Tangzhong starter is a mixture of bread flour and water / milk / water + milk. The ratio is always 1 (bread flour) : 5 (water).
The mixture is heated to gelatinize which is crucial to make soft and fluffy bread which stays fresh longer.
From Wiki :
Starch gelatinization is a process that breaks down the intermolecular bonds of starch molecules in the presence of water and heat, allowing the hydrogen bonding sites (the hydroxyl hydrogen and oxygen) to engage more water. This irreversibly dissolves the starch granule. Penetration of water increases randomness in the general granule structure and decreases the number and size of crystallineamorphous form. Under the microscope in polarized light starch loses its birefringence and its extinction cross. This process is used in cooking to make roux sauce, pastry, custard or popcorn. regions. Crystalline regions do not allow water entry. Heat causes such regions to become diffuse, so that the chains begin to separate into an
- Gelatinization is also known as the thickening of a liquid.
- The starch grains/flour granules absorb the liquid.
- When heated, the grains/granules swell and then burst, releasing starch into the liquid.
- The granules/grains swell to 30 times their original size (swelling power, peak viscosity).
To make Tangzhong starter — Water Roux
25g bread flour
1. whisk flour and water together until the mixture is well blended and lump free. heat the mixture with a whisk over medium heat and stir till it reaches 65 C.
2. the whole process takes about 2-3 minutes only. worry not if you have no thermometer because after my first attempt, i ditched the thermometer. all you need is to stay focus and stare at the mixture. hahaha! no, i kid you not! as you stir, you will notice the mixture gets thicker and thicker until the ‘lines’ appear (see right picture above). this, is tangzhong. immediately remove or switch off fire.
3. transfer tangzhong to a clean bowl and cover loosely with a plastic wrap sticking to its surface to prevent drying (a layer skin will form when it dries up). let it cool completely before using.
Personally, i prefer making the starter on the day i am gonna use it.
I have once let it chilled overnight (just 1 night) in the fridge and the bread i baked the next day turned out not as soft. Or perhaps, it’s just me.. because it seems that tangzhong starter that has aged for 12 hours in the fridge yields better result! However, another school of thought confirms that tangzhong starter doesn’t improve its flavour with age, unlike sourdough starter. Whatever it is, i’m sticking to making tangzhong on my bread making day. :)
Tangzhong can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days but do discard once it turns grey in colour. Just bring it to room temperature before using it.