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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tangzhong Starter aka Water Roux Starter



 As you know, I tend to struggle with bread making.  There are so many techniques that could be applied, it makes it difficult to find the right combination.  There is the sponge and dough technique, no knead technique, and the straight dough method.  There is also various starters like a sour dough starter.  After my trip to Chinatown, I was on a mad hunt for the bread recipe.  I stumbled upon a starter called Tangzhong Starter or Water Roux in English.  It is said that it add moisture to the bread for a longer time period.  I retrieve the procedure  from Lily's Wai Sek Hong blog.  I dug a little more into this topic and I found quite a bit of information on this starter. 

It is also called 65 C Bread loaf.  It is said to produce a softer and fluffier bread for a longer amount of time.  This technique is quite told.  At first the Chinese used hot water to cook the flour for noodles or dumpling dough.  Later one, bread was adapted. 


The key to this starter is the temperature of the water used.  At 65 C or 149 F, the water and flour is mixed together than cooked.  At a 65 C/149 F temperature, the gluten within the flour absorbs all the water and become leavened.  When this mixture is cooled and added to the remainder of the dough, the moisture is retained in the dough and heighten. 
250 ml or g of Water
50 g of flour

Mix the flour and water in a cool sauce pan.  Mix until it is well incorporated.  Turn on the stove to a medium heat.  Stir consistently to prevent any burning of the mixture.  The mixture will bubble and thicken.  Once the mixture is similar to glue like texture but before it becomes play d'oh (do you love my kindergarten references :D) it is ready.  Cover the mixture to cool completely.  This could be stored up to 3 days and if it turns grayish, it went bad. 
I used this recipe to test this starter
250g bread flour
1 tbsp skim milk powder
80g TangZhong
105ml warm water
4g salt
25g sugar
5g dry yeast
25g butter

1. Dump all ingredients into the bread machine and start the dough cycle.
2. Once the dough cycle is completed which is 80 minutes for my bread machine, remove dough and punch out the air from it. Rest the dough for 15 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 2 pieces, shape into a long rectangular shape and roll it up Swiss-roll style.
4. Place dough pieces into loaf pan and let it prove till about 85% full. I had to prove for about 75 minutes as the room temperature was about 19°C.
5. Cover the loaf pan with its lid and bake at 175 - 180°C for about 25 - 30 minutes.
For the people without a bread maker
1. Mix the water, yeast, and a tsp of sugar and let it activate the yeast for about 5-10 minutes depending on how warm the room is.
2. Mix the remainder of the ingredients until it is well incorporated.
3. Add the yeast mixture
4. Let it rise until it doubles in size.
5. Roll out into a bread loaf or I make little brioche
6. Let it rise again until it doubles in size.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on your desire for a crust and your oven.
It came out pretty well except I cooked it only for 20 minutes and it is little darker than I prefer. 


  1. The rolls look so cute! Did you actually measure out everything in grams?

  2. Yes I always measure everything in gram. I was forced to. All of my mom's recipes are like that. The funny part, I keep breaking my scale too.

  3. may i ask what is TangZhong?