Friday, October 16, 2015

Babes Bake Dreamy Milk Bread

Over the course of a number of recent years I've baked a lot of different breads, but our Kitchen of the Month, Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories, challenged the Babes with a technique I had never tried. For Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread, you start by cooking bread flour and water until it thickens up. Basically the starch is cooking. If you have ever thickened a gravy with a slurry of flour and water or with a mixture of butter and flour, the same thing happens...the heat causes the starch to cook and thicken the mixture.

Of course I'm still not sure why pre-cooking some of the starch should lead to a light, fluffy bread, but it does. I decided to use my dough to make pan rolls and they all rose beautifully and the resulting rolls were light and soft and slightly chewy with a good yeast taste and thin crust. I know this not because I have gone back to eating gluten-ful breads, sadly, especially ones with butter and milk in them, but because Sweetie agreed to taste them for me and give me feedback. He enjoyed them and said that they were not too sweet (which is good since I used half the sugar) and that he really liked the fluffy texture, but that it was still substantial when you were eating it; it didn't turn into a deflated pancake like balloon breads.

This is a pretty easy bread. It takes only minutes to make the tangzhong mixture. Then you let it cool to room temperature and make the bread. The recipe called for a couple of hours of refrigeration, but it doesn't really need that as long as you are making the bread the same day. If you decide to make rolls as I did, just divide the dough into pieces that weigh pretty much the same as each other for best results. Even though I made 12 rolls, they were still large rolls. Next time I might divide the dough in half and made two pans of eight roll per pan with the same amount of dough. The dough is a dream to work with as long as you knead it lots as the recipe calls for.

You are going to want to make these, so why not be a Buddy? Send Karen an e-mail with a short description of your experience baking this bread and a photo for the round-up. Bake and send the e-mail to her between now and October 29th. Hope you will bake with us!

If I make the Linky thing work correctly, you can click on photos at the end of the post for each Babe who adds  her link, so you can check out the awesome versions our Bread Baking Babes made this month.

If you were wondering what else is happening in my life I have to say, 'not much' because Sweetie came down with the flu at the beginning of the month and then I got it and am just starting to feel myself again. Lots of sleeping, reading books, staring at the TV, drinking cups of teas and that sort of boring thing.

Below is the original recipe Karen gave us. I used a 9-grain flour blend instead of whole wheat flour, reduced the sugar by half and shaped them as rolls and not loaves, plus skipped the refrigerator chilling, but otherwise followed the recipe.

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread

Tangzhong mixture (makes enough for two loaves)
50 g/1/3 C bread flour
1 C water

1.             Mix the flour and water together until there aren't any lumps.

2.             Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 149 degrees F or 65 degrees C. If you don't have a thermometer (get one!), look for lines in the mixture made by your spoon as your stir. Remove from the heat immediately.

3.             Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the tangzhong. Let it cool, and then refrigerate it for several hours. 

4.             Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to use it. 

This will last a couple of days. If it starts to turn gray, toss it. 

Whole Wheat Tangzhong Bread
Makes one loaf, and is easily doubled

110 grams milk
45 grams whisked eggs (about one large egg)
100 grams Tangzhong
40 g sugar
5 g salt
200 g bread flour
150 g whole wheat flour
6 g instant yeast
40 g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

1.             Add all of the ingredients except the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also mix by hand or bread machine. 

2.             Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Knead until the dough becomes very elastic. More is better.
 3        Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes I think you could also do a cold ferment overnight, but I haven't tried it.

4          Now for the shaping. 

5          Divide the dough into 3 or four equal pieces and form each piece into a ball.

6          With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 10 inch long oval. Fold the oval into thirds, widthwise, like an envelope. Turn the envelope so that the short side is facing you, and roll it into a 10 to 12 inch length. Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll, with the folded sides on the inside, and place the piece in an oiled bread pan, seam side down. Repeat with the other pieces, placing them next to each other.

7          Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes, until about 4/5  the height of the bread pan. 

8          Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. 


  1. Ugh, sorry about the sickness - we have stomach eew around here.

    The bread looks really soft and plush and lovely, though -- we've started using King Arthur's milk powder in some of ours, and it's somehow added a richness and a tenderness to the dough. Since we primarily make seedy ryes for daily bread, this is A Good Thing.

    Good wishes for renewed health to you both!

  2. I'm so happy you made this. The recipe makes great rolls! Hope you feel better!

  3. What a brilliant idea to make it the way you did, I must try that next time!

  4. The rolls look perfect! I wonder if this Tangzhong method would work with non-gluten flours too. Someone on the Freshloaf mentioned trying making a Tangzhong with brown rice flour and saying that it worked well. Another Freshloafian pointed to the following recipe that looks pretty promising:

    I hope you're feeling completely better soon.

  5. That is a great way of baking this bread, all the more fluffy when you tear them apart. So sweet of you to bake these even though you can't eat them, glad your hubbie liked them.

  6. Tanita, I like the idea of the milk powder...will try that in the next batch.
    Karen, This is the dinner roll recipe I've been looking glad you are a Babe and had us make this one!
    Ilva, Its fun to try new methods, isn't it?
    Elizabeth, Yes, will have to try the Tanzhong method with a gluten free recipe, but since dairy is also not in my diet plan it seemed like a good idea to make this as written and I'm glad I did.
    Lien, Always love baking with the Babes, no matter what the recipe. :)

  7. Right on Pat, I used half the sugar called for in the recipe the first time and we thought the bread too sweet. Next bake I omitted all the sugar and the bread was just right. Go figure.
    The rolls look totally marvelous.
    Still sending healing thoughts your way.

  8. Ah yes! This method is definitely suited for rolls. They look great! Hope you feel better soon.

  9. That pan of rolls needs to be on your next holiday table.... They're perfect!