In January, I tested King Arthur Baking’s 2021 Recipe of the Year, Perfectly Pillowy Cinnamon Rolls, and fell in love with them. The recipe kept the promise of tender buns that stay moist longer, thanks to a Japanese cooking technique called tangzhong.
Tangzhong involves cooking a mixture of flour and water to create a porridge which is added to the bread dough. Cooking changes the chemical structure of flour, breaking down starches and causing them to swell and absorb more water than without heat. This is called gelatinization. When this roux is cooled to room temperature and combined with the paste, the tangzhong absorbs more water. The result is a softer, softer, more elastic bread that is more resistant to stale.
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I have since tried more bread recipes using this phenomenal process. And I got some inspiration and other technical tips from one of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio podcasts. His test kitchen featured a white bread recipe simply called Japanese milk bread.
The test chef warned, âDon’t be tempted to add more flour to the dough while it is being kneaded. The dough will be sticky and sticky, but after rising it will be workable. When shaping the dough, use a minimum of flour to keep the dough as moist as possible.
When I made the bread it was actually sticky. But as my stand mixer, fitted with the bread hook, kneaded the mixture, it gradually gathered all the sticky things around the sides of the bowl. The gluten in the dough has become very strong. It was difficult to get the dough out of the bowl for the next step, which was to knead it a few turns before putting it in a buttered bowl for the first proof.
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The dough rose to fill the large mixing bowl and easily pulled out of the bowl to form the second rise in bread pans. It was then that I learned something else new.
The recipe directs the cutting of the dough ball into four equal balls. Each ball is flattened into a small rectangle. The short sides of the rectangle are folded towards the middle and overlap like a letter. Two of the folded rectangles are placed in a loaf pan, perpendicular to the length, and the other two rectangles go into the second pan.
When baked, they look like four giant buns. And they taste similar to bread rolls, with a fine, soft, slightly sweet texture. They stay softer and softer longer than standard sandwich bread.
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This recipe is now another in my weekly bread-making rotation. Next, I want to make hamburger buns using this exceptional technique.
Contact the editor: 636-0271.
contact the editor: 636-0271.