My reading skills appear to be as brilliant as ever….
…the internet to the rescue:
Tangzhong bread making was developed by the Chinese for a softer and fluffy bread. TangZhong method was originated from Japan. The most amazing part is, the bread made with this method stays soft and fluffy even after a few days. Simply reheat the slice of bread/bun in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, you’ll have a warm, soft and fluffy bun on hand, just like it’s fresh out of the oven.
– Shoon Yin, “Bread Making Technique: Tangzhong Dough (Water Roux)”, Shoon Yin’s Recipes
A few years ago, an amazing method of making this kind of soft and fluffy bread was introduced by Yvonne Chen 陳郁芬 who wrote a Chinese book, entitled “65°C湯種麵包” (Bread Doctor). In her book, tangzhong “湯種” is described as the “secret ingredient” which is originated from Japan, to make soft and bouncy bread. It’s actually a kind of “flour paste” (aka water roux starter), cooked 1 part of bread flour in 5 parts of water to 65°C. So it’s very natural and handy to make. The Chinese community has been fascinated and crazy about this bread making method ever since.
Why does tangzhong 湯種 (flour paste) work so amazingly that can produce fluffy bread and stay soft for many days? At 65°C, the gluten in the flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. When tangzhonog is added into other ingredients of the bread, the bread dough will be heightened and produces softer bread.
-Christine Ho, Japanese Style Bacon and Cheese Bread (Tangzhong Method 湯種法) | Christine’s Recipes
So what is the tangzhong method?
Anyone who’s ever made a pudding cake has, for all intents and purposes, employed the tangzhong method. It’s the same basic idea: you add a pre-prepared starch gel to your batter/dough and what you get in return is a finished product that’s higher and lighter than it would otherwise be, that retains more moisture and that has a very tight and even crumb. The big difference of course that in a tangzhong (essentially “soup starter” in Chinese) there’s no sugar or flavorings in the mix — just flour and water combined at a ratio of 1-5 and cooked to roughly 150 degrees Fahrenheit. […]
[Y]ou get a higher loaf in the bargain. And because all the water in the gel undermines gluten development the individual bubbles never get very big, which means a very fine crumb. Also, the loaf is very tender and again because of all the moisture there is almost no crust.
A very, very neat trick, all from a little hot water and flour. Cool.
– Joe Pastry, “So what is the tangzhong method?”, Baking Techniques, History, & Science
I thought this technique sounded like a great idea! And everyone else raved about the results. But, of course, I have to be different. Don’t I? (continue reading )