Tangzhong Burger Buns

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The fluffiest tangzhong burger buns! These are super easy to make & will take your burgers & sandwiches to the next level.

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tangzhong burger buns

The softest, fluffiest homemade burger buns around!

If you want to make the softest, fluffiest burger buns, that’ll stay fresh for days, you’ll want to use a tangzhong! This recipe makes 4 buns that are the ideal size to for burgers, a generous portion of pulled pork or a piece of fried chicken! Plus, they’re super easy to make & have the shiniest finish!

For some inspiration on how to use these buns, take a look at our sandwich recipes! Or for more bread recipes, check out the baking section of the blog…

What Is A Tangzhong?

A technique that originates from Asia, a tangzhong is where a small amount of the flour & liquid in a bread recipe is pre cooked in a saucepan to make a thick paste (like a roux). This paste is then cooled down & added in to the dough along with the remaining flour & water.

Why Use A Tangzhong?

Making dough with a tangzhong, makes bread that is super soft & tender. Another benefit is that tangzhong breads have a longer shelf lives than other types & will stay soft for several days. Perfect for when you make a big batch of buns or want to prep them in advance!

How To Give Burger Buns A Glossy Finish

The secret to buns with glossy, shiny tops? Melted butter.
Brushing a small amount of melted butter onto the buns as soon as they come out of the oven, gives them a really nice glossy finish that isn’t greasy.

shaped burger buns

Ingredient Notes

  • Flour – You’ll need a strong white bread flour for these buns. Preferably one with a protein content of around 12-15%. If you’re in the UK, I’d recommend the Canadian white bread flour from Shipton Mill.
  • Yeast – You can use either instant yeast or dried active yeast for these buns. Dried active will need to be activated in warm liquid before being used, whereas instant yeast won’t. Keep in mind that instant yeast tends to prove quicker as well.
  • Salt – A good quality sea salt is best for bread doughs. I like to use Maldon.
  • Milk Powder – Adding a small amount of skimmed milk powder to the dough helps to give the buns a deeper colour once baked. This is an optional ingredient so don’t worry if you haven’t got any.
  • Egg – You’ll need a large egg for this bread dough. Make sure to use one that is at room temperature, so that the temperature of the dough isn’t affected.
  • Oil – A neutral oil (veg oil) is added to the dough to soften the crumb of the baked buns.
  • Butter – Make sure to use unsalted butter for the dough, to avoid making it too salty.

How To Make Tangzhong Burger Buns

The full, printable recipe card for these burger buns can be found at the bottom of this post! Here’s a quick rundown of the recipe…

  1. Tangzhong
    To make the tangzhong, we combine the flour, water & milk in a small saucepan then cook over a low heat until thick. This then gets left to cool to room temperature.
  2. Activate Yeast
    Next, we activate the dried active yeast in warm (38°c/100°f) milk & water. We leave this to go frothy which will take around 5 minutes.
  3. Mix Dough
    Now, we place the remaining bread flour, the salt, sugar, milk powder, egg, oil, activated yeast mix & the tangzhong into the bowl of a stand mixer. We knead this until smooth, which will take 5 minutes or so.
  4. Mix In Butter
    Once the dough is smooth, we add in softened butter whilst mixing then knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  5. 1st Prove
    Next, we transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl & leave to double in size at room temperature This will take 1-1½ hours.
  6. Knock Back
    Once risen, we knock the dough back then divide it into 4 equal pieces. Each piece should roughly weigh 100 grams.
  7. Shape Into Buns
    Now we shape each piece of dough into balls then place onto a lined baking tray.
  8. 2nd Prove
    The buns now need to prove for another 45 minutes – 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  9. Bake
    Once risen, we brush each bun with egg wash then bake in a 180°c/356°f oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are a deep, golden brown.
  10. Glaze
    As soon as the buns come out of the oven, we brush top of each one with melted butter then leave them to cool completely before serving.

Burger Bun Tips & Tricks

  • Use A Tangzhong – Using a tangzhong, makes these burger buns softer & fluffier, plus they’ll stay fresh for longer as well.
  • Use A Digital Food Probe – This is the best way to check the temperature of the liquid in the dough. I recommend using a Thermapen!
  • Soften The Butter – Make sure to use softened butter in the dough, so that it incorporates properly.
  • Pass The Windowpane Test – This is the best way to check the gluten development in our bread dough (more on this below).
  • Use The Correct Flour – This is crucial for gluten development. To make burger buns, we’ll need to use a strong white bread flour with a protein content of at least 13%.
  • Glaze With Butter – Brushing melted butter onto the baked buns, gives them a glossy finish!

Frequently Asked Questions

What flour is best for burger buns?

To make homemade burger buns, it’s best to use a strong white bread flour with a protein content of at least 13%.

What is the windowpane test?

The windowpane test is a method to assess how the gluten is developing in bread dough. To do this, take a small amount of dough & stretch it between your fingers. If it stretches thin enough to see through, it’s ready. If it tears, it needs to be kneaded for longer.

Do I need a mixer to make burger buns?

I’d definitely recommend using a stand mixer (or a handheld mixer) to make these burger buns. Although it would be possible to knead this dough by hand, it is quite sticky to begin with so is a lot easier to use a mixer.

How long do homemade burger buns keep for?

Kept in an airtight container, these homemade burger buns will keep for 2-3 days. The tangzhong helps keep them fresh for longer!

Can tangzhong burger buns be frozen?

Tangzhong burger buns can be frozen & will keep for several months. Make sure to store them in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

Cooking Burger Buns In An Aga

With all of my recipes, I include cooking instructions for conventional ovens, fan ovens & also Agas. Here’s how to cook this recipe on an Aga…

Make the tangzhong using the simmering plate & bake the burger buns, on the bottom set of runners in the baking oven.

Equipment Used

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Tangzhong Burger Buns

The fluffiest tangzhong burger buns! These are super easy to make & will take your burgers & sandwiches to the next level.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Proving Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Bread, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 Burger Buns
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Digital Scales
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Large Baking Tray
  • Glass Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Jug

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 13 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 26 g Whole Milk
  • 26 g Water

Dough

  • 50 g Whole Milk
  • 50 g Water
  • 4 g Dried Active Yeast
  • 237 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 5 g Maldon Salt
  • 10 g Caster Sugar
  • ½ tsp Milk Powder
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 20 g Unsalted Butter Softened & Cut Into Small Pieces

Egg Wash

  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 tsp Cold Water

To Finish

  • 20 g Unsalted Butter Melted

Instructions

Tangzhong

  • Place the flour, milk & water into a small saucepan & whisk to combine. Cook over a low heat until you have a thick paste, stirring constantly with a spatula.
    Transfer to a bowl & leave to cool to room temperature.

Dough

  • Place the milk & water into a jug & warm in the microwave to 38°c/100°f (alternatively you could heat this up in a saucepan then transfer to a jug) then whisk in the yeast & leave to go bubbly, 5-10 minutes.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder, egg, oil & the cooled down tangzhong. Give the activated yeast a whisk then add to the bowl. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on a medium speed until smooth & starting to come away from the sides of the bowl This will take around 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer still going, add in the butter a small amount at a time, incorporating each piece fully before adding more. Once all the butter has been incorporated, keep mixing until the dough passes the window pane test. This will take another 5-10 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (or a tea towel) & leave to double in size at room temperature This will take 1-1½ hours.
  • Once risen, knock the dough back then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, each weighing around 100g.
  • Shape each piece of dough into a ball (check out my video tutorial on shaping buns) then transfer to a greased & lined baking tray, leaving plenty of room between each bun.
    Cover with another baking tray (flipped upside down) or loosely with oiled clingfilm & leave to double in size at room temperature, 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Baking

  • In the meantime, preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (356°f/320°f).
  • Combine the egg & water for the egg wash with a pinch of table salt then brush a generous amount on top of each bun.
  • Bake the burger buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
  • Once baked, immediately brush the top of each bun with the melted butter then leave to cool completely.

Notes

1. To Cook In An Aga – Bake the buns in the baking oven, on the bottom set of runners.
2. Storage – Kept in an airtight container, these buns will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
3. Activating Yeast – These buns are made with dried, active yeast which needs activating in warm liquid before being used. Try to get the liquid as close to 38°c as possible for the best results.
4. Yeast – You can use either instant or dried active yeast for this recipe. Dried active yeast will need activating in warm liquid but instant won’t. Keep in mind that instant yeast tends to prove quicker as well.
5. Windowpane Test – Make sure to give the dough enough time in the mixer. It should pass the window pane test.
(Here’s a video demonstrating how to perform the window pane test).
6. Flour – The flour I use is a Canadian white bread flour from Shipton Mill. You can use any bread flour but I get the best results using this one.

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