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Published July 25, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn how to make Tangzhong which is a Chinese baking technique used to increase moistness, softness, and longevity in soft white bread. You will not believe how much this will help your bread-making.
Tangzhong (tan-zawng), is an Asian baking technique that combines a small amount of the flour and liquid from a bread recipe that is combined and cooked until it becomes a thick paste. Once that mixture is cooled to room temperature, it is acceptable to add to the dough during the dough-making process.
Tangzhong, which is sometimes referred to as a water roux, becomes gelatinized during the cooking process to stabilize the wheat starches in the bread. This method has become more and more popular due to its efficient benefits. A standard Tangzhong will be 5% to 10% of the total recipe.
- Longevity – Adding tangzhong will increase shelf life as it aids in preventing the recrystallization of wheat starches that make them stale.
- Moistness – This will naturally increase the overall hydration rate in the dough recipe making the bread or buns incredibly moist.
- Softness – The bread is incredibly softer when using it.
- Rise – Due to the higher hydration percentage, as the bread bakes, the liquid in the dough recipe pushes up on the top of the bread, causing it to have more rise in the buns.
Is It the Same ad Yudane?
Yudane is the Japanese version of tangzhong but means the exact same thing as tangzhong. The only difference is that flour is combined with boiling water to make a paste. It is then stored in the refrigerator overnight before use. This tends to be chunkier and less smooth than tangzhong.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Flour – You can use all-purpose or bread flour.
- Water – Tap or bottled water works fine.
- Milk – I like to use whole milk, but 1% or 2% can be used.
How to Make a Tangzhong
In a medium-sized pot, add the flour and water and whisk until it becomes smooth and combined like a slurry.
Next, whisk in the milk until it is combined.
Transfer the pot to a cooktop burner over low heat and continually whisk.
It will take about 7 to 10 minutes for the mixture to become a thick, smooth paste. Think of a thick version of cream of wheat.
Remove the tangzhong pot from the cooktop and let it sit until it’s cooled to room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes. Use or store.
What to Use It In
Tangzhong is good to use in any bread recipe. It will usually be at least 10% of the total flour weight using bakers’ percentages.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: It is best to use tangzhong the day of, but you can make it up to 1 day ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and store the tangzhong in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. This will not freeze well.
Chef Notes + Tips
- This method can help extend the shelf life of bread by up to 4 days.
- The temperature at which the milk and flour are heated when stirring is exactly 149°.
How to Make Tangzhong
- 2 tablespoons bread flour
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup whole milk
- add the flour and water to a medium-sized pot, and whisk until it becomes smooth and combined like a slurry.
- Next, whisk in the milk until it is combined.
- Transfer the pot to a cooktop burner over low heat and continually whisk.
- It will take about 7 to 10 minutes for the mixture to become a thick, smooth paste. Think of a thick version of cream of wheat. It should get to 149°.
- Remove the tangzhong pot from the cooktop and let it sit until it’s cooled to room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes. Use or store.
- What to Use It In
- Tangzhong is good to use in any bread recipe. Using bakers ' percentages, it will usually be at least 10% of the total flour weight.