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milk bread made with a water roux
Traditional Chinese湯種
Simplified Chinese汤种
Literal meaninghot water starter

Tangzhong (Chinese: 湯種; pinyin: tāngzhǒng), also known as a water roux or yu-dane (Japanese: 湯種, romanizedyu-dane)[1][2] is a paste of flour cooked in water or milk to over 65 °C (149 °F) which is used to improve the texture of bread and increase the amount of time it takes to stale.[3]

Tangzhong is a gel, which helps stabilize the wheat starches in the bread, to prevent recrystallization which is the main cause of staling. The Chinese characters for the technique translate to "soup method".[4]


For yu-dane the flour is mixed with an equal weight of boiling water poured over it. This mixture then holds moisture so that, when it is added to a bread mix, the dough bakes with a soft, fluffy texture and the bread then keeps for longer.[4]

For tangzhong the flour is cooked at 65 °C (149 °F) in the liquid which causes its starch to gelatinize.[5] The gelatinized roux is generally used at a moderate temperature and apparently also contributes to slightly greater rise during baking.

The gelatinized flour is more stable than normal bread dough, which normally tends to crystallize, creating stale bread. Because the water roux blocks that process the bread keeps longer.


"Scalding" flour, especially rye flour, for baking is a technique that has been used for centuries and is traditional in China to make steamed buns.[6][4] The technique was used to develop Japanese Milk Bread in the 20th century.[4]

The Pasco Shikishima Corporation (Japanese: 敷島製パン) was granted a patent in Japan for making bread using the yu-dane method in 2001.[7] The yu-dane method was then modified by Taiwanese pastry chef Yvonne Chen (Chinese: 陳郁芬), who published a book in 2007 called 65°C Bread Doctor (Chinese: 65°C 湯種麵包), borrowing the Japanese term 湯種 directly.[8] This book popularized the technique throughout Asia.[5][9]

In 2010, food author Christine Ho first wrote about the technique in English, using the Mandarin pronunciation of 湯種, tangzhong ([tʰáŋ.ʈʂʊ̀ŋ]).[10] She subsequently wrote more than twenty recipes using the method,[11] which helped popularize the technique in the English-speaking world.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bain, Jennifer (7 October 2015). "Learn to make Bake Code's goji berry roll". Toronto Star. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  2. ^ Wija, Tantri (5 September 2017). "New Korean bakery in Burro Alley offers East Asian-style treats and familiar favorites". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Tangzhong Makes Milk Bread Better—But Not for the Reason You Think". 16 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d Moskin, Julia (22 April 2014). "Japanese Milk Bread". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Hamel, P.J. (26 March 2018). "Introduction to tangzhong". King Arthur Baking Company. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  6. ^ Friberg, Bo; Friberg, Amy Kemp (2002), The Professional Pastry Chef – Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, Wiley, p. 145, ISBN 9780471359258, Breads made by the scalding method have been eaten for centuries...
  7. ^ JP patent 3167692B2, Shibata Tadashi 柴田 太 & Kato Hironobu 加藤 博信, "Production of Bread パン類の製造方法", issued 2001-05-21, assigned to Pasco Shikishima Corporation 敷島製パン株式会社 
  8. ^ Chen, Yvonne (2007). 65°C湯種麵包 (in Traditional Chinese). Taipei, Taiwan: Chi-Lin Publishing Company 旗林文化. ISBN 9789866881718.
  9. ^ Saffitz, Claire (21 May 2021). "For Better Bakes, Perfect This Versatile Dough". New York Times. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  10. ^ Ho, Christine (2 March 2010). "Japanese Style Bacon and Cheese Bread (Tangzhong Method 湯種法)". Christine’s Recipes. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  11. ^ Ho, Christine. "Posts sorted by date for query tangzhong". Christine’s Recipes. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  12. ^ McTernan, Cynthia Chen (13 September 2014). "Hokkaido Milk Bread". Food52. Retrieved 13 December 2021.

Further reading[edit]