For the longest time, I have wanted to try out the tangzhong (汤种法) or water roux method of baking, which is a baking technique made popular by the Japanese and then widely adopted by Taiwanese and other bakers in Asia.
The tangzhong method of preparing the dough delivers soft and fluffy bread that stays fresh without the use of any preservatives. Many Asian food bloggers swear by the method; I have been fascinated by the technique but only have a chance to try it out recently.
The tangzhong method lies in the creation of a “bread starter” by cooking the bread flour and water mixture until it reaches the temperature of 65° C. This 65° C bread starter increases the moisture absorption of the typical dough and hences produces soft, light, and pillowy bread. There are many recipes online using the tangzhong method and I decided to try cheese breadsticks because both little G and I love it. It’s one of those things that he would always asks for whenever we are at an Asian bakery store.
As you all know, I’m an inexperience baker so the method took me the whole afternoon. The end result of the cheese breadstick was satisfactory and we all enjoyed the warm and soft breadsticks that were fresh off the oven. I left some of them at room temperature for a few days but I personally find that there is no difference compared with the breads I got from the bakery. The cheese breadsticks didn’t stay soft and fresh after the first day.
Anyway, I’m still glad that I tried out the cheese breadstick recipe and the tangzhong method. As to whether or not I will continue to use this method to bake, I probably won’t. Living in Irvine, we are spoiled with the many varieties and very good baked goods sold by Asian bakery stores. To me, it’s just so much easier to buy from the store. ;)
Adapted from Food 4 Tots
Make 9-10 breadsticks | Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cook/Bake Time: 20 minutes
Tang Zhong/Water Roux:
1 oz (25g) bread flour
5 oz (125g) water
2 oz (65g) water
1 large (60g) egg, lightly beaten
2 3/4 oz (75g) tang zhong/water roux
1 teaspoon (6g) salt
1 oz (30g) sugar
1.5 cups + 1 tablespoon (195g) bread flour
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (90g) all purpose flour
2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (14g) baking milk powder
2 teaspoons (6g) yeast
3 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of milk for egg wash
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
1.5 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preparing the Tang Zhong/Water Roux
Add 1oz bread flour to 5oz water in a sauce pan. Stir to mix.
Turn the heat to low and keep stirring the mixture until it becomes paste-like. Use a candy/cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature. Remove from the heat once the mixture reaches 149°F or 65°Celsius.
Transfer the mixture into a glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover the surface with saran wrap/cling wrap. Let it sit to cool down to room temperature or refrigerate for later use.
Tang Zhong Dough
Attach the dough hook on your mixer. Transfer the Wet Ingredients to the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add in the salt and sugar first and then the other Dry Ingredients with the yeast added last.
Set the speed to low. When all the ingredients are well combined and the dough is not sticking to the side of the bowl, then turn the speed to medium speed until gluten forms. TDepending on mixer, mine took about 5-6 minutes.
Slowly sdd the butter to the dough in 3 batches and let it mix at slow speed until the dough looks not sticky. Be patient, this step may take a bit of time. When all the butter is kneaded into the dough, set the speed to medium and let it knead for 6-8 minutes until the window pane test (see picture).
Grease a bowl, round the dough and gently leave it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it rise for 40 minutes or until it double in size. Dust your finger with some flour, insert it into the center of the dough until you touch the bottom. If the dough in the hole doesn’t rise up, then it is ready for the next step.
Divide the dough into 9-10 smaller portions. Round the dough like a ball, cover with saran wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Line the baking trays with parchment papers.
Next, use your hand to flatten the dough to release the air. Turn the dough bottom side up and roll it up. Seal the opening tightly from one end to the other. Roll it out into a log about 8-10 inches long. Place each log on to the baking tray about 2 inches apart. Cover the baking tray with saran wrap and let it proof for another 40 minutes or until it almost double the size.
Preheat the oven at 350°F. Prepare the egg wash.
Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the cheese and chopped parsley. Bake them for 14-16 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack when is ready.
For freshness, store the Cheese Breadsticks in air tight container.
Yuo can use the oven to proof the dough. Remember to remove any cover. Place your dough inside the oven in the middle rack. Pour in some boiling water into another pan and place this underneath the baking tray with the dough. Turn the heat to 400°F for 1 minute, turn it off and do not open the door until the recommended proofing time.
You can use any type of cheese you prefer.
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