The Joy of Bread Baking with Tang Zhong Method (汤种法)

Tang Zhong.001

I have always love bread baking but my only gripe was that home baked bread weren’t as soft and fluffy as those bought from the stores and the texture of home baked bread often than not seemed to be denser and would have turned hard and not as tasty the day after.

Not too long ago, someone shared with me a method of adding a pasty roux as part of the ingredient to achieve bread with a softer texture. At that time, I find the idea new and rather troublesome as there’s an extra step of making the paste so due to ignorance I dropped the idea of even trying as I did not know how it should be done.

Lately, as more and more talks surrounded the idea of adding Tang Zhong surfaced, I got curious and was more eager to try after obtaining some very nifty tips from a seasoned baker. To my surprise, it wasn’t that difficult to make the Tang Zhong at all!

You might wonder what is Tang Zhong and how this starchy paste could work wonders in home made bread. In the book 65°C ???? by Yvonne C., it was described as the “secret ingredient” which is originated from Japan, to make soft and fluffy bread. It’s a kind of “starchy paste”(aka water roux starter), heated with 1 part of bread flour in 5 parts of water to 65°C.

It is said that at 65°C, the gluten in the flour absorbs the moisture and become leavened. This moisture absorbed at 65°C is then mixed to the main ingredients of the bread and hence the moisture in the bread dough will be heightened. The end result will be a softer and bouncier bread.

Here’s how you can also make this “secret ingredient” – simple and easy steps. (Many recipes require about 120gms of Tang Zhong, so the recipe shared here is measured according to an approximate of 120gms Tang Zhong).

Tang Zhong Recipe & Method of preparation 

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s a basic bread dough that is versatile and can be used to shape into many different buns or rolls or even loaf.

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

These were the buns, rolls and loaves I’ve baked using the basic Tang Zhong bread recipe

Cinnamon Roll
Heart Shaped Tuna Bun
Bacon Cheese Loaf

Simple isn’t it? With this basic Tang Zhong bread dough, you can whip up a variety of different breads daily for your breakfast and snack! I simply love the aroma of freshly baked bread lingering in the air of my kitchen it is just heavenly! Now you go bake some Tang Zhong bread today! 🙂

*Tang zhong recipe source : Molly Tay & Alice Rachel Neo

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  • It’s look so simple, yet have to try whether I can get it right. Can I use a bread maker to bake the bread loaf?

  • I tried to make the Tangzhong this evening. Since I am bad at gauging when is the right time to turn off the fire, I thought I would use my thermometer to measure till 65c. However, when the mixture reached 50c it was already thickening very quickly and was at a gluten looking stage. I quickly turned off the fire rather than waiting for it to reach 65c. Hope I didn’t over cook the Tangzhong. The dough is mixing in the bread maker right now, keeping fingers crossed that it will turn out well.

  • Hi Annie, yes you may use a bread maker to make the basic bread dough. Just follow the procedure of adding the ingredients according to your bread maker’s instructions (ie. adding the wet ingredient first or after the dried ingredients).

  • Hi Pauline. This is Angeline Teo aka Sgpmum. The Tangzhong worked, my bread turned out soft and fluffy. Thanks for sharing.

  • What is the ratio of Tangzhong to other dry ingredient? ie: If the original recipe asked for 5 C of bread flour, do I use part of the 5 C to make the Tangzhong? Or it the Tangzhong an overall addition?

    Thank you.

  • Hi Pauline,

    How long can we keep the TZ in the fridge? Is the above 30gms of bread flour &
    150gms of water equivalent to 120gms TZ?

  • Hi Charmaine, the ratio of TZ is 1:5 ie. 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water eg. 30gms bread flour : 150gms water. For your second question, no, you’d need to use a separate amt of bread flour to make the TZ.

    Hope that helps.

  • Hi Cecilia, I usually don’t keep my TZ beyond 2 days. You may also observe to see if the colour of the TZ has developed into a grey paste and might hv a strange odour, that’s when it shd be discarded.

    Yes, you’d need separate amt of bread flour to make the TZ.

    Cheers! 🙂

    • Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for your reply but 1 more question, if I’m making the TZ & bread on the same day, do we still have to cover the TZ with the cling wrap or can we put
      the TZ on a bowl to cool it by itself without any cling wrap?

      Pls advise.


  • Hi Cecilia, sorry for this late response. It’s necessary to cover the TZ with a cling wrap bec the top layer of the TZ will hardened if left open. Hope this reply is not too late.

    • Hi Pauline,

      OK, noted for the TZ. No, not at all & it’s better late than no reply. haha
      Thank you so much for your help.

  • Hi Pauline,

    Managed to make TZ & followed by making the bread but after 1 hr to proof
    & increased in size, try to pinch a small dough to make buns, the dough is
    very difficult to handle – very sticky & quickly add some plain flour while
    roll out the dough & add make red bean buns. Still warm, quite nice & this
    morning, a bit hard on the buns but it’s edible.
    Why is the dough sticky, should we add bread, cake or plain flour?
    Pls help to advise.

  • Hi, after proofing for the first time. will shape the dough to make hotdog bun. after shaping do I need to proof again? and what temp do I bake at?

    • Hi Joyce, yes you’d need to proof a second time after shaping. The usual temp to bake the bread in is approx 160C-175C depending on the heat of your oven. Each brand of oven might heat up differently so you’d need to experiment a bit.

  • So wait, I don’t think I understand. So TangzHong is just bread flour and water? I’m trying to make Cream Pan and it says it needs Yangzhong, I just don’t want to mess it up.

    • Emma, Tangzhong is a roux that is made from mixing bread flour with water and having it heated on the stove till it forms a runny paste.

      I am not sure what is yangzhong though.

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