Japanese Curry Bread (Kare Pan) in the basket.

Curry Bread

Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: curry puff, japanese curry
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8
With a savory curry filling, a chewy, springy texture, and a light coating of crispy panko, Japanese Curry Bread - or Kare Pan - is the star of pastries at Japanese bakery shops. If you are a huge fan of Japanese curry, you have to make this insanely delicious bread bun at home. 
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Ingredients

  • 150 g bread flour (1 cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 50 g cake flour (1/3 cup + 1 tsp)
  • 3 g salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt) (1 tsp)
  • 15 g sugar (1 Tbsp + ½ tsp)
  • 3 g instant dry yeast (1 tsp) (See Notes if you use ACTIVE dry yeast)
  • 125 g whole milk (125 ml)
  • 10 g unsalted butter (1 Tbsp)
  • 300 g Japanese curry of your choice (1 ½ cup) (at room temperature, made previous night kept in fridge overnight)
  • 1 large egg (for coating the bread) (forgot to put in the ingredient picture below)
  • 60 g panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (¾ cup) (at room temperature)
  • neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)

Instructions

  1. 1) Gather all the ingredients. Leave the unsalted butter and Japanese curry at room temperature.

    Curry Bread Ingredients

To make the dough:

  1. In a large bowl, combine bread flour, cake flour, kosher salt and sugar. Whisk together.

    Curry Bread 1
  2. Microwave the milk until warm to the touch (95 ºF/35 ºC). Then add in the the instant dry yeast and the warm milk.

    Curry Bread 2
  3. Using the silicone spatula, combine the wet and dry ingredients together until it becomes a rough dough. [1-2 minutes]

    Curry Bread 3
  4. Once the dough becomes a ball, add the butter in the center of the dough and combine well until the butter is incorporated into the dough. At first, the dough will be sticky, wet, and oily and you might want to add more flour, but wait and try kneading a little longer. [2-3 minutes]

    Curry Bread 4
  5. 5) Once you don’t see any big chunks of butter, transfer the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and pliable. Read the tip on kneading below. [5 minutes]

    Curry Bread 5
  6. Tip on kneading: Using the lower part of your palm, push out the dough. Then roll back up as if you’re drawing the number “8” with your hand. Rotate the dough 90 degrees every time you finish drawing “8”.
    Curry Bread 6
  7. After drawing “8” a few times, bang the dough onto the work surface and fold it over away from you. This helps develop gluten (elasticity). Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat drawing “8” again. Continue this process until the dough is smooth, supple, and silky.
    Curry Bread 10
  8. When the dough is moist, smooth, and pliable, form a ball. Place the seam side down on the working surface and twist the ball a few times to close the seam.

    Curry Bread 11
  9. Place the dough back into the bowl, seam side down, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at 100 ºF (38 ºC) for 60 minutes, or until doubled in size (I used proof setting in my oven).

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  10. Dust your finger with flour and poke the center of the dough. If the dough doesn’t close up, it’s ready.

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  11. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently punch/press it down.

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  12. Fold the dough into thirds – widthwise.
    Curry Bread 15
  13. Fold the dough into thirds – lengthwise.
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  14. Turn upside down so the seam is facing down. Twist the dough to form a nice ball shape.

    Curry Bread 17
  15. Measure the weight of the dough on a kitchen scale and divide the number by 8. Roughly cut the dough into 8 pieces.

    Curry Bread 18
  16. Weigh each piece of dough and cut off the extra dough if it weighs more than you calculated.

    Curry Bread 19
  17. Add the extra dough to the smaller dough piece(s). Hide the extra dough in the center of the small dough by pulling the dough from the side.

    Curry Bread 20
  18. Twist the dough to seal the seam on your hand. Place the 8 dough balls on the baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.

    Curry Bread 21

To form the curry bread:

  1. Place the dough seam side up and flatten out each piece with your hand. Fold in thirds – widthwise.

    Curry Bread 22
  2. Fold in thirds – lengthwise, and then turn it upside down so the seam side is on the bottom.

    Curry Bread 23
  3. Flatten again, and flip so the seam side is up.

    Curry Bread 24
  4. Roll out into a 3.5 inch (9 cm) circle using a rolling pin.

    Curry Bread 25
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. One by one, thin out the edges of the dough with your fingers, with the center thicker than edges. The circle should be 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.

    Curry Bread 26
  6. Place the dough seam side up and put 1 to 1.5 Tbsp of curry paste in the center of the circle. Gather the opposing edges of the circle and fold the dough in half. Remember, KEEP THE CURRY OUT from the edges! It’s the most crucial part. If you didn’t read my post, read the tip #2 now.

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  7. Tightly pinch the edges to seal well. If the edges are not pinched and pressed tightly, the seam might open up during proofing/deep frying.

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  8. Next, to double secure, fold the edges over to one side at least once, like folding a brown lunch bag. Press the edges again to secure.

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  9. Keeping the seam side on the bottom, put the bread back onto the silicone mat and cover with a damp towel while working on the rest of the dough.

    Curry Bread 30
  10. Once all the dough has curry filling, crack the egg into a bowl and whisk well. Place the panko in a shallow bowl/tray. Using a pastry brush, coat the formed dough with egg and then panko.

    Curry Bread 31
  11. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rise at 100 ºF (38 ºC) for 45-60 minutes or until 1.5 times its size (I used proof setting in my oven). If you touch the dough with your finger, indentation will stay on the dough.

    Curry Bread 32

To deep fry the bread:

  1. Heat the deep frying oil to 320ºF (160ºC) in a pot. Place 2-3 curry breads into the oil, seam side down. After a few seconds, flip it around so the seam side is now up. You may need to hold it with a pair of tongs. Keep turning them while they deep fry, until they cook to a golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the oil well and transfer to the wire rack or some paper towels to drain while it cools. Serve hot or at room temperature.

    Curry Bread 33

Recipe Notes

Cake Flour: If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour and corn starch. Here’s how.

  1. Prepare 1 cup all purpose flour in the bowl.
  2. Remove 2 Tbsp from the bowl.
  3. Add 2 Tbsp corn starch back to the bowl.
  4. Now you have 1 cup cake flour.
  5. Be sure to sift the flour to distribute the cornstarch well before using it in your cake batter.

 

Instant Dry Yeast: If you're using active dry yeast, it requires being activated in a little bit of warm water (110F/43C) before being added to the rest of the ingredients. In this recipe, add the active dry yeast in 110F/43C milk, hotter than the temperature specified in the recipe because if the milk is not hot enough, the yeast won't dissolve nicely.

 

Whole milk: I highly recommend using whole milk instead of non-fat or reduced fat milk.

 

Japanese Curry: Make sure the curry is solid pasty texture and not liquid so that you can scoop the paste and wrap in the dough. My recommendation is to make the curry one day before you plan to make curry bread, chill overnight in the fridge, and bring back to the room temperature while preparing the dough.

 

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.