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Tangzhong Roux FAQ

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Tangzhong Roux FAQ

Antilope | Aug 15, 2014 04:46 PM

I put together this FAQ about using a Tangzhong Roux in yeast breads based on my experiences using the technique.
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--WHAT IS A TANGZHONG ROUX?--
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A Tangzhong Roux (also called a Tangzhong Water Roux or Water Roux) is a flour and water roux that is added to yeast bread recipes. This is done in order to make a loaf of bread that is lighter, has a more tender crumb and a longer shelf life.
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Bread flour or all-purpose flour is usually used to make the roux. Water is the liquid usually used to make the roux, but milk or a mixture of milk and water can also be used, if desired.
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The flour and water are mixed and heated to 149-F (65C). This gelatinizes the flour and forms an unflavored translucent pudding-like roux. The roux ingredients come from the original recipe amounts. This roux is added to remaining liquids in the yeast bread recipe. The water roux traps and retains moisture during baking. Using this technique is similar to adding pudding to a pudding cake. The final result is a moister, lighter loaf of bread with a more tender crumb and a longer shelf life. These beneficial effects are all the result of the moisture retained by the water roux during baking.
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The Tangzhong roux technique was developed in Asia around 2000. The technique was first mentioned by Yvonne Chen in her book, “Bread Doctor”, published in Taiwan in about 2003. Tangzhong means "soup" in Chinese.
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--WHAT YEAST BREAD RECIPES BENEFIT FROM A TANGZHONG ROUX?--
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The Tangzhong roux technique will work with pretty much any yeast bread recipe, making a lighter, more tender and longer lasting loaf of bread. I've only used the technique for straight dough breads. I haven't used it for sponge breads, etc. But there is no reason it shouldn't work on those, also.
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I've used the Tangzhong roux technique on white bread, sourdough bread, hawaiian bread, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon swirl bread, light wheat bread (part bread flour and part whole wheat flour), rye bread, vienna bread, French bread, hamburger buns, lean breads, rich breads and sweet bread doughs, etc.
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The Tangzhong roux technique will work for most hand kneaded, mixer kneaded and bread machine recipes. I've even used it on 65% hydration, stretch and fold, yeast bread recipes.
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The only type of yeast bread recipe where it didn't seem to have much effect was one that used whole wheat flour to make the water roux for a 100% whole wheat bread. It didn't seem to lighten the loaf very much. However, using 3 Tablespoons of white flour in the roux of the 100% whole wheat loaf did seem to lighten it. In this case, we are adding 3 Tbsp of white flour to the recipe, so remove 3 Tbsp of the whole wheat flour to keep the recipe in balance.
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When I make a light wheat bread (part bread flour and part whole wheat) I take 3 Tbsp of the roux flour from the white flour. This will lighten the light wheat loaf, don't use whole wheat flour in the roux.
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--HOW DO I USE A TANGZHONG ROUX IN AN EXISTING YEAST BREAD RECIPE?--
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Use 3 level tablespoons of white flour in 1/2 cup of water, for either 1-1/2 lb or 2 lb yeast bread loaves. I use bread flour or all-purpose flour in the roux.
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The Tangzhong roux ingredients come from the original recipe amounts. Don't add extra amounts. Measure out the original recipe ingredients and take the Tangzhong roux ingredients from that. If the recipe uses only milk, make the roux using milk.
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I make the roux in a microwave. Mix 3 Tbsp of flour and 1/2 cup of water (or milk) in a microwaveable cup. Microwave on High for 25 seconds. Stir well. Microwave 15 seconds more. Stir. The roux temperature should be at about 149 F (65C) and a white translucent pudding should have formed. If not, microwave another 5 seconds and stir well. If necessary, continue microwaving 5 seconds at a time and then stir well, until the white translucent pudding forms. I use a 1000-watt microwave.
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The roux can also be made on the stovetop in a saucepan.
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Be careful to only heat the roux to around 149 F (65C). Five or ten degrees more doesn't hurt. I haven't explored heating the roux higher than that. I'm not sure what higher temperatures would do to its effectiveness. References I have reviewed don't address overheating the roux.
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I mix the hot roux into the remaining recipe liquid ingredients immediately. Mixing well. The recipe liquid will then end up lukewarm. The roux can also be cooled to room temperature first or stored in the fridge, if desired.
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Once you confirm that the recipe liquid is lukewarm, it's then safe to mix in instant yeast or proofed active dry yeast, if desired. Otherwise, follow the original recipe instructions for adding yeast. Just be careful to keep the hot roux away from the yeast.
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After mixing the Tangzhong roux into the remaining recipe liquid ingredients, continue with your original yeast bread recipe just as you always do.
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--HOW MUCH TANGZHONG ROUX SHOULD BE USED IN A YEAST BREAD RECIPE?
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I use 3 level tablespoons of white flour (bread or all-purpose) in 1/2 cup of water, for either a 1-1/2 lb or a 2 lb loaf.
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Here is how these quantities are arrived at: (You really don't have to be this exact, unless you want to, this info is just for background info):
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Most Tangzhong roux references say to use 5% of the total recipe flour weight as roux flour. The roux flour is mixed with five times its weight in water. So a loaf using 500 grams of flour would use 25 grams as roux flour (5% the total flour weight) and 125 grams of roux water (5 times 25 grams ). Both of these ingredient amounts are taken from the original recipe ingredients. Extra amounts are not added to the recipe.
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Once again, this is roughly equal to about 3 level Tablespoons of flour mixed in 1/2 cup of water. I use this same amount in 1-1/2 lb and 2 lb loaves. It's close enough for the recipes I have tested.

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