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Mar 28, 2022

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread

This tangzhong whole wheat and rye bread is soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet. It's perfect for toast, sandwiches, or on its own with a schmear of butter. 

To achieve the soft and fluffy texture, you add a roux of flour and water that you have cooked to 149 degrees F (64 degrees C) and then cooled, to the dough. This is called a tangzhong. 

This method produces a very soft loaf of bread that also has great shelf life due to its ability to hold moisture. This is because the flour in the tangzhong expands, releases starches, and gelatinizes. That's about as scientific as I can get. 

Add the tangzhong, which is fairly small in relation to the final dough, and you will be amazed at the texture of your final loaf. 

In addition, your dough will have amazing oven spring when you place it in the oven. I used a one pound (8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch) loaf pan and the loaf grew over two inches. 

I will be trying the loaf in a one and a half pound loaf pan next time just to see what happens. It seems like the one pound pan is just the right size when you place the shaped dough in it, but it sure expands! 

How to Make Whole Wheat and Rye Bread with Tangzhong:

First, cook water and flour in a small saucepan, stirring, until the mixture thickens and reaches 149 degrees F. Let the mixture cool in a bowl.

Next, place all of the dough ingredients, including the tangzhong, in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir the ingredients together to moisten, and then knead with the dough hook for 15 to 20 minutes. The dough should be super elastic when you are done. 

After that, let the dough rise until doubled. This took about an hour for me. 

Divide and shape the dough. You can see step-by-step photos for shaping on the Hokkaido Milk Bread post. Let the dough rise until it crests the top of the loaf pan. 

Bake the loaf for about 35 minutes, remove from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. 

I had to tent the loaf with foil for the last five minutes of baking to prevent burning, so keep an eye on the bread. 

The hardest part is waiting until the loaf has cooled before cutting into it, but that step is important because the bread needs to set. 

This bread is about 1/3 whole grains and 2/3 strong bread flour. The whole grains are half whole wheat and half whole rye. You still need the bread flour for gluten development, but there are enough whole grains to add lots of flavor. 

The dough is a little stickier than one with only bread flour, but it strengthens tremendously during the kneading process. 

More Bread Recipes Using a Tangzhong:

Hokkaido Milk Bread

Sourdough Hokkaido Milk Bread

Checkerboard Tangzhong Rolls

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Rolls

Pineapple Buns

Hokkaido Milk Bread Rolls

Leopard Prink Milk Bread

This post was first published in January, 2013 and updated with new photos, instructions, and a printable recipe card in March, 2022. 

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 35 MinInactive time: 1 H & 45 MTotal time: 3 H & 5 M
This tangzhong whole wheat and rye bread is soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet. It's perfect for toast, sandwiches, or on its own with a schmear of butter.


For the Tangzhong
  • 30 grams bread flour
  • 150 grams water
For the Final Dough
  • 200 grams bread flour
  • 75 grams whole wheat flour
  • 75 grams dark rye flour
  • 5 grams instant yeast
  • 55 grams light brown sugar
  • 5 grams salt
  • 125 grams milk, heated to 95 to 100 degrees F
  • 120 grams of the tangzhong
  • 1 egg
  • 30 grams very soft butter


  1. Prepare the tangzhong by whisking the water and the flour together in a sauce pan over low heat. Constantly stir the mixture until the it reaches 149 degrees F. It should thicken and resemble a roux. Using an instant read thermometer is really helpful.
  2. Move the mixture to a bowl and let the tangzhong cool completely.
  3. Whisk the bread, wheat, and rye flours in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a bread machine to make the dough).
  4. Add the yeast, brown sugar, and salt and whisk.
  5. Add the milk, tangzhong, and the egg and mix with a spoon or a dough whisk to blend.
  6. Add the butter and knead with the dough hook for 15 to 20 minutes. You might need to stop and scrape down the bowl a few times before the dough hook can really work the dough.
  7. You will know when the dough is ready when you tear off a small piece and can stretch it into a thin membrane.
  8. Place the dough in a greased bowl or dough rising bucket, cover it, and allow the dough to double. It took about one hour in my case.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and degas the dough.
  10. Divide the dough into 3 pieces.
  11. Form each ball into a rectangle and fold the long ends of the rectangle over each other like an envelope.
  12. With a rolling pin, roll the dough the long way into another long rectangle.
  13. Roll up the three rectangles and place them seam side down into a one pound (8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch) loaf pan.
  14. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let rise until it reaches the top of the loaf pan (or just under the top). This took 40 minutes for me.
  15. Brush the loaf with milk, egg, or the rest of the tangzhong, and bake for about 35 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.
  16. De-pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Nutrition Facts



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tangzhong, whole grains
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Would you like to comment?

  1. this year I'm definitely going to conquer the Tangzhong technique. Your bread is gorgeous Karen
    Thanks for bringing it to #bakeyourownbread

  2. I think I'm gonna vote for the aliens! ;) It looks so cool! And really yummy too!

  3. Wow, it's great that it works for WW bread as well. I used the TZ method once with white bread. I have to put this WW version on my todo list. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the drawn illustrations. It helps :o)

  4. I love the TZ method. I made my first buns with it yesterday and I'm hooked. I can't wait to try it with whole wheat recipes. I was a little skeptical about how well it would work with whole wheat, but you've convinced me.

  5. I made this into five, 5.1 oz rolls. They are spectacular! so soft and delicious! Thank you for this wonderful technique and recipe. I reduced the sugar by 10 grams, but otherwise everything remained the same. Wonderful.

    1. Thanks so much Michelle for the feedback! I'm so happy you like this bread!

  6. Hi karen, thank you for the tanzhong whole wheat bread recipe, love it sooo much,its soft and family favorite 🥰

  7. My husband is a HUGE rye fan so this is going to be made soon for sandwiches!

  8. Never tried this method before, I really appreciate the well written instructions and tips. Gives me confidence I could make it too!

  9. This is a completely new method to me with cooking the roux before making the dough. What a lovely bread and a neat method.

  10. I have been making tangzhong breads for quite some time and was so happy I found out your recipe a while ago. Just tried this today. For those who don't want to have tangzhong leftover, you can do the portion for tangzhong 100g water and 20g bread flour.


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