Bread Challenge 3 – Soft Bread with Tangzhong

My third attempt on bread baking: recipe with “tangzhong”. This is by far my favourite method and I have made several batches of bread using this very method. Tangzhong (aka water rouge starter) method was introduced by Yvonne Chen in one of her  Chinese cookbooks, was called as a secret ingredient that originated from Japan for soft fluffy bread and stays so for few days.

Tangzhong is essentially a 1 part of bread flour cook with 5 part of liquid (water or milk) to 65°C. This water roux will trap and retain moisture during baking hence lighter and moist bread as well as longer shelf life. This tangzhong can be pre-made up to 3 days ahead of baking bread if stored in fridge, as long as it has not turned grey and it needs to be at room temperature before mixing with other bread ingredients. I usually made mine the night before or even few hours before.

Without further ado, here is the recipe which I have modified a bit and changed the filling to suit to our family’s liking (in fact, I have used this method to make the Roti Boy Wannabe and am happy with the result). The original recipe was from Christine’s Recipe blog. 

Ingredients of tangzhong:

  • 25 gm bread flour
  • 65 ml milk
  • 60 ml water

Ingredients of bread:

  • 350 gm bread flour
  • 55 gm caster sugar
  • 5 gm salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 125 ml milk
  • 120 gm tangzhong
  • 5 to 6 gm/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 30 gm (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)


  • whatever you like (I have used sausages, nutella, cheese spread, grated cheddar with sweet condensed milk)

Method of making tangzhong:

  1. Mix flour in water well until there is no lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
  2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. Remove from heat. (Some people might like to use a thermometer to check the temperature. After a few trials, I found this simple method works every time.)
  3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let it cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature.  Just measure out the amount you need.

Method of making bread:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients: 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 you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Mind you, it’d be quite messy at this stage. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done. The time of kneading all depends on how hard and fast you knead. (Note: if you own a bread maker, it will make your life so much easier, unfortunately I don’t)
  2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin and put in the filling you like, then roll it up again into a ball.
  5. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick tin . Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes, or until the dough rises up.
  6. Brush whisked egg on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely.


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