The Tang Zhong Method

I like the idea of Japanese bread. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had it, but whenever I see it in the stores, those perfectly square loaves, I just imagine how good it must taste. Soft, squishy, tender, fluffy. Just right.

I felt like trying to make something like it at home, and found out about tangzhong. So this tangzhong stuff is like a cooked sponge, for those of you who are familiar with baking. It works by cooking a mixture of flour and water together for just a little bit. It’ll add some moisture to your cooking. And best of all? It is cake-tender, but you use AP or bread flour! How awesome is that?!

So I baked up a loaf of bread from Christine’s Recipes using the tang zhong method, and it came out beautifully! And get this – the rise times are only 40 minutes!

Part of the secret is that you knead the butter in after mixing everything together. It really helps everything come together as a solid loaf.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, and out came this golden beauty:

Egg washes must be nature’s way of telling us food is delicious, hee hee. It took a ton of patience to wait for it to cool off, but it was worth the wait. The house smelled so good. Even Albany John was looking forward to a slice. He thought it smelled like Hawaiian sweet bread, or Portuguese rolls. I just thought it smelled awesome.

If you can’t tell, I don’t have one of those neato-but-expensive Pullman loaf pans to make perfectly square bread. Doesn’t affect the taste, though!

Tender crumb! It reminded me of baked bao. Kinda sweet, kinda squishy and soft, and allllll good. I definitely want to give baos a try with this recipe.

Albany John has dubbed this “Dessert Bread” because it’s on the sweeter side for him. But he still ate a slice or two after dinner. Heheh, after dinner bread.

I can’t wait to try this out as toast (omg, I’m getting old – I’m looking forward to toast), as sandwiches, and… just shoved in my mouth because it’s soooo good. Give the recipe in the link above a try (I just did it plain, no fillings). So good!

I think it’s crazy how differently bread can come out with just a few minor ingredient amount adjustments. My mom always made bread when I was growing up. It was good on the first day when it was warm, but had a short half-life and quickly deteriorated after that. This though – oh man, I wish we had the internet around when I was a wee kiddo. The same song, just sung a little differently, and oh the difference it makes.

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