I first  fell in love   with the  the  pillowy  soft   breads of  the  Asian  bakeries   years  back . But  never did I   attempt to   recreate   them in my own  kitchen.  I  was  convinced  that this  kind of    softness  is not achievable without  chemicals . Only years  later   did I  find   out  about  the  Tangzhong  and  how   the   same   soft , feather light breads  can be made  at  home   with  all natural ingredients .
What is   Tangzhong ?  Simply put  Tabgzhong is a flour  and  water roux .  It is  added  to the  yeast bread  to give it a lighter  crumb .    The   cooked  dough   helps  to retain  the  moisture  in the  bread   while   baking .How  is  it  made ?

Take 1 part of  flour  and add 5 parts of  water to it   and  mix  well till all  lumps  disappear .  Heat  this mixture to  149 degree F or  65 degree C   till it  becomes a gelatinous  mixture .  The  roux is  then allowed to cool down and  added  to the  rest  of  the    bread  ingredients .

Most of  the  tangzhong  breads  found  in the   market  are  made  using   the   bread flour or  all purpose flour , but  it works  well   with   whole  wheat  flour  as  well

 To make Tangzhong  first we  mix  one  part of  the  flour  to  5 part of  water  (by  weight )  .  I will  give  approximate   volume  measurements  in   the   recipe . It is always  better  to  weigh .
Mix  it  together  until  well  blended and  lump free . Heat  it over medium  heat   stirring .  I would  recommend  stirring  continuously   at  least  the  first  time  you  make  it ,  to prevent  lumps   from  forming .  The  mix  need  to be   heated  to  65C .  But  you  do not  have   worry  about    getting the    candy  thermometer  . We  can  pretty much accurately predict  this  stage  by looking  at  the  roux  .Once  the  roux  reaches  the  magic  temperature of  65C   your  spoon  will start  leaving  a  visible  trail  all the   way to the  bottom of  the pan  as  in the picture . At  this  point  the consistency of  the  mixture  has  changed . It  is  markedly thicker  and  gelatinous . This is  your  cue  to  turn off  the  gas .

Transfer  the  contents  to a  another  dish  and  cover    with a  plastic wrap  or   a  snug lid   to prevent  the  dough   from   drying  out .  Cool it  to  room  temperature  before  using .

Take  the   required  amount of  Tanghong    to use  in  your  recipes . It can be  stored  tightly  wrapped   in  the   fridge  for  2  to 3  days .

Few  Numbers  for  a  serious  baker
As a  rule  of  thumb  use upto  10% of  the   flour  by weight , in the  original  recipe  to make  the  .  Adding  more  roux  tends  to   give a   denser  crumb . As always  in baking it is  beast  to make  your   roux by  weight following  the  1:5  ratio,   I part  flour  to  5  parts of  liquid .

Basic Tangzhong

Flour  – 30 gms  (1/4 C)
Water – 150 gms (3/4 C)


Whisk   the  measured  flour  and  water  together in a  heatproof  dish .  Make  sure  that  there  are  no lumps .  Transfer  to   stove  top  and heat  at  medium heat   stirring   continuously .
Once  the   mixture is  heated  to  65C or   the   spoon  starts   leaving   trails    reaching  the    bottom of  the   pan   turn  the  heat off .

Transfer  to a   dry bowl  and   cover  tightly  with a  plastic  wrap or a   tight  lid .  Cool  to  room  temperature  before  using .

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