Multipurpose Soft Bread Rolls (Tangzhong)

Asian bread rolls

Soft and fluffy bread rolls. Don’t mistake them for milk bread which is the sweeter and more delicate cousin. These bread rolls have substance and can stand up to heavier fillings like char siu and curry, making them the perfect base for your customizations. One of my favorite ways to use them? As burger buns!

Asian bread rolls

Tips & Recommendations for a successful bake:

  1. This is sourdough so time and patience are key! Make sure the dough has properly risen before shaping & baking.
  2. Do not skip the egg wash. It makes the buns nice and glossy
  3. Make sure the Tanzhong has cooled to room temperature before using
  4. This is a plain bun– only with a touch of sweetness, if you like sweeter bread, add an extra 10-15g of sugar.
  5. The mixed dough is wet and sticky– try working with it and kneading it until a smooth dough forms. If it is too sticky to handle, add you can add some flour, 10g at a time. Avoiding adding too much additional flour.

What is Tangzhong

Tangzhong is a gel-like roux made from cooking flour with a liquid. The roux holds in moisture and makes the resulting bread soft and fluffy!

Similar techniques of “cooking the flour” when handling floured recipes can be seen all over the world. For example, when making tortillas, hot water is added to flour and mixed until a dough is formed. The dough is then rested before dividing and cooking. The hot water causes the starches in the flour to gelatinize, allowing the resulting dough to hold more water and stay softer longer.

To learn more about Tangzhong and how to adapt recipes to use it see my

Basic Soft Asian Bread Rolls (Tangzhong)

Ultra soft, fluffy and lightly sweet bread rolls.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Rest time2 hours
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: bread
Servings: 4 rolls



  • 12 g all purpose flour
  • 60 g milk or water

Main dough

  • 145 g all purpose flour
  • 3 g active dry yeast
  • 15 g sugar +5g for a sweeter bread
  • 25 g egg 1/2 an egg– use the other half for egg wash
  • 32 g milk
  • all tangzong
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • sesame seeds to top

Egg wash

  • 25 g egg 1/2 an egg– use the other half for the main dough
  • 1.5 tsp water


  • Make the Tangzhong: combine flour and water in a pan and heat it on medium heat, constantly mixing until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
  • Warm the milk and dissolve in the sugar. The mixture should be warm but not too hot to the touch. Sprinkle yeast on top and set aside for 5 minutes for the yeast to bloom.
  • Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Scramble an egg and add to the cooled tangzhong, then add the yeast mixture followed by the flour mixture. Mix and knead until a dough ball forms. It should be pretty sticky but cleans from the side of the bowl. Add butter and squeeze it into the dough. The dough will come apart but will come back together– continue to knead until a smooth elastic ball forms. ~10 minutes by hand. Lightly oil the dough, cover and let rise ~1 hr or until the dough has doubled.
    dough proofing
  • Once doubled, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and roll into tight balls. Place it on a lined baking tray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Make the egg wash by beating egg and water together. Brush the top of the buns with the egg wash, sprinkle with with sesame seeds. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Enjoy warm or room temperature. Store in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to 5 days at room temperature, longer in the fridge.


Recipe adapted from Awayofmind Bakery House

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