tangzhong sweet cinnamon rolls

I love making bread but I don't like how quickly it goes stale. I try to freeze any excess as soon as I can but my freezer is quite small. When I heard about the Japanese method of bread making called tangzhong which claims to make fluffy longer lasting bread I was intrigued. As I hadn't made cinnamon rolls for a while I thought I'd tangzhong a recipe I found in Gourmet Traveller.

You make a roux from a portion of the flour in the recipe, about 5%, with 5 times the liquid. The cooled roux or tangzhong is then added to the bread dough ingredients to make a rough dough which you rest for 20 minutes before kneading.

The dough rose like crazy and when cooked had a lovely texture. I haven't had the chance to test how long the rolls stay fresh because I froze them to avoid too much temptation. I'm keen to tangzhong some other recipes now like a babka or hot cross buns.

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. I have a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Sweet cinnamon rolls makes 12
150 mls milk
30g plain flour

100 ml lukewarm milk 
7 gm dried yeast (1 sachet)
520 gm plain flour
50 gm caster sugar
40 gm cornflour 
1 tsp vanilla
80 gm butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
25g melted butter
Pearl sugar or coarsely crushed sugar cubes, for sprinkling

Cinnamon filling
60 gm softened butter
30 gm caster sugar
30 gm brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp cornflour

To make the tangzhong, combine the milk and flour in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. This will probably take only a minute or so. Remove from the heat, and set it aside for several minutes.

Whisk half the milk and yeast in a bowl to combine and set aside until foamy (4-5 minutes). Mix the tangzhong, flour, sugar, cornflour, vanilla and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine. Add yeast mixture, butter, egg and a little of the milk and mix until everything comes together. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead. Knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes).Transfer to a lightly oiled or buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1½-2 hours).

Meanwhile, for cinnamon filling, beat ingredients in a bowl to combine and set aside.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock down, and then roll out to a 35cm square. Spread evenly with cinnamon filling, then fold the top third of the dough down, then the bottom third up to cover. 

Roll into a 20cm x 36cm rectangle and then cut into 3cm-wide, 20cm-long strips. Working with a strip at a time, hold each end and stretch and twist until the whole length is twisted. Take one end of the dough strip and coil the dough once around your hand, then fold the end over the top of the coil and tuck it underneath. 

Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper and repeat with remaining dough strips, leaving about 5cm between each for buns to spread. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and stand until doubled in size (25-30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 220°C. Brush the knots lightly with the melted butter, sprinkle with the sugar and bake, swapping trays partway through cooking, until dark golden brown (15-20 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature on the day of baking.

Now that flour is back on the shelves in the supermarket, I made another loaf of bread this weekend, this time a no knead rye loaf which was delicious. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



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