This is another chemistry experiment to test out another shortcut idea that I've had for a long time, but couldn't find reliable experiments on the internet. Evidently I'm a special kind of lazy (and somehow picky at the same time). Water-roux (aka Tangzhong/Yu-nade) bread, as seen in various Asian bakeries (think Hokkaido Milk Bread), are super soft bread made using pre-gelatinized flour. It involves cooking a small amount of flour in a lot of water until starch gelatinization occurs. The addition of this roux will allow the bread dough to hold onto more moisture, rise higher, and yield a soft, fluffy texture.Instant flour, commonly sold in the US under the label "Wondra flour" is commercially pre-heated until starch gelatinization occurs, and then dried and powdered to be used as instant-dissolving flour for gravy making. The process of heating results in weak gluten, so the product itself was never marketed for baking. But when used in small amount, it chemically functions exactly like the water roux method, or the scalding flour method, as seen in Scandinavian recipes.
Using Wondra flour as part of the total flour mixture allows for direct addition of water and easy calculation - if total flour is 100g, and you want 75% hydration, you can just add 75g water directly. Plus, you don't have to cook and chill the flour paste. I use bread flour and Wondra flour in roughly 4:1 ratio. Feel free to adjust portion size to your liking.
- 1 1/2 cup bread flour (~180g)
- 1/4 cup Wondra flour (~40g)
- 2/3 cup warm water (~160g)
- 2 tbsp honey (~40g)
- 1 tsp yeast (~3g)
- 1/2 tsp salt (~3g)
- 2tbsp oil (~20g)
- milk or eggwash for color (optional)
- butter for finishing brush (optional)
- Combine warm water with honey, salt, & yeast.
- Combine bread flour and Wondra flour.
- Add liquid mixture and stir until a well combined wet dough forms.
- Add oil, fold oil into the dough with a spatula. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough until smooth. Let proof until doubled in size.
- Punch down proofed dough & divide into 9 small portions (flour your hands & work surface).
- Proof in an 8~9inch brownie pan until doubled in size.
- Brush with milk or eggwash. Bake at 350F for ~30 minutes.
- Brush with butter to finish. Let it cool until roll is softened. Enjoy!