The Secret to Soft and Fluffy Bread Buns (Tangzhong Pandesal Recipe)

So I’ve learned that in baking, the learning never stops. I’ve recently come across a new method of baking bread that creates a softer, fluffier, lighter, higher-rising, bun that keeps it’s moisture longer. This is called the tangzhong method. Of course it’s nothing new, it originates from Japan, and was popularized by Taiwanese cookbook author Yvonne Chen. Tangzhong bread is known for it’s unbelievably soft and fluffy texture, which I’ve recently seen my mother-in-law incorporate into her own bread baking. Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea you could make a whole different starter dough that included cooking a portion of the flour and water to create a starter dough way higher in moisture and gluten formation. The information was introduced to me through a fellow baker @cakesbylexi on instagram, when she posted about her tangzhong cinnamon buns from the King Arthur Flour website. They also have a whole blog post on how to convert your bread recipe into tangzhong. I used their information to convert my previous pandesal recipe, and I highly recommend giving it a read and applying it to any and all soft enriched bread buns.

Here is my new and improved pandesal recipe below. Feel free to check out the video tutorial above to see how I converted my recipe and made the buns.

Tangzhong Pandesal Recipe

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

This recipe makes 24 buns

For the Slurry/Roux

44g (1/3 cup) bread flour
220g (1 cup minus 2 tbsp) water

For the Dough

578g (4-1/3 cup) bread flour
7g (2 tsp) instant yeast
4g (1 tsp) salt
73g (1/3 cup) sugar, divided
155g (2/3 cup) cold milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
85g (1/3 cup) cold butter

119g (1 cup) breadcrumbs for dredging


  1. In a large shallow pan, stir the flour and water over medium heat until it forms a stiff white paste. Place into a bowl and set aside to cool slightly while getting your other ingredients ready.
  2. Add the roux to a stand mixer. Add in the cold milk, eggs, and stir with a spatula to break up.
  3. Add in the flour, yeast, salt, and half the sugar.
  4. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, stir on the first speed for 5 minutes or until the dough just comes together.
  5. Bring up to second speed for 8-10 minutes to develop the gluten.
  6. Lower the speed and add in the remaining sugar and butter in chunks.
  7. Mix until the dough is fully combined and gathered off the sides of the bowl.
  8. Transfer to a floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap to allow it to rise at room temperature for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  9. Place onto a lightly floured clean surface and punch down on the dough to remove air bubbles. Cut into 24 equal pieces or scale to 50g each. Round up and roll into balls (refer to the video tutorial) and dip into breadcrumbs to stop from sticking.
  10. Place onto a tray lined with parchment paper.
  11. Place a small tray into the top rack of your oven (turned off) and fill with hot water. Place the tray of buns in the lower rack and proof the buns for 45 min-1 hour or until you can poke the dough and the indent stays.
  12. Remove from the oven and preheat to 350F/180C.
  13. Place back into the oven to bake for 15-17 min or until lightly golden brown
  14. Let cool and enjoy!

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