Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making Tang Zhong Bread

So what is tang zhong? It is a water roux that gives the bread a bouncy and soft texture. The role that tang zhong plays in Asian breads is as important as those moldy starters that European breads use. Almost all bakeries in Taiwan, China, Japan, or Korea specialize in soft rather than chewy breads. Tang zhong is very volatile. You can stuff various ingredients in the dough and knead it with nuts, oats, raisins, or red give it more flavor.

I made several types of bread from tang zhong. Because the dough is volatile, it is very forgiving. I can over pour some milk and cream but still end up with a some tasty Hokkaido milk bread. Another time I overstuffed the dough with red bean and the stuffing was pushed out of the dough during the baking process. No biggy, it was like eating toast with red bean jam at the end! (If they weren't tasty though, I would have dumped them right into the trash can!)

So the first step is to make tang zhong--the star ingredient. All you need is flour and water. The ratio is 1 gram of flour to 5 gram of water. I usually do the following:

50g All Purpose flour
250g drinking water

Mix flour and water in a pot on low heat
Make sure there is no flour lump
Remove pot from heat when you can leave a mark on the roux and the mark won't disappear
Pour the roux into a clean container
Immediately cover the roux with plastic wrap to prevent the top from drying out

Look at the bottom right side of the bowl, you can leave a visible mark that won't disappear right away
A 50:250 ratio is enough to make about 3 loaves of bread. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Use the following recipe to get used to working with tang zhong. It can be sticky to work with at first, but practice makes perfect. Note* I knead my own bread, if you have a stand mixer, the stickiness is not a problem.

1 comment:

  1. i tried the ones in the picture and they were great! the red bean is surprisingly sweet... but not too sweet.

    are those just called Hokkaido milk bread as well?