Saturday, 17 September 2011

Wholemeal bread - tangzhong method

I first saw this in  Christine's Recipes and was instantly intrigued by it.  I’ve been making my own breads on the good old bread-maker for over 1 year now.  As much as the home made breads are healthier and preservative-free, it’s almost impossible to get it as soft and fluffy as commercial varieties.  I’m told that additives are added to get that texture.  However the Tangzhong (literal translation “to plant soup”) method uses a water-roux starter which produces a similar soft, fluffy texture without additives.  It is also called the 65C method as the water roux is cooked to 65C.  At 65C, the gluten in the flour becomes ‘gelatinized”, which then absorbs more water.  When the tangzhong is added to the bread ingredients, it adds to the moisture level and produces a softer textured bread.
It does sound a little fiddly, what with the 65C temperature and all that, but trust me, it's quite simple and I didn’t use a thermometer at all.  As a plus point my bread turned out correctly the first time. 

Being the lazy git that I am, I used the bread-maker for the most part.  You can also do it the manual way - ie knead by hand, but it is harder work.

The basic tangzhong is 1 part bread flour to 5 parts water.
The recipe I used is adapted from Christine’s blog. 

Ingredients of tangzhong (湯種)

  • 25gm bread flour
  • 125ml/ 1/2 cup water
Ingredients of bread:
  • 125ml/ ½cup milk
  • 120gm tangzhong (amount above)
  • 3tbsp olive oil ( can substitute with butter)
    • 56gm egg (equals to 1 large egg)
    • 200gm wholemeal bread flour
    • 150gm bread flour
    • 5gm/1tsp salt
    • 7gm/1tbsp+1tsp milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
    • 55gm/3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
    • 5 to 6gm/2 tsp instant yeast
    To make tangzhong:
    1. Mix the water into the flour, stir well to remove any lumps.  Cook over medium low heat and keep stirring with a whisk or spatula to prevent it from burning.will
    2. The mixture will become thicker and thicker. Once you start seeing ‘lines” appear when you stir, its done.  All this takes about 2 – 3 minutes, and the end result is somewhat like runny custard.  (I threw away quite a few batches because it was too thick).  Remove from heat.
    3. Pour out into a bowl, cover with a cling wrap sticking to the surface of the tangzhong to prevent a skin from forming.  Cool before using.  I’ve kept it overnight in the fridge before, and it’s fine.  Just bring it up to room temperature before you use.
    To make bread:
    1. Using a bread maker, start with wet ingredients and add in dry ingredients with the yeast last.  Use the dough setting and knead for approximately 25 – 30 minutes.  The initial dough will be feel very wet and sticky.  When its ready, the dough should be smooth and elastic. 
    2. Proof the dough until double its size.  Time for proofing is about 60 minutes.  I leave it in the bread maker to proof. 
    3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Shape it into ball shapes, cover with a cling wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into a longish-oval shape.  Take the lower edge and fold it 1/3 of the way up.  Take the top edge and fold it 1/3 of the way down.  See photo.
    5. Flip the dough over seal-side down, roll it out again.  Turn it over again (seal-side on top) and roll it up like a swiss-roll.  See photo.
    6. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin.  Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 - 60 minutes, or until the dough is double in size.
    7. Brush whisked egg on surface.   I use the bread maker “bake” setting.  You can bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C/356F for 35 – 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.  Serve with your favourite jams.  I love mine with peanut butter and strawberry jam.
    fold into thirds
    roll swiss roll style
    just like 3 little piggies sitting in the loaf tin

    voila - cooling on a wire tray




    1. Looks good and doesn't seem too difficult so I shall have to give it a go soon!! :)

    2. Your bread looks delicious, I could eat a slice right now. Happy weekend.

    3. Hi Slyvia
      Do have a go and let me know how it turns out. Cheers!

    4. Hi Suzi,
      Thank you for your comment - do have a try, and you can always substitute out the egg & dairy ingredients if you are vegan.


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