Saturday, 28 January 2012

Fresh from the Oven: Tangzhong Loaf

Fresh from the Oven is the monthly bread baking challenge that is currently being hosted by Silvia and Ivan from mushitza.

To me, the Tangzhong method sounded more like a particularly painful and little known Olympic martial art and not a method for baking a very soft and fluffy loaf using a water roux.

Popularised by Yvonne Chen and her book 'The 65º Bread Doctor', this method keeps the bread moist and fresh for a number of days. It doesn't come as a huge surprise to therefore discover that most Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Filipino bakeries have fallen head over yeast in love with this method.

And the recipe itself isn't complicated- there are no fancy pants ingredients or exotic flavour combinations. 

My only tiny, tiny complaint (and for such a lovely loaf, it was worth it) is that the dough is mighty, mighty sticky. Silvia and Ivan advise using an electrical mixer for this reason and my MagiMix almost had to be resuscitated by the end.

Tangzhong Loaf:

For the Tangzhong
  • 30g flour
  • 150g cold water.
For the Dough
  • 350g strong flour
  • 5g instant yeast 
  • 55g sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 1 egg
  • 125g milk 
  • 120g tangzhong
  • 30g butter, melted and cooled
For Glaze
  • the rest of the tangzhong 
1. For the tangzhong: whisk together cold water and flour and cook over low heat, stirring all the time until the temperature on a thermometer reaches 65ºC. Leave the tangzhong to cool down at room temperature before using it. 
2. For the dough: Combine together flour, sugar, yeast and salt then add in milk with the tangzhong and egg. Mix all the ingredients into a soft dough then add in the butter. Knead for 15 – 20 minutes 
3. Cover the bowl and leave it to double in bulk
4. Knock the dough down on a lightly floured counter top then form into an oval loaf. Transfer to a floured baking tray. Cover with a teatowel and let it double in bulk again
5. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Brush with the rest of the tangzhong and bake for around 30 – 35 minutes until nicely golden

Baker's notes...
  • I accidently forgot to leave aside 30g of the tangzhong for the glaze and threw it in with the rest of the mixture. Oops.
  • This loaf lasted an amazing six days and remained as fresh on the sixth day as it was when it first came out of the oven
  • I'll definitely make it again- though may need to sweet talk the Magimix into this


  1. The name sounds very exotic! Have never heard of it before. It looks great and I can't believe it was as fresh on the 6th day as the first - definitely must make this! I'm not sure my magimix would cope either!!

  2. This month we've made the recipe 4 times on different occasions and I found that there is no problem if you add more flour in order for the dough to be not so sticky, especially if the flour is not very strong. The end result is the same fluffy bread.
    Our hand mixer was out of breath too for all the mixing :)

  3. It sounds great, we're making our own bread this year too, but with 4 people a loaf only needs to last 3 days. I'm going to get my son to try this, he is our official bread baker! Jude x

  4. OH no! I missed the Fresh from the Oven challenge again! Been so busy with dad, travelling and new blog! The loaf looks wonderful though Kate!

  5. It looks great, and it's always a bonus to have a loaf that keeps so well. I tend to freeze all of mine just after making, because otherwise I wouldn't get through it quickly enough! I've used the cooked grain method before, though with a Dan Lepard recipe.

  6. My Kitchenaid was begging for mercy by the end of 20 minutes of kneading this sticky dough too! The results were worth it though. I needed my pan back and chucked the remaining tangzhong too :) Your loaf looks lovely.

  7. Looks fantastic - just imagining a slice lathered with butter ...mmmmmmmmmmmm


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