it has been way too long since i participated in a bread baking day challenge. each month, a host is selected and a theme is announced. this month, the challenge is being hosted by noor of ya salam cooking and when i read it, i couldn’t wait to bake a loaf of bread. i know, what a party animal; she bakes bread for fun. no really, i am but the theme for this month is to bake a loaf of bread from a place you would like to visit. so if you want to go to france, bake a croissant. if you want to go to italy, bake a loaf of pannetone. you get the idea, i know you do. so did i and i finally had a reason to try the recipe i had bookmarked for tangzhong bread. tang-what? it is the most unusual bread technique i have encountered and it comes from a place i hope to visit some day; china. the technique is credited to a chinese woman, yvonne chen, who wrote a book titled 65c bread doctor. in this book the technique of making a “water roux” starter is demonstrated. while the technique is attributed to the chinese, it is apparently very popular in japan too. so either way, my bread is a nod to a place i would like to visit, and if somebody wants to buy me a ticket, i’ll go to either china or japan, i’m not that picky!
i discovered the technique by accident. i was trying to find a conversion table for ingredients so that i could convert a recipe in ounces to grams when i stumbled upon the website christens recipes. while looking at some of her recipes, i found the tangzhong recipes and bookmarked the page for a day when i had the time to test the recipe. for all of you that know me, you know that i can bake-i do it for a living but bread is not my specialty and as much as i have worked with bread, it still intimidates me. well, after making two loaves with this technique, i may not ever be scared again!
look at the beautiful crumb of this bread! so light and moist and easy to slice. wait until the next day and you will get picture perfect slices-no one will believe you made this at home! the best part, no chemicals, no stabilizers or conditioners and nothing artificial! the extra boost in moisture from the tangzhong helps to keep the bread fresh. the only thing i would suggest, if you do not like your bread to taste sweet, cut the sugar. for the multi grain loaf, i reduced it from 3 tablespoons to 2 and i like it much better than the white loaf. the white loaf is still very good, just not my first choice for a savory sandwich but i bet it would make great french toast!
the two loaves side by side. i will make this again and i hope to find the book someday-reading it will be a challenge though…
since there are several important steps to take when making this style of bread, i am not printing the recipes here but rather including the links to the websites i used. on all of these pages, you will find valuable information along with detailed step by step photos that would do so much better than anything i could post here so i encourage you to use these sites and make a batch of wonderful bread!
a big thanks to noor for such a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. feeling brave, bake a loaf and head over to ya salam cooking and join in on the fun!