A while ago, I made a delicious wild garlic pesto milk bread and it was the first time I used the tangzhong method of making bread. I’d read a lot about it and the videos and pictures I saw produced some of the most amazing soft fluffy breads.
The tangzhong method involves making a sort of roux using some of the flour and liquid in a recipe. You essentially cook the flour off until it reaches 65 degrees and then you leave it somewhere to cool before you use it. As the name suggests it originated in Japan and once I found the calculation to convert practically any recipe to a tangzhong recipe I knew I had to try it in these tangzhong chelsea buns.
Not every recipe works with the tangzhong method, you want some breads to be crunchy, chewy or dense, but if you’re looking for soft fluffy loaves or buns that have a slightly longer shelf-life then you need tangzhong. I used the calculations here to help me convert the recipe below.
I also found some wonderful golden sultanas in a local Asian food store and knew I wanted to use them in a recipe. I soaked them in a rich creamy Oloroso sherry for about an hour and then they were plump and perfect.
I was so pleased with how these came out, when I meet up with my Mum we quite often have a Belgian bun and after looking online I just couldn’t find a recipe that ticked all the boxes. This is what led me to try making chelsea buns, they have the classic swirl, but no icing and glace cherry I’m afraid.
There’s been a bit of a gap between my last recipe on the blog, I have still been baking and experimenting, but there wasn’t anything I was happy enough with to share. I’ve tried two iterations of millionaires shortbread and both of those had flaws. I also got disheartened by a few other failures and it made me lose my desire to experiment with baking. I do however have some new ideas, so keep an eye on the blog and on instagram.
Tangzhong Chelsea Buns
- ***Tangzhong Starter***
- 25 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 125 ml Milk
- 475 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 30 g Caster Sugar
- 1 Tsp Fine Salt
- 7 g Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 75 g Unsalted Butter
- 175 ml Milk
- 2 Tsp Mixed Spice
- 1 Large Egg
- ***Sherry Soaked Sultanas***
- 100 g Golden Sultanas
- 2 Tbsp of Sherry Oloroso style
- 100 g Unsalted Butter softened
- 200 g Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 50 ml Milk
- 50 g Caster Sugar
- 3 Tbsp Demerara Sugar
- Begin by making the tangzhong, place the milk and bread flour in a saucepan and whisk it gently until it thickens and reaches 65 degrees.
- Scrape the tangzhong into a bowl and cover it with a layer of clingfilm so that a skin doesn't form. Leave to cool to room temperature.
- Place the sultanas in a small bowl and cover with the sherry, leave to steep while you make the dough.
- Put the milk, butter and mixed spice into a small saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat until all the butter has melted. Set aside until just lukewarm.
- To make the dough, put the flour, caster sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of a food mixer and fit it with a dough hook.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, then pour in the milk mixture, the tangzhong and the egg.
- Mix the dough on a low speed until it starts to come together, then knead on a medium speed for about 10 minutes or until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
- Place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it to rise for about 1-1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll into a 40cm x 50cm rectangle.
- Using a butter knife, spread the butter in an even layer across the entire surface of the dough, then sprinkle over the sugar.
- Drain the sultanas, you don't want the excess liquid and sprinkle them over the dough, press them down so they stay in the dough.
- Roll up the dough into a cylinder along the long edge, keeping the spiral tight. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 even slices.
- Arrange the buns in the base of a 20cm x 30cm non-stick baking tin, with the spiral facing upwards. Cover the tin loosely with cling film, set aside and allow the buns to prove for 45-60 minutes until risen and touching.
- While the buns are proving, heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Once proved, bake the buns for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze: put the milk and caster sugar in a small pan, then bring to the boil over a low heat. Remove and allow to cool.
- Remove the buns from the oven and immediately brush with the cooled milk glaze, then sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Tear off each bun as required and eat while still warm or at room temperature.
I feel like I want to tangzhong everything now, could it make brioche even more indulgent? Do you think it would add anything to a panettone or a stollen? If you’ve successfully converted recipes to tangzhong let me know what you tried and how you got on.
Thanks for reading.