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Heart-Shaped Buns (Tangzhong Method)

Monday, February 14, 2011 | Labels: , |

Happy Valentine's Day my dear readers!  I still remember that last year's Valentine's day fell on the first day of Chinese New Year and I thought it was a cute coincidence.  Over the weekend, I baked these heart-shaped rolls using the ever-reliable tangzhong (water roux starter) method.  If you still have not tried this method of making bread at home, you should and I promise you that you won't be disappointed!  Imagine a baking novice like yours truly is able to produce soft and fluffy bread at home and sans a breadmaker too - seriously anyone would be able to make these breads at home. 


I think I was a little overzealous on the jam so some of the jam did squirt out a little while being baked but I thought it contributed to the cuteness of the 'hearts'.  I filled half of the buns with raspberry jam and half with peanut butter for sweet and savoury 'hearts'.  If you are not using a breadmaker, the dough may seem sticky at first but just perservere and try your best not to add too much bread flour while kneading (you will be tempted to!), your tangzhong bread will still turn out wonderfully soft and pillowy.

tangzhong bread

I am sending this as my first entry to Aspiring Bakers for its' Love In The Air theme created by Small Small Baker and hosted by  Cuisine Paradise this round.

Recipe adapted from Christine's Recipes


For the starter:
1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water (room temperature)

For the bread:
2 1/2 cups bread flour
3 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp dry milk powder
Half of the tangzhong from above
2 tsp instant yeast
6 tbsps butter (room temperature)

Enough jam
Enough peanut butter

Tangzhong Buns


For the starter:

1. Mix the bread flour with the water well, making sure there are no lumps.

2. Cook the mixture on medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula frequently to keep from burning or sticking.

3. The flour paste should be getting thicker and thicker slowly. Once you see lines appearing after running your spatula through your mixture, the tangzhong is ready. This took me about 8 minutes but the time may vary so watch carefully.

4. Place the tangzhong in a bowl and wrap with clingwrap with it touching the top of the tangzhong to prevent from drying out. Let cool in room temperature and then place in fridge. I left mine overnight before using.

For the bread:

1. Firstly, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (large enough for kneading) - the bread flour, sugar, salt, yeast. Make a well in the center of the ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together, the egg, tangzhong and the milk. Pour slowly into the well of the first bowl.

2. With your hands, mix the ingredients well together until a crumbly dough starts to form. The dough will be sticky. Knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. Add in the butter and continue kneading.

3. I kneaded for about 20 minutes at least. Use the heels of your palms to knead. If you're using a bread machine, add the dry ingredients first then the wet ingredients. Add the yeast into the yeast dispenser if you have one on your machine if not, add it in last.

4. The kneading gets pretty messy especially if you did it like me - the hard way! Knead until when you stretch the dough, a kind of membrane forms and the dough feels elastic and smooth.

5. Shape the dough loosely into a ball. Place in a well-greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise to double its' size (around 1 hour).

6. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface. Deflate the dough by pummeling on it lightly. Divide the dough into 12 roughly equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball shape and let rest covered with cling wrap for at least 15 minutes.

7. Roll each ball into a flat oval shape. Fold from top to bottom and flatten with rolling pin. Roll into a long cylinder.  Brush jam (or peanut butter or filling of your choice) on the cylinder and holding up both ends, roll the ends up toward each other much like how you shape palmiers.  Gently shape the roll into a heart shape and place on lined baking tray.
8. Allow to proof for the second time about 40 minutes. Sprinkle some sanding sugar (I used lavender) on top.  This step is optional.
Before baking:

1. Glaze the buns with beaten egg mixture.

2. Bake the buns in preheated oven of 175 degrees celcius for about 30 minutes till golden brown.

Tangzhong Buns


tigerfish said...

No, I can't make these. So not everyone can do this. :O Happy Valentine's Day!

noobcook said...

What a pretty bun to make for V Day. Hope you had a good one!

tastesofhomejen said...

haha, you're funny! Thanks! Happy V day!

tastesofhomejen said...

Shaz, thanks! yes, it is a great method for bread :)

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