Lea Salonga Shares Her Experience Baking Japanese Milk Bread For The First Time

She also shares useful tips for newbie bread bakers!

What can the Lea Salonga not do? Theater actress and singer Lea Salonga recently got into baking bread at home and was successful at it. 

When the pandemic broke out and quarantine started, people resorted to baking bread, whether out of necessity or boredom. In Lea's case, she craved a particular bread called the Japanese milk bread (also known as a Hokkaido loaf). It's a fluffy, light bread she got to try on a previous family trip to snowy Niseko in Japan. "[It's] so good toasted, with a slathering of butter," she told Yummy.ph.

Her intense cravings made her decide to bake it herself-nevermind that the last time she remembered baking bread was when she was still a kid. After a quick Google search, she found New York Time's Japanese Milk Bread recipe and after numerous tutorials on YouTube, which according to her, are helpful if you need to look at technique and demos.

Photo by Thomas Bock from Pixabay
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For someone who hasn't baked bread for the longest time, Lea needed to remind herself-and this goes out to newbie bakers as well-the importance of waking up the yeast or to activate it. This means you need to sprinkle active dry yeast over warm water, stir a teaspoon of sugar, and set aside for five minutes until bubbles form.


On her first attempt to make the Japanese milk loaf, she forgot this crucial step which resulted in a loaf that wasn't fluffy, but thankfully, still tasted alright. But after her second try, when she didn't forget to "wake up the yeast," the bread came out fluffy as she remembered Japanese milk bread should be.

Lea's second loaf was more fluffy than her first attempt.
Photo by Lea Salonga

If you are not pressed for time and have a lot of angst and stress in the body, Lea recommends to try kneading the dough by hand. "It takes about 10-15 minutes, and it's so satisfying, especially if you're carrying a ton of frustration. I love kneading!" But, for those who have a busy schedule or for those who don't want to get their hands dirty, a stand mixer is your next best option.

Another attempt at Hokkaido loaf. Lea also recommends to try kneading the dough by hand.
Photo by Lea Salonga

So, is it your first time baking bread? If so, you can find inspiration and motivation through Lea's baking tips. Her advice: "If your first loaf is a fail, don't let this discourage you from trying again. Look online for pro tips (there are a lot of them) as well as well-loved recipes. Once you get the hang of baking a basic loaf of bread, the possibilities are endless! And it's worth it just for how the kitchen will smell once the bread is in the oven."



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!

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