Friday, October 16, 2015

Fluffy Bread Baking Babes

This month our Babe Karen K. ("Karen's Kitchen stories") picked a lovely method of preparing the dough: the tangzhong method, this is the heated mixed slurry of water and flour, how to is in the recipe. It's a lovely recipe (maybe a bit too sweet for a sandwich loaf), and eventhough it legally can't be called "whole wheat" here in the Netherlands, as over here only a bread with only whole (wheat) flour is allowed carry the name Whole (wheat) bread, it's a lovely bread
You can also make it by pouring boiled water on the flour, mixing it well and leave it too cool to roomtemperature. When mixing the dough and adding the eggs, milk, butter and sugar it reminded me a lot of baking a challa. A bread that is a favorite in our house, because we love the fluffiness. Challa is made without tangzhong (but with eggs and butter), so I wondered if there would be a difference when it was baked without tangzhong; would it loose its fluffiness or not?

Bread with (left) and without Tangzhong (right)
So I've baked again. One with the tangzhong and one without (recipe the same, the one without I just added a little bit extra water to compensate for the liquid in the slurry). I had a blind tasting in the family to find out whether they could spot the fluffiest one. They all chose the one without (!) the tangzhong and so did I. So for me (us) it really didn't make much difference, with the egg, milk, sugar and butter it will be very fluffy anyway, like I'm used too when baking a challa or a kind of bread like that and the tangzhong didn't add anything really (except extra work and washing up).
But as our Babe Ilva so rightfully said, there must be a reason they invented tangzhong and kept using it, so she went out and researched/baked too and found a recipe that used the tangzhong-method, without the eggs, butter and milk and yes it was still fluffy. So my conclusion is that in this bread the tangzhong is sort of useless, but doens't do any harm either! But that the method is very good for a fluffy result when the ingredients don't include eggs, butter and milk.

Become a Bread Baking Buddy and bake it yourself! The next guidelines I borrowed from Karen's blog: If you'd like to be a Bread Baking Buddy and bake along, make your version of this bread and send Karen a photo and your impressions of this bread to karenskitchenstories at gmail dot com by October 29th (Subject: Bread Baking Buddy). Your bread will be featured in a round up post on her blog near the first of the month. If you are a blogger, send me a link to your post as well and I will include your link (you don't have to be a blogger, all Buddies are welcome!). You'll also get a fabulous Buddy Badge.

Tangzhong Whole Wheat Bread
Makes one loaf, and is easily doubled
(PRINT recipe)
Tangzhong mixture (makes enough for two loaves)
50 g bread flour
237 g water

Mix the flour and water together until there aren't any lumps.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 149 degrees F or 65 degrees C. If you don't have a thermometer (get one!), look for lines in the mixture made by your spoon as your stir. Remove from the heat immediately.

Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the tangzhong. Let it cool, and then refrigerate it for several hours.
Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to use it. This will last a couple of days. If it starts to turn gray, toss it.

110 g milk
45 g whisked eggs (about one large egg)
100 g Tangzhong
40 g sugar
5 g salt
200 g bread flour
150 g whole wheat flour
6 g instant yeast
40 g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

Add all of the ingredients except the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also mix by hand or bread machine. Mix the ingredients until they form a dough. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated. Knead until the dough becomes very elastic. More is better. 
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. I think you could also do a cold ferment overnight, but I haven't tried it.

Now for the shaping.
Divide the dough into 3 or four equal pieces and form each piece into a ball.
With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 10 inch long oval. Fold the oval into thirds, widthwise, like an envelope. Turn the envelope so that the short side is facing you, and roll it into a 25-30 cm length. Roll that piece like a cinnamon roll, with the folded sides on the inside, and place the piece in an oiled bread pan, seam side down. Repeat with the other pieces, placing them next to each other. 

Cover and let rise for about 40 minutes, until about 4/5 the height of the bread pan.
Bake in a 175ºC for 30 to 35 minutes. (I baked at 190ºC and a bit longer, protecting the top the last 20 minutes so it wouldn't overbrown) Transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

(This recipe is based on the book 65 degrees C by Yvonne Chen, and adapted by Christine Ho)

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ilva said...

Your bread is picture perfect Lien! And thank you for making me curious about the tangzhong starter, I really enjoyed being back in Babe mode!

Karen said...

Gorgeous bread Lien! Love that last photo! So glad you baked along. Love your experiments too. I hope I'm not in trouble with the Netherlands bread police. =)

Elizabeth said...

I love that you did the experiment! And how interesting to see that everyone chose the non-tangzhong to be the fluffier one. And looking at the photo of the two side by side, the non-tangzhong one looks fluffier too.

(I've never understood how they get away with calling bread that has even a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour "whole wheat" bread! I wish we had the same laws as you, even if it is just for clarification.)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gorgeous bread! I mean you really got Gorgeous! and the non-tangzhong does look fluffier. You get the science award for this one.
I liked your hill comment. They do look hilly ;-)

Elle said...

Gorgeous photos and bread. Cool that you did a side by side test. They both look fluffy to me...and delicious.

Cathy (Bread Experience) said...

Beautiful bread and photos! Great comparison. I was wondering about this myself. Thanks for doing the legwork.

Aparna said...

Your loaf looks gorgeous Lien. Hats off to you and Ilva for taking the time to do the research and experiment with the recipes.

Katie Zeller said...

I'm always in favor of saving on the washing up.... But I rather like fluffy sweet bread with eggs. Too bad I would have to eat it all myself (or is it?)

Anonymous said...

Your whole wheat loaves are just lovely! After 2 to 3 days, breads made with tangzhong stay as moist as when they were newly baked, because the roux has been cooked prior to adding into the dough. The moisture stays there long even after baking, after all that yeast has died. That's why you may not taste the difference on the first day :)

Lien said...

That´s interesting to know, thanks!
Bread is hardly ever left more than 1 or 2 days in our house, that´s probably why I didn´t notice the difference!

Unknown said...

bonjour de France,
Je serais intéressée pour avoir d'autres recettes de pain avec la méthode Tangzhong, voici mon adresse email :
Merci pour votre blog