tangzhong dinner rolls
Breads Uncategorized

Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls with YouTube Video

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For this week’s video, I decided to film one of my favourite recipes for dinner rolls. The recipe for these rolls comes from my husband’s grandmother. We eat them at just about every holiday meal and they are one of my favourite parts of the meal! This recipe is also one of the most popular recipes on my website so far.

When working on the recipe for the website, I updated the measurements to include more accurate weight measurements. I also cooked a portion of the flour and milk before adding it to the dough. This method of pre-cooking a portion of the flour, called tangzhong, originates in Japan. The King Arthur Flour website describes the tangzhong method and its advantages in bread:

[In the tangzhong method, you cook] a small percentage of the flour and liquid (water or milk) in a yeast recipe very briefly before combining the resulting thick slurry with the remaining ingredients.

It pre-gelatinizes the starches in the flour, meaning they can absorb more water. In fact, the flour will absorb twice as much hot water or milk as it does the cool/lukewarm water or milk you’d usually use in yeast dough.

Not only does the starch in the flour absorb more liquid; since heating the starch with water creates structure, it’s able to hold onto that extra liquid throughout the kneading, baking, and cooling processes. Which in turn means:

  • Since there’s less free (unabsorbed) water in the dough, it’s less sticky and easier to knead;
  • The bread or rolls may rise higher, due to more water creating more internal steam (which makes bread rise in the oven — along with the carbon dioxide given off by the yeast);
  • Having retained more water during baking, bread and rolls will be moister and will stay soft and fresh longer. 

Let me tell you, their description is absolutely correct. The rolls were already quite tender, but using a tangzhong made them the fluffiest rolls I’ve ever had! They are quite delicious and go well with a soup or stew on a cold winter’s day 🙂

Soft Bread Roll Recipe
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 3 Hr 30 Mins Cook Time: 12 Mins Total Time: 3 Hr 42 Mins
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The Softest Pull Apart Bread Rolls

I tinkered with an already delicious recipe for Bread Rolls of my husband’s grandmother’s and came up with a recipe for the softest most pillowy bread rolls I’ve ever had! This recipe uses a method of cooking a small portion of the flour in some of the milk called tangzhong, which along with a couple of eggs, makes for a soft and velvety textured roll.  This recipe makes 12 large-sized rolls or 16 medium-sized ones. I use a stand mixer for preparation but the bread rolls could be kneaded by hand. For the most accurate results, I recommend measuring by weight, but I have included volume measurements as well.


0/8 Ingredients
Adjust Servings


0/10 Instructions
  • Combine 23 grams (3 tbsp) flour and 113 grams (1/2 cup) milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool to warm to the touch, but not hot.
  • Add the rest of the milk along with the melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, remaining flour and yeast. Mix well to combine.
  • Using the dough hook, mix on speed 2 until the dough is smooth and elastic. When you stretch the dough, you should be able to stretch it thin enough to be able to see through it without the dough tearing. This step could take up to 10 minutes. The dough will still be a bit sticky at this point but should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and let proof in a warm environment (24-25 C) for until doubled in size and the dough doesn't stick to your finger when gently poked, about 2 hours.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it into 12 equal portions of about 70-71 grams each.
  • Divide each portion again into 2 and roll each into round balls with a taut surface. Place 2 balls side by side in each muffin cup. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the muffin tin. Let rise once more until the dough is puffy and higher than the rim of the muffin cup, about 1 hour.
  • 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 400F/205 C
  • Bake the rolls until golden on top, about 10-12 minutes. While the rolls are baking, melt 2 tbsp butter.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and immediately brush the tops liberally with the melted butter. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, until cool enough to handle then move to a rack to cool completely or serve warm.

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