Oct 16, 2015

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread | Bread Baking Babes get Fluffy

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread is absolutely the best sandwich bread ever! And guess what? I am the host kitchen for the Bread Baking Babes, and had the privilege of choosing this month's bread.

Bread Baking Babes you ask? We are a small group of bold, boisterous, and hilarious women who share the love of baking bread (and wine). We live across the globe, and come together every month on the 16th to share our experiences with a recipe chosen by one of the members. Everyone gets to play around with the recipe, so be sure to click on the thumbnails at the bottom of this post after the recipe to see the rest of the Babes' versions of this bread.

If you'd like to be a Bread Baking Buddy and bake along, make your version of this bread and send me a photo and your impressions of this bread to karenskitchenstories at gmail dot com by October 29th (Subject: Bread Baking Buddy). Your bread will be featured in a round up post on my blog near the first of the month. If you are a blogger, send me a link to your post as well and I will include your link (you don't have to be a blogger, all Buddies are welcome!). You'll also get a fabulous Buddy Badge.

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Have you ever seen the bread in Asian markets? It is the fluffiest bread I've ever seen, and it is so tall. The crumb is amazingly soft, and the bread stays fresh for a long time. The white version of this bread is wonderful, so I wanted to try this whole wheat version. I am so happy with the results!

It's sometimes called Japanese milk bread, or Hokkaido milk toast (when toasted, buttered, and topped with condensed milk).

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread from Karen's Kitchen Stories

The bread uses a Tangzhong, a concoction of cooked flour and water or milk that is cooked to 65 degrees C or 149 degrees F. If you don't have an instant read or candy thermometer, cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and your spoon forms lines in the pan. It will have a pudding like consistency. It happens fast!!

This recipe is based on the book 65 degrees C by Yvonne Chen, and adapted by Christine Ho. She has great photos of the shaping technique. Christine baked this bread in a large Pullman pan with the lid, but when I tried that, the lid popped off.

You will never believe when you put this bread in the oven that it will grow so tall. It starts out below the top of the pan, and ends up several inches above the top. It's kind of magical. This is the kind of bread that kids will love.

I doubled the recipe and made one in a one pound loaf pan and one in a Pullman pan.

Here are my other tangzhong posts:

Tangzhong checkerboard rolls.
Whole wheat and rye.
Hokkaido Milk Bread.

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread

Tangzhong mixture (makes enough for two loaves)

50 g/1/3 C bread flour
1 C water
  1. Mix the flour and water in a saucepan together until there aren't any lumps.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 149 degrees F or 65 degrees C. If you don't have a thermometer (get one!), look for lines in the mixture made by your spoon as your stir. Remove from the heat immediately.
  3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the tangzhong. Let it cool. You can refrigerate it if you want to, or use it immediately once it has cooled. 
  4. Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to use it. 
This will last a couple of days. If it starts to turn gray, toss it. 

Whole Wheat Tangzhong Bread

Makes one loaf, and is easily doubled

110 grams milk
45 grams whisked eggs (about one large egg)
100 grams Tangzhong
40 g sugar
5 g salt
200 g bread flour
150 g whole wheat flour
6 g instant yeast
40 g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also mix by hand or bread machine. 
  2. Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Knead until the dough becomes very elastic. More is better. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. I think you could also do a cold ferment overnight, but I haven't tried it.
  4. Now for the shaping: Divide the dough into 3 or four equal pieces and form each piece into a ball. 
  5. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 10 inch long oval. Fold the oval into thirds, widthwise, like an envelope. Turn the envelope so that the short side is facing you, and roll it into a 10 to 12 inch length. Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll, with the folded sides on the inside, and place the piece in an oiled bread pan, seam side down. Repeat with the other pieces, placing them next to each other. To see a diagram of how to shape the pieces, check out this post
  6. Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes, until about 4/5  the height of the bread pan. 
  7. Bake in a 175 degree C/ 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. 
The Babes are:

Bake My Day - Karen
blog from OUR kitchen - Elizabeth
Bread Experience - Cathy
All Roads Lead to the Kitchen - Heather
Judy's Gross Eats - Judy
Karen's Kitchen Stories - Karen
My Diverse Kitchen - Aparna
My Kitchen In Half Cups - Tanna
Notitie Van Lien - Lien
Thyme for Cooking - Katie (Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothรฉcaire)
Life's a Feast - Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya
Ilva Beretta Food Photography - Ilva

Check out the other Babes' tangzhong bread! Keep checking back, because we're kind of mellow and some of us may wander into the kitchen a little later in the day.

This linky list is now closed.


  1. Replies
    1. i agree i could eat bread like this all day and i dont even like bread

  2. Seriously, that is such a gorgeous loaf. I'm so excited about this month...even though you couldn't tell it since I'm running late. My dough is rising right now - looking forward to a sandwich later! :) Thanks for this pick!

    1. You are amazing Heather. Baked, photographed, written, and posted all by lunchtime (at least my lunchtime). xoxoxo

  3. Your bread looks fabulous! I love the square shape of the slices!

    I will definitely try this again. The Tangzhong was so amazingly easy and fun to make! Thanks for choosing it.

  4. Two big Thank Yous, first and foremost for choosing the bread you did and making me bake it! And the second one for using a normal comment service where I don't have to sign in with Twitter, FB or G+ or Disqus in order to say something!

    1. Ha ha Ilva! I am honored that you joined this month. =)

  5. That's one awesome looking bread, Karen.
    Thanks for the whole wheat version which I'd never tried before even though I've baked with Tangzhong before.

    1. I love that you have baked with it before Aparna. Your knots are gorgeous, and I will be making them for Thanksgiving!

    2. Thanks Karen. Do post a picture of your knots when you do bake them.

  6. You picked another example of a bread I've always wanted to try and make...

    well, I am just getting ready to fly to Brazil, another week away from home... so much travel, but in 8 days I'll be home again and will try to resume baking..... (sigh)

    Fantastic choice, this is a real winner of a bread!

    1. Have fun seeing that baby girl!

    2. Baby girl lives in Berkeley... Won t see her until Thanksgiving... In my side of the family unfortunately there are no banies.... But My Mom still sees me as one, so.... It s all god ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ

    3. good. i meant Good๐Ÿ˜†

    4. xoxo. Much love you your mom then. xoxo

  7. Karen I can't tell you how much we enjoyed this one. Bake twice and feel sure it will make it many times more into the oven and onto the table.
    Beautiful loaves.

  8. Love it!!! I can't tell you how long I've been meaning to experiment with whole wheat and tang zhong. I made white bread with it before but really wanted to try aa whole wheat version. I'm hoping I can try out your recipe soon.

    1. Do it by the 29th and I'll post it on my blog!

  9. I loved this challenge Karen,every once in a while a BBB challenge comes up with makes e question, researce and learn! that is so nice. We loved the fluffyness and the addition of some whole wheat. I also baked the Hokkiado bread from your site... that was super good too! Thanks for a lovele challenge!

  10. Really enjoyed baking this bread Karen and I'll be making it again this weekend for a party...more rolls...because it is the perfect dinner roll recipe. So glad you are a Babe! Some wine would go well with this bread, wouldn't it?

  11. Some of us may wander into the kitchen a few days late. Thanks so much for this challenge Karen! I love working with the Tangzhong method. Happy Baking!

  12. That is a beautiful loaf of bread..... I could be come a serious sandwich eater again.

  13. Excellent choice, Karen! While I'd heard of the bread before, I was glad to finally have an opportunity/excuse to make it. It ranks at the top of my most favorite breads, and I will definitely be making it again.

    1. Opportunity/excuse is how I try new recipes too =)

  14. Wow! I've made all kinds of bread and thought I'd seen it all. But I have never heard of Tangzhong! Can't wait to try it.

  15. Tangzhong and Whole Wheat: what a fantastic combo you've chosen Karen.
    It's so soft and tasty and everybody loves it.
    Thanks a lot


I love comments and questions and read every one of them.