These rolls are incredibly soft and airy using a simple technique involving a roux “starter,” known as tangzhong. The tangzhong is mixed into the final dough, producing a wonderfully tender bread roll.
For the tangzhong <em>(starter)</em>
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unbleached bread flour
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
- <strong>To make the tangzhong:</strong> Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Place the saucepan over low heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the tangzhong to a small mixing bowl or measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature.
- <strong>To make the dough:</strong> Combine the tangzhong with the remaining dough ingredients, then mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until a smooth, elastic dough forms.
- Shape the dough into a ball, and let it rest in a lightly greased covered bowl for 60 to 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
- Gently deflate the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball.
- Place the rolls into a lightly greased round bun pan. Cover the pan, and let the rolls rest for 40 to 50 minutes, until puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Brush the rolls with milk or egg wash <em>(1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water)</em>, and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until golden brown on top; a digital thermometer inserted into the centre of the middle roll should read at least 88°C.
- Remove the rolls from the oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.