Tangzhong (Water Roux) – Asian Bread Starter

As you can probably read in my previous post, things are SUPER expensive in Luanda. For example, a loaf of soft crust-less “American” bread may cause you around US$ 18. This is mass-produced type of bread, packed in plastic bags, and most probably was produced months before they were on shelves. One of my biggest issues with this type of commercial bread is the preservative. A teenage daughter of a friend of mine once conducted an experiment, and this bread did not go bad, not even a spec of mold. Therefore most households here make their own bread.

I myself am a newbie when it comes to making bread, but ever since I own a bread machine, I tend to get a bit obsessed in making bread. My goal is to get the soft, fluffy and stretchy structure. Just like the kind of bread that I grew up with.

If you ever go to Asia, especially the eastern part, you’ll notice that bread in this part of region is very fluffy. Recently I learned the secret. It is Tangzhong, that is used as a starter. This is considered as a wet ingredient and will be used with other ingredients in making breads.

This 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”(water roux starter), cooked 1 part of bread flour in 5 parts of water to 65°C.

Why does Tangzhong 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.

Ingredients :

  • 50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)
  • Mix flour in water well without any 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.
  • 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. Some people might like to use a thermometer to check the temperature. I don’t own one and I found this simple method works every time. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of Tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. Chill in fridge for several hours. Then it is ready to be used.

Note: When you are ready to use the Tangzhong, just measure out the amount you need and let it rest in room temperature for a while before adding into other ingredients. It can be stored up to a few days as long as it doesn’t turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more.

Source: Christine’s Recipe

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3 thoughts on “Tangzhong (Water Roux) – Asian Bread Starter

  1. […] to my recent epiphany on Tangzhong, I finally comfortable enough to play with my bread machine. The first recipe that I tried was […]

  2. […] 1 cup of butter. Then I found this recipe from Chowhound. What intrigued me was, this recipe used Tangzhong as a key ingredient that holds the buttercream (replacing the function of the excess […]

  3. I really liked your blog! It helped me alot… Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
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