Thursday, November 16, 2023

Babes Bake Shio Pan - Japanese Salt Bread

This month our wonderful Kitchen of the Month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, treated us to a great recipe for beautiful rolls with a topping of sea salt or seeds. I really like this recipe because it only makes 6 rolls, although I suspect that you could easily double it to make 12. There are only two of us, so small quantity recipes work well.

The dough comes together easily, with cold water and cold milk making it easy even if you have forgotten to think about the dough until it's time to make it...oops. There is a small quantity of soft butter, too, but we had a butter dish on the counter, so there was enough soft butter there. You do need bread flour, but I always have some of that on hand.

One of the fun things about these rolls is that a matchstick of butter is rolled up in the fat end. Use the best butter you can find. I used some European butter I bought just for this recipe. It really makes the finished rolls luxurious. I didn't curve them much since I was trying to fit all of them on a 12-inch pizza pan.

The dough is easy to work with. I found that stretching the dough into a thin triangle for the shaping worked well if I grasped the tip and let the heavy part of the dough (the part that would be wide) hand down and let gravity do some of the stretching. When it was long enough, I put it on the floured work surface and stretched the bottom dough wide enough for the butter stick, plus a bit for sealing. Here the rolls are after being shaped, all ready for their rise before baking.

Because I wanted to bake these for the morning, I did everything up to and including the rise after shaping, then put the rolls in the fridge overnight. In the morning I let them warm up while the oven preheated. After they had warmed a puffed a tiny bit more, I brushed the tops with egg wash and added the sea salt topping. In my experience a water spray just doesn't hold the topping, plus the egg wash gives the rolls a nice shine and helps with browning. The bake itself is quick. By the way, I skipped the parchment paper, putting the rolls directly on the baking sheet. They did leak a bit of butter during the bake. It helped crisp up the bottoms of the rolls and soaked into the middle, plus it left a tunnel to be filled with jam, if desired. In this photo you can see the tunnel the melted butter left.

 If I were worried about that, I could let them rise a bit more before putting in the fridge, then bake them cold from the fridge.

These really are pretty simple little breads and worth the time it takes for the various steps. They are soft and very buttery! Thank you Karen for a recipe that will likely be used again over and over. 

Want to be a Buddy? Bake the bread, post about it, and send a photo, the URL and a short description of your bake to Karen by 11/29 to get a Buddy Badge and to be included in the round-up.

Do visit the other Babes sites to see their take on this lovely bread roll.

Shio Pan, Japanese Salt Bread
yield: 6 rolls


210 grams bread flour

10 grams granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

70 grams cold milk

70 grams cold water

7 grams softened unsalted butter

15 grams butter, melted, for brushing

7 grams softened unsalted butter

15 grams butter, melted, for brushing

60 grams butter, cut into 6 x 10 gram strips as pictured. 

Flaked sea salt for topping



Whisk together the bread flour, sugar, sea salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk and water.  With a wooden spoon or dough whisk stir in half the flour mixture until just combined. Add the softened butter in tiny bits and half the remaining flour. Use the dough hook to knead it or knead it in by hand. Add the remaining flour.

Knead the dough by hand (using pressing, stretching, and folding constantly) or by stand mixer for about five minutes, until smooth. The dough will be fairly sticky but don't add more flour unless your kitchen is super humid or the dough is too soft to handle. If adding additional flour, do so sparingly. 

Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your room temperature. 

Turn the dough out onto your floured work surface and form it into an 1/2 inch thick round disk. 

Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces with a bench scraper. If possible use a scale to make them close to the same number of grams.

Roll each piece of dough into a cone, pinching the seam, and let rest, covered with a tea towel, for 10 minutes. 

With your hands, press each to de-gas. Shape each into a very long, thin triangle using gravity or a rolling pin, or a combination. Lightly brush each triangle with melted butter. Place a 10 gram butter stick on the wide end and roll up the dough and form it into a crescent. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Here is what the butter sticks look like. Each is pretty close to 10 grams. Your scale will get a workout with this recipe!

Repeat with the remaining dough. You will have six rolls. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes to an hour, in a warm spot. 

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. 

Here are my rolls after being given an egg wash and sea salt on top after they rolls had warmed up after being removed from the fridge:

When ready to bake, spray the shaped rolls with water until they are shiny (or with egg wash as I did). Sprinkle each with a pinch or so of flaked sea salt or some seeds like sesame or poppy seeds. 

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly golden on top and crispy and browned on the bottom. 

Transfer to a wire rack. 

These are best warm from the oven or within two hours. You can rewarm leftovers the same day to refresh them. Wrap and freeze additional leftovers for reheating in the oven the next day. 



  1. They look great! I'm so happy you liked them! There's just two of us too so I prefer smaller batches as well.

  2. Wow, that crumb shot with the tunnel looks just amazing! They turned out great!

  3. I like the idea of a small recipe, too - for the same reason. These look wonderful!

  4. Beautiful!! And with European butter too. That must be so delicious!

    I was really happy about making just six as well. Or at least I was before we started eating them. They're so good, aren't they?

  5. The egg wash gives your rolls a lovely color and your crumb looks so fluffy!

  6. Great post! I liked your unique take on the topic. Keep writing—you have a talent for it!

  7. Your Shio Pan recipe looks absolutely delicious! I can't wait to try it out. It's always refreshing to find unique and delightful recipes like this.
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