The ultimate tangzhong burger buns! Pre cooking a small amount of flour & water and the addition of butter, milk & egg makes these buns super soft & fluffy. Plus, they stay soft for days.

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tangzhong burger bun

Tangzhong Burger Buns

If you want to make the softest, fluffiest burger buns, that 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!

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!

How To Make Shiny Top Buns

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

Making The Buns

Here’s how we make the tangzhong burger buns.

  1. Combine the flour, water & milk for the tangzhong in a small saucepan then cook over a low heat until thick. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  2. Activate the yeast in the warm milk & water. Leave to go frothy.
  3. Place remaining flour, the salt, sugar, milk powder, egg, oil, activated yeast mix & the tangzhong into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. Knead until smooth, roughly 5 minutes.
  5. Add in butter whilst mixing then knead until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  6. Leave to double in size at room temperature, 1-1.5 hours.
  7. Knock the dough back & divide into 4 equal pieces.
  8. Shape each piece into buns & place onto a lined baking tray.
  9. Leave to rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  10. Brush with egg wash then bake in a 180°c/160°c fan oven for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Brush top of buns with melted butter then leave to cool.

The Windowpane Test

We use the windowpane 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.

Equipment Used

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Tangzhong Burger Buns

The ultimate burger bun…
The additions of a tangzhong, butter, milk & egg makes these buns super soft & fluffy.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Proving Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Bread, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 4 People
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

Egg Wash

  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 tsp Cold Water

To Finish

  • 20 g Unsalted Butter Melted

Instructions

  • First, make the tangzhong.
    To do this, 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.
  • Next, 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, 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, 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, 1-1.5 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, they should weigh around 100g each.
  • 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.
  • Preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (355°f/320°f).
  • Combine the egg & water with a pinch of table salt then brush the buns generously with the egg wash.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a deep, golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
    Once baked, immediately brush with the melted butter then leave to cool completely.

Notes

To Cook In An Aga.

Bake the buns in the baking oven, on the bottom set of runners.
Kept in an airtight container, these will last several days.
A tangzhong is used in this recipe. This is where a small portion of the flour & liquid is cooked on the stove until thick, cooled down & then added to the dough. This gives the bread a fluffier texture & gives the buns a longer shelf life.
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.
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).
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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