Baking Bread using Tangzhong and / or Yudane

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Tangzhong is also known as 'water-roux'. 

It's a technique in bread making to increase the fluffliness and longevity of your bread. Although the technique originated in Japan, it was the Chinese cook, Yvonne Chen in her book,  "65⁰C Bread Doctor" that popularised it and called it tangzhong. In Japanese, it's yudane.

Now, before I hear accusations of 'it's a bit niche', or see the waving of white flags, bear with me. It is interesting and, in the end, you may think it's a lot more straightforward than you thought it was going to be. 

There are two parts to this process.
1. Preparing the tangzhong or yudane, and
2. Making the bread. 

If you're familiar with sourdough starters, this will seem to be a similar process only considerably quicker.

Let's start by understanding the differences between tangzhong and yudane.

Whether it's in Japanese or Chinese, the word translates as 'roux'. The principle and the end product is the same. To take little of the flour and a little of the water and cook it, so gelatinising the starches in the flour with the hot liquid. 

With yudane, you simply heat the water and add it to the flour. It's marginally easier than with tangzhong, where you mix the flour and water together and bring it to a temperature of 65⁰C. 

So what are the benefits? After all, if there aren't any, then this becomes 'very niche' as my daughter would say!
  1. It gives you lightness and tenderness in the crumb without having to enrich the dough with milk or eggs or butter. (Of course, you can enrich your dough - Hokkaido bread is enriched with milk, butter and eggs - it's an even richer brioche-style loaf from Japan - similar to those airy buns that you find in Asian supermarkets or served to you in Asian restaurants).
  2. Even on a lower hydration (less water), the crumb stays light and fluffy.
  3. Even at a higher hydration (more water), the dough retains its integrity and is still fairly easy to handle.
  4. The bread lasts longer.
  5. It is easily adapted to suit a vegan diet.
  6. It's perfect for sandwiches. 
So, let's focus on tangzhong

It's a roux made with 1 part flour to 5 parts water (or milk, or a mixture of both). It's heated in a pan and stirred constantly until it reaches 65 degrees C. No more, no less. Then it's cooled. It's then added to your usual bread recipe. (65⁰C is, afterall...why the book is so named)

The important thing to realise is that the tangzhong isn't in addition to your recipe, but part of it, so you have to do some calculations and subtract the water and the flour from the total required in your specific recipe. 

How much tangzhong do I need? 

You need to use between 4% and 8% of your total flour in the roux. So, if your recipe asks for 400gms of flour, you'd be using between 16 gms (4%) and 32 (8%) gms. Your main flour mix (outside of the roux) would then be reduced to between 384 gms (4%) and 368 gms (8%).

Likewise, if we need a 1: 5 ratio (flour to water), then the total water content would also be reduced. So, if your recipe asks for 280 mls of water, you'd be using between 55 mls (4%) and 110 mls (8%). Your main water content (ourside of the roux) would then be reduced to between 225 mls (4%) and 170 mls (8%)

By the way, 280 mls of water and 400 gms of flour would give you a hydration level of 70%. If you're new to hydration levels, you might want to read this:

Here the tangzhong differs from the yudane in that the ratio in yudane of flour to water is 1:1. 

You can make the Tangzhong ahead of time, let it cool and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day. 

If you use BreadClub20 regularly, you'll be used to me 'walking' you through recipes and techniques. 

Today, we're going to make a basic white sandwich loaf using tangzhong. 

This is not a technique for basic white bread only. When you feel confident, you can experiment with yudane, or alter the quantities and ingredients to change the hydration. Try using almond, soy or dairy milk in the recipe. And you can use wholemeal / strong white mix or coarse flours like rye and spelt. 

Or, you can take your own recipe and try using tanzhong in it. 

OK, let's make a start. 


We're going to use a total of 500 gms of flour and 370 mls of water. This gives an hydration level of 74%. Because we're making this bread in a loaf tin, we don't need to worry about it being able to retain its structure as it would need to if we were to bake it freeform. 

We're also going to use 6% of our flour and 30% of our water for the tangzhong (i.e. 1: 5 flour to water ratio)

For the tangzhong

30 gms of strong white bread flour
111 mls of water

For the dough

470 gms of strong white bread flour
259 mls water
1 tblsp dried milk powder
1 oz unsalted butter
1 tblsp demerara sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active instant yeast


For the Tangzhong
  1. Put the 30 gms of flour and the 111 mls of water into a small saucepan.
  2. Heat through, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Using thermometer, take off the heat as soon as it reaches 65⁰C and using a flexible scraper, transfer to a bowl.
  4. Cover with cling film so the film touches the top of the roux - this will help it not to form a skin.
  5. Leave to cool 

For the dough

If you're using a machine, add the tangzhong, flour and the salt to the pan and cover with the liquid. Leave to autolyse for thirty minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and choose a Basic Dough programme (2hrs 20 minutes). The proceed to the next stage. 

If you're mixing by hand or using a stand mixer, add the softened butter and the salt to the flour and mix thoroughly. Add the tangzhong. Mix thoroughly. Then add othe remainder of the dry ingredients (except the yeast). Slowly add the liquid and then the yeast until you have a sticky mix. Turn the mix out onto a floured board and knead until you have a silky and pliable dough. (There are 'Help' videos and articles in the 'Useful Web and YouTube links' on the lefthand side of this page). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave for an hour somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size. 

Weigh the dough. My mix came in at 923 gms. I divided it into two - each piece weighing 461 gms. 

The dough is lovely to handle, light and fluffy. 

Tip the dough out onto a lightly-floured board. Knock the air out of it, flatten it out and then pull the dough away from you, holding on to the dough nearest to you with one hand. Fold it back towards you about two thirds of the way. Turn the dough through 90 degrees. Pull away from you, stretch gently, fold in and turn. Repeat for about eight or so turns until you feel the dough stiffening up. 

Form the dough into a boule and gently pull the dough ball towards you across the worktop. This will increase the surface tension of the dough. 

There's enough dough for two x 2lb tins. The walls of the tin will help the rising dough to 'behave'!

Place the dough in a well-oiled loaf tin and leave to prove, somewhere warm (21⁰ C at most) for one hour or until it has doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 190⁰C

Place on a low shelf and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a wire rack. 

Incredibly light and fluffy bread that is perfect for sandwiches. 

Happy baking...烘烤愉快...


  1. Hi! I love the details you provide in your step by step recipes! I'm confused about how to calculate how much Tang zhong I need. If I'm looking at making 4% Tang zhong calculations, I get the 16gms flour (4% x 400gms flour). But for the water amount you have is 55mls for 1:5 ratio, should it be 80(16x5)?

  2. خبز برجر بطاطس I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much.


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