I have always marveled at how they were able to make bread so supple and delicious, until I found out that there were preservatives in them. Have you ever wondered what are some of the preservatives that bakeries use to make their bread soft? hmm… . But wonder no more, because I have found a natural substitute!!! I am a strong believer of NATURAL food products. In a world like ours, it’s almost impossible to find anything natural especially in the retail sector. Or am I wrong? I certainly hope so.
According to Christine’s recipes, tangzhong “湯種”was introduced by Yvonne Chen 陳郁芬 in her book titled “65°C湯種麵包” (Bread Doctor). Tangzhong , is described as the “secret ingredient”, originated from Japan, to make bread soft and bouncy. It a kind of “flour paste”, made by cooking 1 part of bread flour in 5 parts of water to 65°C. At this temperature, the gluten in the flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened, producing fluffy bread that stays soft for many days. The Chinese community had been fascinated and crazy about this bread making method ever since. I am for sure! I’m sure you’ll be too after you have tried it.
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water
1. Mix the sifted flour with water in a pot and whisk it until the flour is completely dissolved and no lumps remain.
2. Heat the mixture on medium heat. Begin stirring constantly as the mixture heats up. The mixture will begin to thicken. When the temperature of the mixture reaches approximately 65°C, turn off the stove and take the mixture off the stove and let it cool. If you do not have a thermometer, fear not. You can actually see how the mixture changes in texture. When you see lines trailing your whisk or spoon as you stir the mixture, you know the tangzhong is done. Similarly, remove it from heat and let cool.
3. Once the mixture has completely cooled, pour it into a bowl and cover the top using plastic wrap. Be sure to let the plastic wrap sit directly on the mixture to keep it from drying. Put the tangzhong in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Overnight will be better. Use it within a few days.
Once the tangzhong starts smelling bad, please discard!