How to use the Tangzhong Method
Tangzhong is an Asian yeast bread technique that is used to produce softer bread loaves (it's also called yukone or scalded flour). How does it work?
A portion of the flour and liquid in your bread recipe is cooked to form a thick slurry. The cooled slurry is added along with the other wet ingredients when mixing the dough. What's the advantage gained by this extra step?
Gluten free bread dough is generally more like a thick batter, wet to the touch. This makes it difficult to handle and shape. I have found that tangzhong slurry makes my dough more elastic. While the dough is still somewhat sticky, it is "firm" enough to manipulate. The finished bread is also softer. Want to try it?
See the example below. Don't be intimidated by the formula. Ignore it if you feel you understand what you are trying to achieve, you will learn by doing anyway.
To make Tangzhong you need to set aside approximately 10% of the flour in your recipe and add water equivalent to 5 times the amount of flour used
For a recipe that uses 2 1/2 cups in total of flour
2 1/2 cups x 10% = 1/4 cup of
flour 1/4 cup x 5 = 1 1/4 cup of liquid (water or milk)
Add the flour and liquid to a skillet on medium high heat. Cook the mixture, stirring often to form a thick jelly like slurry. Set aside to cool
Continue with the recipe as normal, reducing the total flour amount by the 1/4 cup used in the slurry (in our example that would be to 2 1/4 cups )
Add the cooled tangzhong and other wet ingredients but not the water or milk, to the dry ingredients and begin to mix or knead
Now add water or milk in increments until the dough is somewhat firm and sticky to the touch. You should be able to handle the dough relatively easily
If you are braiding the bread do so immediately after kneading. As the dough begins to rise it will get more difficult to handle and can fall apart
To create patterns allow the dough to rise in the tin, before scoring the bread. You may need to widen the cuts to prevent the spaces from filling back up. For deep scoring patterns, widen the cuts more
You may need to bake your dough for a slightly longer time. When done, the bread will feel hollow when tapped and the crust should be firm (not hard) throughout. A very soft crust often means that the insides may need more baking time
If you give this a try please, please share your experience!