After successfully making soft and fluffy milk bread using the “tangzhong” method, I’ve been excited to try more recipes using the tangzhong method. I love how soft, fluffy and bouncy the bread is and how high it rises.
For those of you unfamiliar with the tangzhong method, a few years ago, a woman named Yvonne Chen wrote a book entitled 65 degrees Bread Doctor, which details her secret ingredient to keeping bread soft and bouncy. She uses a flour and water mixture, cooked to 65 degrees C, to make a flour paste called “tangzhong” which is added to the bread. What I loved about this idea is that it is natural and doesn’t use chemicals.
Christine’s recipes, which was where I found my first tangzhong bread recipe, has another tangzhong recipe, making bread rolls filled with custard coconut. I’ve had similar rolls from chinese bakeries. I normally don’t like filling in my breads. So instead, I decided to make the rolls and put some raisins in the bread rather than making a filling.
When I put the bread rolls together in the springfoam cake pan the raw dough rolls still had spaces between them. But when they baked, they all came together like they were supposed to.
The bread was really soft, just like the milk toast I made. It was soft, fluffy and I really like the addition of the plump raisins. You can easily pull apart each roll. I can’t wait to try out even more recipes. These tangzhong method breads have been devoured by my family.
One thing I did differently is that I put the dough into my stand mixer, and it made such a difference! The stand mixer was easily able to mix the dough and created a very elastic dough.
2½ cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120g tangzhong (click here for the tangzhong recipe and directions. Please note 120g is less than the recipe makes, it’s only a little more than half so do not just add the entire tz recipe into the bread. Save the rest for another loaf)
2 tsp instant yeast (instant!! not active dry yeast!)
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
1. Make sure you have tangzhong already made from the night before or a few hours before you are going to make the bread as it needs to cool for a few hours in the fridge.
2. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue kneading. If you own a breadmaker or a stand mixer powerful enough to knead dough, I HIGHLY recommend using it. The dough takes a long time to knead. I used my Cuisinart standmixer to knead. It took about 18-20 minutes. You want the dough to be elastic. So if you were to take a part of it and stretch it out, you can stretch it to a very thin membrane without it breaking. (I wanted to take a picture but I made the bread at night and the lighting was bad.)
3. Gather the dough into a ball shape. Take a large bowl and grease with oil. Place dough into greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
4. Deflate and divide the dough into six equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Roll out each part with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Place a handful of raisins across the surface of dough. Roll the rolling pin on top of the surface of the dough so that they raisins get embedded in the dough. Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold to meet on top. Turn the dough over, so that the folds face down and roll and flatten dough with pin. Flip dough again, so folded side faces up. Roll the dough up from top to bottom. Knead into a ball shape. Repeat this step of rolling and wrapping fillings with the rest of your dough. With seals of the dough balls facing down, place the six balls into a greased 8 inch springfoam baking pan, covered with cling wrap or a wet towel (I placed all six dough balls along the circle edge of the pan so that the middle was left empty. When it baked, the bread puffed up enough that the rolls/petals all came together). Leave it for the second round of proofing, about 45 to 60 minutes, until double in size. (Pictured below are the steps, but without the raisins. I did this for another loaf I made and I forgot to take step by step for the raisin bread.)
6. Whisk an egg and brush egg wash on surface of buns (this will create the shiny finish). Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.