These rolls are not just cute, they are the softest, fluffiest bread you can find, and that’s thanks to the ‘tangzhong’ technique. This is credited as being a Japanese method, but became popular with home cooks and in Chinese bakeries after a Chinese woman called Yvonne Chen wrote a book about it. You might hear this kind of bread referred to as hokkaido milk bread, Asian milk bread or shokupan.
Tangzhong is simply about making a roux with some of the flour and water, which is then cooled and added to the dough mixture. This roux essentially locks in the liquid, and helps to give the final bread a higher moisture content. The resulting bread is soft, cloud-like and stays fresher for longer. Making the roux takes just 5 minutes of your time, but completely transforms this bread.