Holy Moly, if I had just known about Tangzhong earlier, I would have used this method when baking sweet buns a long time ago, worst of all I lived in Asia during the 1990s when this japanese technique got popularized through the book The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method allows bread to stay fresh longer without needing to use artificial preservatives. I used to enjoy savory filled milk bread while living in Hong kong and little did I know back then that the technique used was quite new, I learnt this method much later.
Tangzhong-water roux is usually one part flour to 5 parts water, but you can use milk or a combination of both. The best ratio for using this is, for every 100 g of flour you need 35 g of Tangzhong
These Hokkaido milk bread are the mother of all fluffy buns.
What is Tanzhong? Well it is just a simple paste made out of flour and milk that you heat up, it is similar to a roux when making sauce, but without the butter. The paste which is the starter, is then mixed into the dough and will produce the most soft and bouncy bread.
Why that happens, I do not know, but I experimented with something similar a little while ago, I made sour cream doughnuts and used a choux pastry base and got super fluffy drop doougnuts see recipe HERE
5 tbsp milk
1 tbsp flour
5 dl flour
0,6 dl sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1,25 dl warm whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus a little extra for buttering baking pan.
1 tbsp milk
First you make the starter, in a small pot, whisk flour and milk together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often until it thickens. When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Put the mixture in a cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a baking bowl .
In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and the Tangzhong and then pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until everything is combined for 5 minutes or so. (I used all of the tangzhong I made I did not weigh it, but I guess the amount was in the vicinity of 35%)
Add the soft butter and knead another until the butter is incorporated and then knead 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit sticky.
Shape the dough into a ball and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.
Punch the dough down and knead lightly and reshape the dough into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.
Butter a cake tin.
Tip the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and roll it in to a sausage and divide into 9 equal parts.
Shape each part in to round balls. Loosely cup hand around dough and, without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. Place the buns into the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rest for another 30-40 minutes, until puffy.
Pre heat the oven to 180 C.
Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown, 25-30 minutes
Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)