Milk Bread Rolls rolls are are amazingly soft and pillowy. They are made with a technique called tangzhong. Tangzhong is a roux starter made with heated water, milk and flour. The tangzhong is added to the other ingredients resulting in airy and tender rolls that stay fresh longer than normal rolls.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
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The secret to these light and airy rolls is an Asian technique called Tangzhong. I first read about this technique on the King Arthur Baking site. In fact, the recipe that I used here is an adaptation of the recipe on the King Arthur site.
With the tangzhong technique, you create a starter by cooking a small amount of flour in water and milk until it congeals into a thick roux. After allowing starter to cool, you add it to the remaining ingredients for the rolls.
The tangzhong technique physically modifies the starches in the flour allowing it to absorb and retain more liquid.
As a result the dough is less sticky and the rolls will stay fresh longer.
Making the Tangzhong Starter
The tangzhong starter consisted of three simple ingredients: Water, milk and bread flour.
I started by whisking together the water, milk and bread flour in a small saucepan until there were no remaining lumps.
Then, I whisked the mixture over low heat, until until it thickened and left a trail from the whisk in the bottom of the pan. This took about 8 minutes.
I set the thickened roux aside to cool.
Ingredients for the Milk Bread Rolls
For these amazing rolls, I used not only the tangzhong starter, but also milk, unsalted butter, egg, granulated sugar, nonfat dry milk, Kosher salt, bread flour and instant yeast.
Making the Milk Bread Rolls
Step 1: The first thing that I did was to melt the butter. Then, I lightly whisked the egg. Finally, I greased a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with some butter.
Step 2: Once the starter and the melted butter had cooled, I added them along with whisked egg and the remaining ingredients for the rolls to the pan of my bread machine. I added the yeast last.
Step 3: I placed the pan into my bread machine and programmed the machine to the dough setting and walked away.
Step 4: Once the dough setting was complete, I transferred the dough to a floured surface. I also had on hand my trusty scale and a bench scraper.
Step 5: I wanted each of the rolls to weigh the same and wanted to make 12 rolls. So I first weighed the dough – it weighed just over 23 ounces. Then, I divided by 12 to determine the weight of each of the rolls – 1.91 ounces!
I know that I’m a total nerd when it comes to cooking, but weighing things really makes life so much easier!
Anyway, I portioned the dough into 1.91 ounce pieces and formed each of the pieces into a ball. I placed each of the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet.
I placed the rolls in my electric oven that I had slightly heated to allow for a rise.
Step 6: After about a hour, the rolls had nicely risen and were ready to be baked. Before baking the rolls, however, I brushed them with an egg wash.
Step 7: I popped the rolls into a preheated 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. During this time, I watched the rolls carefully to ensure that they didn’t get too dark.
After about 10 minutes, I thought that they had achieved the right level of golden brown, so I loosely covered them with aluminum foil for the remaining 5 minutes of cooking.
Step 8: I removed the rolls from the oven. For the final step, I brushed them lightly with some melted butter.
The Milk Bread Rolls were picture perfect, amazingly airy and light, and absolutely delicious. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
I use my bread machine to knead the dough for just about all of my bread recipes. However, you could definitely use a stand mixer or food processor to knead the dough. You could also knead the dough by hand.
You can use either instant or bread machine yeast in this recipe. If you use active yeast, however, you need to proof it before adding it to the remaining ingredients.
These rolls have a fair amount of sugar in them. The definitely adds to the taste. However, it can cause the rolls to over-brown if you’re not careful. In fact, the first couple of times that I made these rolls, they definitely came out too brown. What I do is to watch them carefully. When they achieve the desired color, I loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil for the remaining time in the oven.
Other Delicious Recipes for Rolls Using Bread Machine
Bread and rolls are one of my favorite things to make. One of the reasons is that my trusty bread machine does most of the work.
If you’re interested in other amazing recipes for rolls, you should check out these recipes:
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Milk Bread Rolls
- Bread Machine
- 3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces, 43 grams) water
- 3 Tablespoons (1.5 ounces, 43 grams) whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons (0.5 ounces, 14 grams) bread flour
Milk Bread Rolls
- Tangzhong Starter (from above)
- ½ cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) whole milk
- ¼ cup (2 ounces, 57 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup (1.76 ounces, 50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (0.5 ounces, 14 grams) nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons (10.5 ounces, 298 grams) bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon (0.42 ounces, 12 grams) instant yeast
- Whisk together the water, milk and flour in a small saucepan util there are no more lumps.
- Heat the tangzhong mixture over low heat, whisking constantly until thick enough that the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the saucepan, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Milk Bread Rolls
- Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
- Add cooled tangzhong starter, milk, melted butter, egg, sugar, milk powder, salt, flour and yeast to pan of bread machine. Select the dough cycle and press start.
- When dough cycle finishes, transfer dough to floured surface. Portion the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. (See Tip 1)
- Allow to rise in a warm place until double in size, about 60 minute. (See Tip 2)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brush rolls with egg wash (1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water). Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. (See Tip 3)
- Remove from oven. If desired brush lightly with melted butter.
- Yield: 12 Milk Bread Rolls (See Tip 4)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- I’m a total nerd when it comes to weighing stuff. The weight of this dough is just over 3 ounces. Since I wanted a total of 12 rolls, I divided 23 ounces by 12 rolls to arrive at a weight of around 1.9 ounces per roll.
- I consistently follow Julia Child’s recommendation regarding the rising of bread or rolls. I turn on my electric oven and leave it on for 1 minute and 45 seconds. I don’t set a temperature. Rather after 1 minute and 45 seconds, the oven is at the perfect temperature for proofing the bread and rolls.
- This recipe contains a fair amount of sugar. While the sugar adds to the taste of the rolls, it also can cause the rolls to brown too much. Therefore, after the rolls have been in the oven for about 10 minutes, I tend to cover them loosely with aluminum foil to inhibit further browning.
- Because of the tangzhong technique, these rolls remain fresh significantly longer than one would normally expect.