Festive Tangzhong Milk Bread

 It's festive because of a little dash of mixed spice. That is all. 

Cinnamon is a year round flavour however it's warmth is greatly appreciated in these driech winter months. It's been painfully mild to warrant enough rain for Noah's ark to be sailing down the nearby river; the mountains' rugged appearance strangely exposed, usually fully cloaked in snow in the midst of December. With the darkest day now past (awful lighting I know), balmy evenings and bright nights are now on the distant horizon, yaldi.

To pass the time, cue baking and lots of it. 

I was going to shape this bread into a Christmas tree shape however I was unsure how well the dough would keep it's rise not being in a tin hence the classic milk bread shape here. 

I still cannot get over the structure and texture of this bread; now after making it several times, I am mesmerised by the brioche-like quality created by the addition of the tangzhong. Who'd thought edible wallpaper paste would be such a game changer? Unlike the previous times I have made this bread, I proved the dough overnight in the fridge. There was no obvious difference in the outcome of the bread however my impatience was really getting to me. 

As soon as it was out of the oven, half was devoured, sending me into a blissful carb-induced coma. 


For the tangzhong
  • 30g strong white flour 
  • 140ml soy milk
For the dough 
  • 195ml warm water 
  • 7g instant yeast 
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 375g strong white flour
  • 7g salt
  • 30g caster sugar  
  • 40g vegan butter 
For the filling
  • butter/ spread of choice (I used naturli)
  • granulated sugar 
  • ground cinnamon
  • mixed spice 
Put the ingredients for the tangzhong into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat, stirring constantly until really thick, think porridge you can stand your spoon in. Put into a bowl, cover directly with clingfilm and leave for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge before use (I made mine the night before).

For the dough,  pop the warm water, yeast and 10g sugar into your bowl, whisk and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to proof. Next, add the flour, salt, 30g caster sugar and tangzhong paste (straight out of the fridge is fine). Using a dough hook, knead for a good ten minutes and during the process, add little blobs of the butter, making sure each piece is well mixed in before adding anymore. 

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover, leave to prove until double if not tripled in size, around 1,5/2 hours. Alternatively, leave to prove in the fridge overnight. 

Once risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat down gently and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll out each piece using a rolling pin until 1cm thick. Spread over butter/ spread of choice and a generous amount of the spiced sugar. Roll up tightly, tucking in the sides, creating a little oblong bun, the size of a baby guinea pig. Repeat with the other two pieces and place the 3 buns into a greased and lined 900g loaf tin. Cover with a bowl and leave to prove again for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180c and put a dish of water to create the steam-room. Once proved, brush the bread with a soy milk wash (mix together some soy milk and a tiny bit of golden syrup and oil) and bake for 25 minutes. Devour the goodness.