Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tangzhong Bread

For the second time we are hosting the January Fresh from the Oven challenge.

This time we decided to make bread using the Tangzhong (water roux) method. It was Yvonne Chen's book "The 65º C Bread Doctor" published in the 1990s that made this method so popular. We however don't have the book but took the recipe from Christine's Recipes.

It's the texture that differs this bread from any other type of bread. It's extremely fluffy, soft and tender. This is achieved due to the use of water roux – 1 part bread flour is being cooked in 5 parts of water to 65ºC. The water roux keeps baked breads moist, soft and fresh for days. The reason – when cooked to 65ºC “the gluten in the flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. When tangzhonog is added into other ingredients of the bread, the bread dough will be heightened and produces softer bread.” - this is how Christine explains it.

We've made this recipe several times and it indeed produces the most fluffiest bread we've ever made. The only problem is that the dough is very wet and the easiest way to knead it is using an electric mixer – sometimes the 15-20 minutes of kneading are really challenging for our hand mixer. But it's been a fortnight since we're having the so longed Kmix stand mixer and she's giving us a very helpful hand in the kneading. But I still haven't come out with a name for her. For now I'm calling her “The Red Gorgeous”.

The dough is equally good as for a loaf bread as well for small buns, plain or stuffed with cheese, dry fruits, bacon, herbs, etc...

This week we even baked kozunak(rich Easter bread, no matter Easter is months away) using the tangzhong starter and it was superb.

Drop by the FFO site to see how everybody's tangzhong bread turned out.

Tangzhong Bread Recipe
Adapted from Christine's Recipes

For the Tangzhong
  • 30 gr flour;
  • 150 gr cold water.
For the Dough:
  • 350 gr strong flour;
  • 5 gr instant yeast (or 15 gr fresh yeast);
  • 55 gr sugar(for not so sweet bread we're using 15gr);
  • 5 gr salt;
  • 1 egg;
  • 125 gr milk (buttermilk works too);
  • 120 gr tangzhong;
  • 30 gr butter, melted and cooled.
For Glazing:
  • the rest of the tangzhong - it adds gloss and nice golden colour to the crust during baking.
Note: Very strong flour is needed for making this bread, because the higher the gluten content – the more moisture would be absorbed. Otherwise the dough would be extremely wet. We've tried the recipe with all purpose flour and had to add 100 more grams of flour in order to obtain a workable dough. All the same, it produced the same soft and fluffy bread.

Prepare the tangzhong. Whisk together cold water and flour (there should be no lumps) and cook over low heat (stirring all the time) until the temperature reaches 65ºC.

If you don't have a thermometer – no problem – cook until the spoon you're stirring with leaves a trace. The mixture should have the consistency of something in the middle between crème anglaise and pastry cream. For more directions look here.

Leave the tangzhong to cool down at room temperature before using it.

Prepare the dough. Dissolve yeast in the milk. Combine together flour, sugar and salt then add in milk with the yeast, tangzhong and egg. Use your hand or stand mixer equipped with the dough hooks to mix all the ingredients into a soft dough then add in the butter. Let the mixer do the kneading part for 15 – 20 minutes. You can say if the dough is ready by tearing a small piece of it and stretching it to a very thin membrane before it tears. Cover the bowl and leave it to become double in bulk.

Knock the dough down on a lightly floured counter top, give it a quick knead just to let the gas escape, then form it as desired – a loaf or small buns. We made this form scroll down to see how it's folded. Transfer to buttered loaf pan or lined with paper sheet pan if making buns. Cover with plastic wrap and let it double in bulk again.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Brush with the rest of the tangzhong and bake for around 30 – 35 minutes until nicely golden.


  1. Such a brilliant method and one I had never heard of before. Really excellent results. Clever you - and your loaf looks wonderful.

  2. I love bread made using this method...yours look awesome, light and so fluffy.
    Hope you have a great week ahead :)

  3. This bread is new to me. Wow. I need to start making bread from scratch again.

  4. I just heard of this method and I'm wondering if anyone has tried using part whole wheat flour, even white whole wheat?

    1. SuzOH, one of the FFO members - Sally from My Custard Pie - tried it with rye flour and it turned out very well. You could check it here

    2. Thanks, I saw her post - I think it should work then using whole wheat instead of rye. I'm going to give it a try.

    3. I think it should work too, when it works with rye then why not with whole wheat flour. Please, do share how it turned out :)

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  6. Have you ever made BAGELS with Tangzhong starter? Will it be too soft for bagels texture?



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