Last Updated on June 19, 2020 by Chef Mireille
|Pumpkin, Sage & Cheddar Pull Apart Rolls|
It’s time for another bread basics lesson. In Lesson 101 here, you learned about flour and yeast. In Lesson 102 here, you learned about the right size bowls and pans as well as other tips for getting your bread to rise in standard 2 rise bread recipes.
Now, we are ready to get to some advanced lessons. Working with a starter yields a more flavorful bread and a better consistency. European/American bread traditions use a sourdough starter which yields a crusty exterior bread with a soft interior that has a little sour tang to it, hence the name sourdough. However, this is not the only type of starter.
Tangzhong is a Japanese bread tradition of starting your dough with a water roux. This yields an incredibly soft textured bread that will stay fresher longer. This bread takes much longer to grow stale.
I had always been reluctant to work with a starter. The few times I tried a sourdough starter, it never worked. The starter never fermented. I am yet to master the sourdough starter, but the Tangzhong method is easy to conquer.
You start with a water roux by dissolving 1/4 cup all purpose flour in 1 cup water. Heat it for a few minutes on the stove until it is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to a glass container, cover with plastic wrap and leave it to cool to room temperature. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before using.
You can find many recipes across the net for Hokkaido Milk Bread, which uses this method. However, this method can be adapted to any bread recipe.
Here are two examples where I’ve already utilized the water roux starter method:
It’s especially good to use this method for wheat breads, to yield a softer result.
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