Tangzhong: The Secret Behind Japanese Milk Bread

The magic of Milk Bread can be chalked up to the Tangzhong, a paste made from milk and flour that’s slowly heated to exactly 149°F (65°C). It resembles a white, loose roux and has two purposes: extends the bread’s shelf life for up to 4 days and locks in moisture without making the bread heavy. Read more about milk bread in our July/August 2018 issue! 

Tips for making the Tangzhong:

This crucial ingredient is what separates Milk Bread from all other loaves. To make Tangzhong, you’ll need a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, a proper whisk, steady low heat, and 10 minutes of undivided attention. Keep your instant-read thermometer on hand, because once the milk and flour begin to congeal, things move quickly. If the Tangzhong gets overcooked, it’ll become too thick and cross over into genuine roux territory

Makes about ¾ cup
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (32 grams) bread flour*
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk and flour. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 149 °F (65°C) on an instant-read thermometer and whisk leaves lines on bottom of saucepan. Transfer to a small bowl, and let cool to room temperature before using.
We used King Arthur Bread Flour


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