How to convert a normal bread recipe to one using Tang Zhong? Using this to make Gai Mei Bao as a test!

Freshly and Lovingly Baked on : 26th Apr 2014



I am always on a look out for ready Tang Zhong Bread recipe and is finding it a big issue. I am constantly being held hostage to a certain recipe and has no freedom to express myself. So I decide to go on a look out to find a method of converting a normal bread recipe to one that incorporates Tang Zhong.

The easiest method I found has to be this method: Assuming you have a normal bread recipe, simply take out 8 to 12% of the flour required to make the required Tang Zhong.

So the steps are as follow:
1) Get your favourite recipe.
2) Take out 8 to 12% of the flour. Assuming the bread flour content is 300g, you will take out 10%*300=30g to make Tang Zhong. The ratio of flour to water to make Tang Zhong is 1 : 5. ie 1 part flour to 5 part water. So in this case, you mix 150g of water to 30g flour.

Proceed to cook this mixture over low heat in a pan with a thermometer at hand. Keep stirring until the temperature hit 65 Degree. I believe that you might not need the thermometer after a few tries given the distinctive thickening of the paste with obvious lines as you stir. Let cool. If you are not going to use it immediately, you have to cover it with a clingwrap. Ensure the wrap touches the tangzhong. This is to prevent hardening of the top layer. Tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to 48 hrs. If its store in fridge, you have to take it out to return it to room temperature before using.

3) Then look at the liquid ingredient in the recipe and substract the amount of water use in tangzhong from it. Eg if the recipe call for 200g water, the water amount to use finally should be 200-150 g = 50 g

4) Weigh out all the other ingredients needed from the recipe and incorporate the Tang Zhong. Knead it till sufficient gluten development before adding the butter. Then proceed to knead till you pass the window pane test.

Bake as per normal.

Let me give you an illustration using the below cocktail bun aka Gai Mei Bao recipe. I am going to use this to test out the formulae and see if its work out fine.

Original Bread Recipe

300g Bread Flour
4g Instant Yeast
5g Salt
35g Granulated Sugar
10g Milk Powder
200g Milk
25g Unsalted Butter

Converted into a Tang zhong Based Recipe

270g Bread Flour
25g Unsalted Butter
4g Instant Yeast
5g Salt
35g Granulated Sugar
10g Milk Powder
50g Milk

Cocktail Bun Fillings

Ingredients :
100g Unsalted Butter
45g All purpose flour
50g Milk Powder
45g Castor Sugar
20g Dessicated Coconut

Directions :

For the fillings
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy before adding all the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and set aside.

For the buns
Incorporate all ingredients except Butter and knead till sufficient gluten development before adding the butter in. Thereafter knead till full gluten development.

Let it proof to double before punching it down. Divide into 10 equal doughs. Round it up into circles and flatten it. Wrap a tablespoon of the fillings into it. Let it proof a second round. Give it an egg wash and sprinkle white sesame seeds onto it.

To bake the traditional GMB, the shape is supposed to be longish with another concoction pipe on top. I do not want to shape it the traditional way. So if you like, you can do that. The dough will give about 10 buns. Each dough is about 45g. Bake it in a preheated oven of 175 degree for 15 minutes.

For my version, I am trying to shape it into a chicken like what I did to these cookies below. I shaped the biscuit dough into turkey shapes for thankgiving dinner last year. Instead of baking real turkey, I still have my ‘turkey’ in biscuit form. I have these given out as gifts as well. It never fails to put a smile on the faces of these kind souls.

Last year Thanksgiving bake project:


The Gai Mei Bao (Cocktail bun) version baked fresh today.



Which versions do you prefer?

Lastly, let me end this post with the fabulous texture. Its a yummy bun. Soft and fluffy. So this conversion project actually works! I shall leave one until monday and see if it still stay soft. Stay tune!



2 thoughts on “How to convert a normal bread recipe to one using Tang Zhong? Using this to make Gai Mei Bao as a test!

  1. I ADORE THESE! Love GMB I can’t go past a bakery without getting one in London! Sweet little twist which i’m definitely going to try.

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