Shio Pan 塩パン is a type of Japanese salted butter roll that has a cult following for many years. Tenderly chewy, perfectly salted and an irresistible butter crisp bottom. You don’t want to miss this simple yet very tasty savoury bread recipe!
What is Shio Pan 塩パン
Shio 塩 means salt and Pan パン means bread in Japanese. The salted butter roll is said to originate from Pain Maison, a bakery in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. Combining the classic Japanese soft butter roll and French crusty bread roll, the characteristics of Shio Pan is a marriage of the two. Light crust on the outside, a soft and chewy interior and a crunchy “butter-fried” base, the key to a well-made Shio Pan that is achieved by wrapping a piece of butter into the dough, allowing the butter to melt onto the tray during baking and eventually fry the base of the butter rolls. Finally, a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top adds a beautiful depth of flavour to the buttery crescents.
Why this Japanese salted butter roll is so popular?
Shio Pan have been the hype in many bakeries especially in Japan and Taiwan. At one glance many people may mistaken it as a dull looking croissant due to its shape. They do not have the layers like croissant and definitely do not taste like it. I got my first Shio Pan from a well-known local bakery and honestly, I didn’t like it. It was tough and not as buttery as I imagined. I don’t get the hype at all. But the baker in me still wants to find out why this modest looking bun can be the No. 1 best selling item in so many bakeries, so I decided to do a little research.
I discovered that apart from the saltiness from the flaky sea salt, another important selling point is the butter crisp bottom. To truly enjoy the bun, reheating is absolutely necessary. This time I like it much better. After reheating, the texture improved. The base was crisp and buttery as it should be and the interior soft and fluffy with a slight chew to it. A simple bread that people of all ages will enjoy eating again and again without getting tired of it.
Key ingredients to make Shio Pan
Bread flour – use high protein bread flour. Any brand that labelled “bread flour” is fine
Sugar – I like to use this Sakurambo sugar to make bread as it dissolves easily and makes the bread more moist. if you can’t find this sugar, use any fine white sugar
Salt – you will need two different types of salt in this recipe. fine sea salt for adding into the dough and flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top. I like to use fleur de sel as it adds a beautiful saltiness without being too salty
Yeast – use instant yeast. not quick rise yeast. I have not experiment this recipe with natural yeast, you can try if you wish and perhaps share with me your experiment!
Milk and Water – this recipe uses a 50:50 milk:water ratio to hydrate the dough for a soft and fluffy texture
Butter – use French AOP butter for an incredible taste. you will need a small amount of butter for the dough, some melted butter for brushing and strips of butter to wrap into each roll
How to enjoy Shio Pan
Without a doubt, Shio Pan is best enjoyed freshly baked. When eaten warm, the outer crust will be light and crunchy with an incredibly soft and fluffy interior and an irresistible butter crisp base. All of these textures rounded up with savoury crystals of fleur de sel. Truly simple pleasures!
These rolls also keep surprisingly well. Just place them in zipper bags and freeze for up to a month. To serve, reheat frozen butter rolls and serve warm. The butter rolls will taste as good as freshly baked. So for this reason it is definitely wise to make a bigger batch and freeze the extras.
Apart from eating plain, these rolls are perfect canvas to stuff fillings like egg mayo and red bean paste with chunks of butter. Just make a slit from one side of the rolls and insert your preferred fillings.
I can assure you that Shio Pan is one of the easiest bread to make at home. I know these crescent rolls may look complicated to shape, so I’m here to help by sharing an easy shaping method. I’m sure you will get the hang of it in no time! This recipe makes a small batch of 6 pieces using hand kneading method. Nothing to worry at all as the dough is very easy to handle. However if you wish to multiply the recipe, feel free to use the stand mixer.
I posted a tutorial on Instagram Reel. Please have a look to get a visual guidance on shaping Shio Pan.
Shio Pan 塩パン
To make the bread dough
- 210 grams bread flour
- 10 grams fine white sugar
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 70 grams cold milk
- 70 grams cold water
- 7 grams unsalted butter soften
- 15 grams unsalted butter melted - for brushing rolled dough
- 60 grams unsalted butter cold, cut into 6 x 10g strips - for wrapping
- a handful fleur de sel / flaky sea salt for sprinkling on the rolls
- Combine bread flour, sugar, fine sea salt and instant yeast in a medium size mixing bowl. Mix well all the dry ingredients with a whisk or spatula.
- Add in cold milk and water at one go. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it forms a rough dough. Scrap out dough with a bench scraper onto your work surface.
- Perform kneading by using the base of your palm to stretch the dough upwards. Bring the dough back and repeat the stretching process until dough starts to look a bit smoother. You know it's done when there is some resistance to the dough when you stretch. About 5 minutes.
- Add soften butter to the dough and continue to knead until all the butter incorporated and the dough looks slightly smoother with a bit of sheen. About 3 to 5 minutes.Note: since the dough contain very little sugar and butter and does not contain any egg, it won't look super smooth and shiny. No need to aim for that!
- At this point, you can do window pane test. The dough should look well stretched but won't have a smooth window pane effect. That is perfectly ok.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a medium bowl covered with plastic wrap or wet cloth. Let it ferment at room temperature around 25C to 30C for 45 minutes.The dough should double in size by the end of fermentation. You can test whether the fermentation is complete by sprinkling some flour on top of the dough and insert a finger into it, the finger hole should remain open and the dough should feel firm with some elasticity.
- Turn the dough onto your work surface. Lightly press the dough to degas slightly. Weigh the dough and divide into 6 equal pieces. Each piece should weigh around 60 grams.
- Shape each dough into a teardrop shape. To do this, pat to flatten dough into a rough rectangle. Fold top and bottom lengthwise, inwards to the middle. Then fold one of the ends inwards. The seams should form like a Y shape now. Fold top and bottom lengthwise again to seal up the Y dough. You can do this by using the base of your palm to press down the ends or just use fingers to pinch. Place the dough seam side down. It should look like a teardrop shape now. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare butter for shaping. Melt 15 grams of butter and prepare a brush. Set aside. With 60 grams of cold butter, cut up 6 pieces of 10 grams each into a log about 6cm long. Set aside.
- After 15 minutes bench rest, the dough is ready to shape. Place dough seam side up with the sharper end at the top and wider end at the bottom. Using a rolling pin, roll the wider end downwards to flatten. Now if your right hand is holding the rolling pin, then use your left hand to hold the sharper end of the dough. Roll starting from the base all the way upwards and pulling the dough with your left hand as you roll. This way the dough will easily extend to a very long triangle.
- Brush some melted butter on the surface of the dough. Place a piece of butter at the wider base of the dough. Roll up the dough to wrap the butter. Ensure the butter protrude out at both ends. If it doesn't, then press down the middle of the butter to extend towards the ends. (This is to allow the butter to melt down while baking so as to fry the base of the bun) Continue rolling upwards using both thumbs. You should get at least 3 to 4 rounds on each side. Place on baking tray lined with baking paper, seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cover baking tray. Place tray in the oven (without turning on) together with a cup of hot water. The heat from the hot water will create a warm environment for a good fermentation. Ferment in the oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove baking tray and the cup of water from the oven. Place the baking tray aside to let it continue its fermentation for another 15 to 20 minutes. Use this time to preheat your oven. If your oven can adjust top and bottom heat, preheat top 230C bottom 170C. Otherwise, just preheat to 190C.
- Right before baking, sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of each roll. As much or as little as you like. Send into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. The butter rolls should look golden brown and the base should be nicely "fried" to golden crisp. Do note that every oven is different so do check if you require further baking time.
Knead some fun in your life!
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @vanillynbakery on Instagram. I’d love to see your lovely bakes!
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