and also increases the sweetness of the bread. If you are interested in the Yudane method, read more in my Shokupan, Japaneses milk bread post.
Ingredients & Baker’s Percentage for the Bread
Anpan is unique to Japan though most ingredients you should be able to get without much trouble. I also included baker’s percentage in the brackets.
- Bread Flour – Flour forms the structure of bread. It absorbs moisture and supports bread expansion. The percentage of protein affects the texture of the bread. I used bread flour that has around 12-13% protein. Yudane 50g (17%) + 250g (83%) = 100%
- Milk 120ml (40%)
- Egg – I used one large egg which weighs about 50g (17%)
- Sugar 25g (8%)
- Salt 4g (1%)
- Unsalted butter 40g (13%)
- Instant dry yeast – I used Saf-instant Gold 3g (1%)
How to Make Anpan Bread?
Here is a brief process of how to make Anpan bread from scratch.
- Soak dry beans: Soak dry beans 2 nights before baking Anpan. It requires soaking overnight.
- Make sweet bean paste & yudane: See how to make sweet bean paste and Yudane by clicking the links.
- Divide the sweet bean paste and make the bread dough: Divide the sweet bean paste into 12 equal-sized balls. Make bread dough either using a stand mixer, bread machine or hand kneading. Place the dough in a lightly oil sprayed large bowl and let the dough rise till double the size.
- Wrap the sweet paste bean balls with bread dough and shape. Divide the bread dough into equal-sized 12 balls. Flatten them and place the sweet bean paste balls in the centre. Wrap the sweet bean paste balls with bread dough and seal.
- Second proofing Cover the dough with a well wrung out damp kitchen cloth (to avoid the bread dough drying out) for about 20- 30 minutes. Start to preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C)
- Bake for about 20 minutes Bake them in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the tin (if you used one as I did) and cool the bread on a cooling wire rack.
Depending on which bean you use to make sweet bean paste, you can make different variations of Anpan. Here I made Kuro (black) Anpan and Shiro (white) Anpan. Even though the Kuro anpan looks dark gray, the bean paste is made from red (Aka) or adzuki beans. Shiro anpan paste is made from white beans. Please read how to make each bean pastes in my previous posts. Also, you can add matcha powder to the bread flour to make a matcha version. For both Anpan bread I cooked, I used sesame seeds but often poppy seeds are used too.
A Tip to Shape Your Anpan
They are usually just round buns, though I wanted to make them a little taller and cuter so I used a muffin mold to shape. So when I wrapped the sweet bean paste with bread dough, I placed them in a muffin tin. If you don’t have one, just second proof without putting them in a muffin tin. One important tip I can give you is that when wrapping the bean paste ball, the dough gathers at the top (which becomes the bottom part of bun) and this tends to become thicker. In order to make the dough a uniform thickness, when rolling it out, make the centre part a little thicker than the edge.
What To Have With Anpan?
I recommend having Anpan with Hojicha. Sweet bean paste is really suited for Japanese green tea of any kind. I often have Anpan and Matcha latte as a weekend treat.
Other Japanese Bread Recipes to Check
A: Yes you can. Individually wrap them with cling wrap, and place them in a ziplock freezer bag. It will store in a freezer for a month.
A: No, they are not the same. Dorayaki is more like pancakes sandwiching azuki sweet bean paste.
A: No, the bread dough includes cow milk and egg. If you alter those ingredients, you can make a vegan version, but this recipe is not vegan.
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Recipe Measurement Note
Azuki Bean Paste (Kuro-An)
- 50 g Azuki bean (1/4 cup)
- 50 g caster sugar (1/4 cup)
White Bean Paste (Shiro-An)
- 50 g White bean (1/4 cup)
- 50 g caster sugar (1/4 cup)
- 50 g bread flour (3/8 cup or 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp)
- 40 ml Boiling hot water (2 tbsp + 2 tsp)
- 120 ml milk (room temperature) (1/2 cup)
- 1 large egg (room temperature) *1
- 25 g sugar (2 tbsp)
- 3 g dry yeast (1 tsp)
- 250 g bread flour (2 cups)
- 4 g salt (1 tsp)
- 40 g butter chopped (room temperature) (3 tbsp)
Sweet Bean Paste
- Start to soak both beans 2 nights before baking day with 4/3 cups of water. See how to make bean paste in two separate posts. *2
- This amount makes about 160g (5.6oz) each of Azuki and White bean paste.
- Make yudane a night before baking day. Place the bread flour in a small mixing bowl and pour in the boiling hot water. Combine them with a wooden spatula.
- When it is cooled down, wrap with cling wrap and leave it on the kitchen bench in winter or leave it in refrigerator in summer.
Making Anpan Bread
- Combine the milk, egg, sugar, instant dry yeast, bread flour and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. *3
- Set the stand mixer with a hook attachment and knead for about 15 minutes. *4
- Add the butter and continue to knead a further 15 minutes. *5
- Roll the dough round and place the dough into a greased bowl. Wrap with cling wrap to rise for about 45 min to 1 hour at about 86°F (30°C) or until double the size. *6
- Divide the bread dough into 12 equal sized balls and let them rest on the kitchen bench covered with well wrung out damp cloth.
- Meanwhile, divide the sweet bean pastes (azuki and white) into 6 equal sized balls (so all together 12 ) and set aside.
- Roll out one dough ball until it is slightly flat and place one white bean paste ball in the centre, then mold the dough around it to form a bread roll. *7
- Repeat for the remaining dough and all bean paste balls.
- Place them on a cooking paper lined oven tray and cover with a clean damp cloth for the second proofing for about 20-30 minutes or until doubled in size again. *8
- Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C)
- Gently brush with beaten egg or milk, and stamp with sesame seeds.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven tray and cool them on a cooling wire rack.