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Japanese Style Bacon and Cheese Bread (Tangzhong Method 湯種法)

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.


Prepare a 10.5cm(W)x 20.5cm(L) x10cm(H) loaf tin (Printable recipe)

Ingredients of tangzhong (湯種 The amount is enough to make two loafs):

  • 50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)

Ingredients of bread:

  • 350gm/ 2½ cups bread flour
  • 55gm/3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
  • 5gm/1tsp salt
  • 56gm egg (equals to 1 large egg)
  • 7gm/1tbsp+1tsp milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
  • 125ml/ ½cup milk
  • 120gm tangzhong (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
  • 5 to 6gm/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 30gm/3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

Fillings:

  • bacon, to taste
  • cheese, to taste

Method of making tangzhong:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. You get the tangzhong. (Some people might like to use a thermometer to check the temperature. After a few trials, I found this simple method works every time.) Remove from heat.
  3. 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. (I chill it overnight.) Then the tangzhong 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. The tangzhong 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.)


Method of making bread:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Mind you, it’d be quite messy at this stage (That’s why I used a bread maker). Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done. The time of kneading all depends on how hard and fast you knead. (Note: I use bread maker to do this hardest part and messy job for me. I added the wet ingredients into my bread maker first, then followed by the dry ingredients. The yeast is the last to add.)
  2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes (Note: the time will vary and depends on the weather. The best temperature for proofing is 28C. I still used my bread maker in this stage. And my bread maker has a heater.)
  3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle bacon and cheese evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom (as picture shown). Flatten the dough with your rolling pin. Then roll once again. The seals face down.
  5. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin (as picture shown). Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes, or until the dough rises up to 3/4 of the height of the tin inside.
  6. Brush whisked egg on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it’s thoroughly cooled.
Notes:
  1. If you find yourself too tired of kneading dough, just like me, you can use a bread maker instead. This recipe is designed for bread makers, yet you can make a soft and fluffy loaf with or without it, by using the tangzhong.
  2. The cheese would be melted and created some holes inside the bread. If you’d like a better looking, cut the cheese into smaller pieces.

This is the raisin bread I made with the same recipe. Just replaced the bacon and cheese with raisin.

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Bread

 

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Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough 湯種甜麵糰

Recipe from the Corner Cafe.


The soft and fluffy texture of the water-roux bun.

In 2004, a Chinese cookbook called ‘65°C湯種麵包’ was published and it soon became very popular with the Chinese bloggers. The book introduced to the Chinese baking community a new way of making soft breads and filled buns using a 65°C water-roux paste. Since then, all sorts of recipes using this method have been popping up all over the Chinese websites.
The innovation of this technique of making bread is the inclusion of a ‘water-roux (湯種 Tang Zhong)’, that is cooking portion of the flour and water first (as opposed to cooking flour and butter for a proper roux in the traditional sense) before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. The water-roux is supposed to allow the dough to absorb more liquid due to the gelatinization of the starch in the flour, thereby allowing the finished buns to have a fine soft texture and not get stale as quickly.
Any Asian-style buns made with the more traditional Sweet Bun Dough can be made using this water-roux method, thereby cutting out the need to add any artificial bread softener or improver.
The following is the basic recipe using the 65°C water-roux paste for sweet bun dough (湯種甜麵糰) to go with sweet filling. At the end of the recipe, I have also included another variation for savoury roll dough (湯種調理麵糰) to go with savoury filling, the method of preparation is the same.


Pork Floss Buns and Coconut Cream Buns made with water-roux sweet bun dough.

Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough 湯種甜麵糰

Makes 16 buns

[Ingredients]
375g bread flour
100g plain flour
35g milk powder
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
40g butter, cubed

Water-Roux Paste (湯種) *:
25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water

* Water-Roux is basically 1 part bread flour to 5 parts water.
http://cornercafe.wordpress.com/
[Preparation]
Water-Roux (湯種):
Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 65ºC. It should have thickened to a paste at this stage, that is when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, place a cling film over the paste and leave until lukewarm, or room temperature, before using. (Alternatively if you don’t have a thermometer, cook as before until it starts to thicken, then continue to cook for about 1 more minute before removing from heat.) This water roux can be kept in an airtight container after cooling in the refrigerator for 1 day if not used immediately. However DO NOT USE if it turns grey in colour, that means it has gone bad.


Water-roux paste.

For the Bun Dough:
1. Sift bread flour, plain flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add lightly beaten egg and lukewarm water roux and mix in. Gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.)
2. Knead in butter until incorporated. (In many cookbooks, they mentioned that the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane, but it’s hard to achieve with hand kneading. I usually stop kneading when the dough sticks to the work surface and stretches like chewing gum when pulled!) Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Optimum room temperature for this first prove is 28°C with a humidity of 75%. To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.
3. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 16 equal portions. The easiest way is to first divide equally into 4 larger portions first, then divide each of these again into quarters each. Form each into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.


Plain water-roux buns before final proving..

4. Shape and fill the buns according to recipe. Place all finished buns on a greased baking sheet, lightly cover with cling film, and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Optimum room temperature for this final prove is 38°C with a humidity of 85%.


Plain water-roux buns after final proving (double in size).

5. Bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Plain water-roux buns after baking.

[Variations]
This is a variation of the above recipe for use with savoury filling, the preparation is the same as above:


Savoury buns such as Hotdog Buns and Ham Buns made with water-roux bun dough.

Japanese-Style Savoury Roll Dough 湯種調理麵糰

Makes 16 buns

[Ingredients]
325g bread flour
150g plain flour
20g milk powder
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
75g butter, cubed

Water-Roux Paste (湯種) *:
25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water


The texture of the Pai Pau made with water-roux bun dough.

http://cornercafe.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/japanese-style-sweet-bun-dough/

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Bread

 

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