Incorporating tangzhong for a recipe that doesn't originally have it


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If I want to include the process of tangzhong in a sweet bread, do I simply take a portion of its flour and water content and heat that up? Or do I have to recalculate the entire recipe's flour to water content in order to get precise measurements? Is there an easier way to do this?

Here's the recipe I use:
1000g all purpose flour
150g evaporated milk
180g white sugar
20g instant yeast
200g water
3 large eggs
160g butter
5g salt

TIA for any help.
 
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If I want to include the process of tangzhong in a sweet bread, do I simply take a portion of its flour and water content and heat that up? Or do I have to recalculate the entire recipe's flour to water content in order to get precise measurements? Is there an easier way to do this?

Here's the recipe I use:
1000g all purpose flour
150g evaporated milk
180g white sugar
20g instant yeast
200g water
3 large eggs
160g butter
5g salt

TIA for any help.

The problem with these recipes for Asian style sweet breads is the hydration is too low. Tangzhong ratio is 1:5 flour to liquid.

When converting to tangzhong, you increase the hydration in the recipe by 10% to 12% depending on the type of flour. You really have to experiment to find how much

This recipe only has 35% hydration. You use 5% - 10% of the flour in the recipe.

If you increase the hydration by 12% it would be 392 mL liquid total (evaporated milk and water).

tangzhong ratio 1:5:
5% of the flour is 50g (.05 ÷ 1000 = 50)
5 x 50g = 250ml

total increased liquid is 392 ml
392 - 250 = 142ml

Remaining flour after 50g used for tangzhong is 950g:
142 mL liquid is not enough for 950g flour as that is only 14.9% hydration.

The liquid in the tangzhong will not provide hydration directly into the flour in a traditional way. Tangzhong works in recipes with the traditional 60% - 65% hydration (adjusted up by 10% - 12% for tangzhong)


This also is probably not the best recipe to use because of the evaporated milk. Canned milk tastes strange and evaporated milk has 60% of the water removed, yet a much higher fat and lactose content than fresh milk because it is concentrated (evaporated milk contains 6.6% fat and 10% lactose vs fresh milk 3.3% fat and 4.5% lactose).

Plus the lactose in evaporated milk is already caramelized due to the evaporation process. The high fat and lactose content of milk adversely effect rise and browning in baked goods.

That said, how to convert a recipe to tangzhong

Use the flour and liquid in the recipe

Calculate the total hydration. This recipe has water and evaporated milk. Add them then divide them into the weight of the flour for the total hydration percentage.

Increase the total hydration by about 10% - 12%. You have to experiment to find out the exact amount that you need to increase the hydration. Make the tangzhong according to the ratio, then add the remainder of the liquid into the recipe.

Tangzhong is 1:5 ratio flour to liquid
Use 5% - 10% of the flour and increased liquid from the recipe. The typical American laziness has them using the microwave. I can’t understand why they can’t be bothered with a sauce pan and spatula and couple of minutes cooking on the stove top. The microwave leads to overcooking. And once you over cook the flour it’s no good. So I recommend you skip the lazy American microwave method, and cook the tangzhong on the stovetop.

Heat the flour and water on the over medium high heat on stove top stirring constantly. I prefer to use a heat proof spatula. When the mixture begins to thicken slightly and the movement of the Spatula through The mixture leaves visible lines with each pass, immediately remove it from the heat transfer it to a clean bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and leave it to cool to room temperature.
 
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Messages
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The problem with these recipes for Asian style sweet breads is the hydration is too low. Tangzhong ratio is 1:5 flour to liquid.

When converting to tangzhong, you increase the hydration in the recipe by 10% to 12% depending on the type of flour. You really have to experiment to find how much

This recipe only has 35% hydration. You use 5% - 10% of the flour in the recipe.

If you increase the hydration by 12% it would be 392 mL liquid total (evaporated milk and water).

tangzhong ratio 1:5:
5% of the flour is 50g (.05 ÷ 1000 = 50)
5 x 50g = 250ml

total increased liquid is 392 ml
392 - 250 = 142ml

Remaining flour after 50g used for tangzhong is 950g:
142 mL liquid is not enough for 950g flour as that is only 14.9% hydration.

The liquid in the tangzhong will not provide hydration directly into the flour in a traditional way. Tangzhong works in recipes with the traditional 60% - 65% hydration (adjusted up by 10% - 12% for tangzhong)


This also is probably not the best recipe to use because of the evaporated milk. Canned milk tastes strange and evaporated milk has 60% of the water removed, yet a much higher fat and lactose content than fresh milk because it is concentrated (evaporated milk contains 6.6% fat and 10% lactose vs fresh milk 3.3% fat and 4.5% lactose).

Plus the lactose in evaporated milk is already caramelized due to the evaporation process. The high fat and lactose content of milk adversely effect rise and browning in baked goods.

That said, how to convert a recipe to tangzhong

Use the flour and liquid in the recipe

Calculate the total hydration. This recipe has water and evaporated milk. Add them then divide them into the weight of the flour for the total hydration percentage.

Increase the total hydration by about 10% - 12%. You have to experiment to find out the exact amount that you need to increase the hydration. Make the tangzhong according to the ratio, then add the remainder of the liquid into the recipe.

Tangzhong is 1:5 ratio flour to liquid
Use 5% - 10% of the flour and increased liquid from the recipe. The typical American laziness has them using the microwave. I can’t understand why they can’t be bothered with a sauce pan and spatula and couple of minutes cooking on the stove top. The microwave leads to overcooking. And once you over cook the flour it’s no good. So I recommend you skip the lazy American microwave method, and cook the tangzhong on the stovetop.

Heat the flour and water on the over medium high heat on stove top stirring constantly. I prefer to use a heat proof spatula. When the mixture begins to thicken slightly and the movement of the Spatula through The mixture leaves visible lines with each pass, immediately remove it from the heat transfer it to a clean bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and leave it to cool to room temperature.

Wow, thank you so much for the incredibly detailed response. This is highly appreciated. I probably would've had to go to culinary school to get my hands on any of that info, yet you gave it off just like that. You're great.

The main thing I got from your message is that the recipe is low hydration, and that it wouldn't traditionally benefit from tangzhong if I had tried to apply it. I assume that would change if I:
a.) Increase the hydration level by 10-12% as per your recommendation
b.) Replace evaporated milk with fresh milk

When increasing the liquids, how do I gauge which of the two (water and milk) I should add more of than the other? In the original recipe, the water is 50g more than the evaporated milk. Your instructions and calculations look at the liquids at combined volumes.

Also, just as a side note: I (manually) make this bread recipe weekly because I sell it as Cheese Rolls. The dough portions are 50g each. I've had great feedback from my customers, both new and repeat buyers, so really, there's nothing wrong with the recipe per se. I'm just looking to up the ante with the quality of my goods. I should also mention that, where I'm from, canned evaporated milk is significantly cheaper than fresh milk, which makes it the economically more practical choice in making these rolls. I'm not closing off on upgrading my recipe though if it means I get to make better quality products.
 
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Wow, thank you so much for the incredibly detailed response. This is highly appreciated. I probably would've had to go to culinary school to get my hands on any of that info, yet you gave it off just like that. You're great.

The main thing I got from your message is that the recipe is low hydration, and that it wouldn't traditionally benefit from tangzhong if I had tried to apply it. I assume that would change if I:
a.) Increase the hydration level by 10-12% as per your recommendation
b.) Replace evaporated milk with fresh milk

When increasing the liquids, how do I gauge which of the two (water and milk) I should add more of than the other? In the original recipe, the water is 50g more than the evaporated milk. Your instructions and calculations look at the liquids at combined volumes.

Also, just as a side note: I (manually) make this bread recipe weekly because I sell it as Cheese Rolls. The dough portions are 50g each. I've had great feedback from my customers, both new and repeat buyers, so really, there's nothing wrong with the recipe per se. I'm just looking to up the ante with the quality of my goods. I should also mention that, where I'm from, canned evaporated milk is significantly cheaper than fresh milk, which makes it the economically more practical choice in making these rolls. I'm not closing off on upgrading my recipe though if it means I get to make better quality products.

IMO if you have a good product that is selling well do not mess with the formula. And I don’t mean to be rude, but it seems you lack an understanding of baker’s percentages, which is the fundamentals of commercial baking. And tangzhong requires baker’s percentages. You need to increase the liquid, recalculate the overall hydration; then we calculate the ratio of milk and water. All of it is baker’s percentages.

Generally where cost is a factor, Non-fat Dried Milk Powder is used. This is not the same milk powder that is sold in retail grocery stores. Rather this is a high temperature treated milk powder made specifically for commercial baking applications. It’s an emulsifier. It doesn’t add flavor but it’s all about texture and mouthfeel.


That said, if you want to add tangzhong, you need to get the overall hydration up to about 20% in this recipe, I think 14% total hydration is just too low. I am quite sure you’ll end up with a very dense and heavy roll with tangzhong if you don’t bring the hydration up to about 20%.


Right now the baker’s percentages for liquid are milk 15%; water is 20%, total of 35% hydration.

Ratios to flour are roughly
  • Water: 0.5719
  • Milk: 0.4286

When you increase the liquid, you have to keep in mind that milk has fat and lactose. So you want maintain the flour, milk, and water ratios. You don’t know how much to actually increase the liquid, the 10% – 12% is just a basic guideline to start. The protein and ash content of your flour is going to determine how much liquid you need. If your flour is bleached, then 12% might be plenty enough. If your flour is unbleached with 11.7% protein like a King Arthur flour you may need a lot more liquid.

suppose you had a high protein flour and you had to take the hydration up to 430ml total liquid for a hydration level of 43% in the dough.

Water: 0.5719 × 430 = 245ml
Milk: 0.4286 c 430 = 184ml
This is the breakdown of your liquids. Whatever you end up increasing the total liquid, you still want to keep the same ratios.

You have a lot of egg, which is also hydration. But you have no clue as to the baker’s percentages because you don’t weigh your eggs.

You should be weighing your eggs, not adding eggs by x number of eggs. A large egg in the US without shell can weigh anywhere from 48ml to 54ml. That’s a significant difference. Eggs add hydration. So you should weigh your eggs and determine exactly what the baker’s percentage for eggs are in this formula. Then use the same weight of eggs for every batch.


This explains non-fat dried milk powder (NFDM) that is specially formulated for a baking. You cannot use retail milk powder for baking; retail milk powder is a completely different type of powder made for drinking not baking.



 

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