Soft and fluffy Raisin rolls

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 springform 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.

Raisin rolls (adapted from this recipe)


2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp sugar
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.

Here’s a printable recipe:

Raisin Rolls

The secret to soft and fluffy bread like you might find in a Chinese bakery is a flour and water mixture called tangzhong. It's cooked to a certain temperature, cooled, and added to the bread recipe here. Plan to make a batch ahead of time (the recipe is linked below) before making these raisin rolls.


  • 2½ cups bread flour
  • 3 tbsp+2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • ½ cup milk
  • 120g tangzhong (see note)
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces and softened at room temperature


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center of the mixture and place one of the eggs, milk, and tangzhong in it. Switch to the dough hook attachment and, on medium speed, knead the ingredients until a dough forms. Add the butter and continue kneading for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You should be able to stretch a piece of the dough very thin without it tearing.
  2. Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball shape and place it in the bowl and cover it with a wet towel for 40 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  3. Deflate and divide the dough into six equal pieces and form each into a ball. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll each dough ball into an oval shape. Sprinkle a handful of raisins across the dough and, using your rolling pin, press the raisins into 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 the rolling 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 the dough balls.
  5. Place the dough balls seam side down in a prepared 8-inch springform baking pan leaving the space in the center clear. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a wet towel for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the rolls have doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the other egg in a small bowl and brush it on top of the rolls. Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
One batch of tangzhong will yield enough for two batches of bread and the leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Recipe adapted from Christine's Recipes

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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22 comments on “Soft and fluffy Raisin rolls”

  1. How lovely your bread! I already try to make a bread with TZ from her recept too and I know that I falling in love with a soft and fluffy bread ;d I think you should try an apple custard bun from her blogg too! and you will love it like me 😉

  2. I’m loving your series on this milk bread…these little raisin rolls look sweet! =) I might have to give this a try over the holidays! =)

  3. If I use all purpose flour for the Tangzhong, will it work? Thanks!

    • I’ve never actually tried using all purpose flour. I’ve always used bread flour. So I don’ t know the answer to that unfortunately.

  4. May I know how long this bread keeps at room temperature. I’ve read some blogs that says that after 2 days it will smell terrible, is it true? Thanks.

  5. Hi! Your soft breads look absolutely wonderful ! What kind of oven do you use ? My rolls turned out somewhat drier and browner on the surface, do you cover yours during baking ? I’m craving for char siu soft buns, and yours seems to be the perfect tangzhong bread recipe… But I think I still have to improve my skills !
    Anyway, thanks for this nice website 🙂

    • I just used my regular stove oven. I didn’t cover mine during baking but if you are having that problem with it cooking too fast, you might want to tent it with foil on top to prevent that. good luck!

  6. I make these rolls tonight and they came out perfect. I love this recipe!

  7. how come i have super sticky dough? coz didn’t mix long enough? or anything that does wrong?

    • Well it could be several reasons. If you didn’t knead long enough that will cause super sticky dough. Also if you have too much moisture. Did you add the entire tz mixture, or only 120grams? Because 120 grams is about half of what the TZ mixture makes.

  8. I’ve tried this recipe and turned out very well…! the bread was moist, fluffy, with cotton like texture. so happy with the result. I live in Jakarta, Indonesia and this type of soft bread is the most popular here. Almost all well known local bakeries here are producing breads using the similar method…at first I was worried because the dough looked very sticky and wet. But after 15 minutes of high speed kneading the dough started to look blends in well. Thanks for the recipe …

    • The bread I get at chinese bakeries taste like this too. It’s so great being able to make my own. Glad it worked out for you!

  9. Hello! 🙂 I’m wondering how many raisins I should add per roll and how to plump the raisins? Is this possible to be baked as a loaf instead of buns? 

    Thank you so much and your site is gorgeous!

    • The raisins should be divided evenly between the four sections. Also they plump up on their own when they bake. This recipe does make a loaf, not buns. The process of dividing it into four sections helps give it the fluffy texture, but it bakes up as one loaf with four distinguishable sections

  10. Hi. I have played with your recipe and found that I get excellent results without the two-step TZ.  I prepare the TZ by whisking the water and flour together in a microwave bowl and then heating in microwave for exactly 30 seconds.  When it comes out, it’s at the perfect temperature and texture. A couple of good whisks and it’s smooth and silky.  I allow it too cool for the time that it takes me to put the other ingredients – except the butter – into the bowl of my Kitchenaid.  Using the dough hook, I combine the ingredients and then add the butter. The Kitchenaid does the rest of the work, kneading all the ingredients for about 10 minutes or until there are no longer visible chunks of butter. Instead of dividing the dough before adding the raisins, I add the raisins once the dough has reached the desired consistency and before rising. I the divide and roll as usual.

  11. Perfect recipe! I have done this many times and i love it! Highly recommended even to first timers..????????

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