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Jan 7, 2013

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread

Doesn't this bread look like three little alien faces? Or Angry Birds?

About six months ago, I posted about baking Hokkaido Milk Bread using a Tangzhong. Since then, many of you have asked about a whole wheat version of this bread.

Tangzhong is a mixture of water and flour that is cooked to 64 degrees C/149 degrees F. For one explanation of how it works, I recommend reading this post. Or... it could just be magic. (The writer also discusses how to incorporate using a bread machine to make this dough.) Regardless, this method produces a very soft and fluffy bread that has great shelf life.

I've also received requests for a clearer explanation on how to shape this bread. I've taken some photos of the process, which I will post here, but I thought I'd show you the diagram I made and upon which I rely to shape my loaves. I'm sure any confusion will be cleared up after this..... not.... Here you go....

Hope you enjoyed. We all have different learning styles. I promise, I will include some "real life" photos below. All I know is that the oven rise was amazing. Freakishly so.

Tangzhong Whole Wheat & Rye Bread



30 g bread flour
150 g water

Final Dough

200 g bread flour
75 g whole wheat flour
75 g dark rye flour
5 g instant yeast
55 g light brown sugar
5 g salt
125 g whole milk, heated to 95 to 100 degrees F
120 g of the tangzhong
1 egg
30 g very soft butter


  • 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. 
  • Move the mixture to a bowl and let the tangzhong cool completely.
  • 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).
  • Add the yeast, brown sugar, and salt and whisk.
  • Add the milk, tangzhong, and the egg and mix with a spoon or a dough whisk to blend. 
  • 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. 
  • You will know when the dough is ready when you tear off a small piece and can stretch it into a thin membrane. 
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl or dough rising bucket, cover it, and allow the dough to double. It took about two hours in my case.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and degas the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 3 pieces. 

  • Form each ball into a rectangle and fold the long ends of the rectangle over each other like an envelope.

  • With a rolling pin, roll the dough the long way into another long rectangle. 

  • 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.

  • 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. 
  • Brush the loaf with milk, egg, or the rest of the tangzhong, and bake for about 35 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.
  • De-pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. 

Had a great turkey BLT with this bread today.

Adapted from My Custard Pie

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 🥰


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