Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Fluffy white sandwich bread

Isn't it great when your dog manages to completely embarrass you? :-)  Keith the dog decided to interrupt someone's personal training session in the park this morning by running off with some of the equipment they were using.  Luckily, I got it back relatively quickly but not without having everyone concerned in stitches with laughter.  Thanks Keith :-)

Soft white bread
Now, back to the recipe I promised to share for a fluffy white sandwich loaf.  It's probably my best attempt at making this type of bread so far.  I used a technique I hadn't heard of before but came across in my search for the ultimate white bread.  The unusual ingredient or technique is called "tangzhong" and is used in Japanese milk bread recipes.

Basically, it's a mix of water (and/or milk) and flour which gets heated to a custard-like consistency (like a roux but more liquid), then cooled and added to the bread dough.  I am not 100% sure why it works so well but it is helping to keep the dough moist and results in a fabulous texture.  I have since made a wholemeal version of this and it worked equally well, although it was slightly denser (but not much).  You could easily make this into soft rolls for burgers or a sweet cinnamon or raisin bread.  Yummy!

Soft white bread - Japanese milk bread (makes one loaf)

for the tangzhong:
25g flour
120ml water (or a mix of water/milk)

for the dough:
375g flour
2 tsp dried yeast
2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tbsp oil (olive oil worked for me)
2 tsp sugar (optional)

  1. Mix the tangzhong ingredients and heat in a saucepan for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.  You are aiming for a custard-like consistency.
  2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Once cooled, combine the tangzhong with the dough ingredients to a sticky dough.
  4. Knead the dough for 10 - 15 minutes (you may need a little extra flour if it is too sticky), then form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.  Leave to rise until roughly double in size (approx. 1 -2 hours).
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  6. Once risen, divide the dough into 4 or 5 equal portions.
  7. Flatten out each portion into a square and roll up.  Place the rolled up dough portions into a loaf tin and leave to prove for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180 C, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

If you search for "tangzhong" online, you will find several picture guides and videos that explain the method very well (the recipes/amounts of ingredients may vary slightly from the above).


  1. Keith was trying to get in some exercise too by the sound of it :-) Very interesting recipe. Kirsten if I were you I would not use rapeseed oil which is actually canola oil. I found the following on the Internet some time ago.
    Many people aren't aware that canola oil aka "rapeseed" oil is man made and by no means "healthy". It was given the name Canola to avoid negative reactions to it's real name.
    Canola (Rape) is a semi-drying oil used as:
    1. a lubricant
    2. fuel
    3. soap
    4. synthetic rubber base
    5. illuminant for all those slick color pages you see in magazines
    Rape oil was the source of the infamous chemical warfare agent, mustard gas that caused blistering of the lungs and skin during WW1!
    It's NOT a cooking oil, but rather an industrial oil and not meant to be ingested by us or our pets.

    1. Oh my goodness! I had no idea! Thank you for letting me know - I'll definitely won't be using that again & will amend the recipe. Kirsten x

  2. Hi everyone! I have now amended the recipe to exclude the use of rapeseed oil, based on the info above. Olive oil is definitely the better alternative! Thank you, pigsmightfly! Kirsten x