Tangzhong Is the Key to Making the Softest Rolls You’ve Ever Had

Winter is definitely a bread season. Who doesn’t love a warm roll slathered in butter? It’s comfort food for sure, especially when the temperatures reach the point where they get labeled “frigid.” If you want soft, tender rolls that stay plush for days, use tangzhong in your bread dough. Tangzhong is a gelatinized starch paste that’s made by heating flour with milk or water. Incorporating tangzhong into dough is a traditional Chinese technique to make soft rolls. Tangzhong isn't just for soft rolls — it can be incorporated into any yeast bread recipe that’s meant to be soft. How do you make tangzhong? It’s similar to making a roux, but easier. To make tangzhong, whisk one part flour to four parts liquid in a pot until smooth. Turn the heat on medium. It’s best to use a rubber spatula because it makes better contact with the pan. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens. This only takes about one minute for a small amount of tangzhong. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Next, add it into the mixing bowl after the yeast has bloomed, along with all of the other dough ingredients. Proceed with mixing and proofing as indicated in your recipe. Your bread will bake up tall and fluffy with a fine, tender crumb.