By Chef Bibby’s Kitchen

by Tia

It sounds more complicated than it is, although the concept is nothing short of genius. Our starter dough, pronounced ‘tang-zong’, refers to the science of incorporating additional moisture without necessarily adding more liquid. Ethereally light, like whimsical strands that melt in the mouth.

Makes 1 loaf


For the tangzhong (starter)

  • 30g white bread flour
  • 60ml water, room temperature
  • 60ml full-cream milk

For the dough

  • 125ml full-cream milk, tepid temperature
  • 10ml (7g) instant dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml buttermilk
  • 360g white bread flour, plus 15-30g for correcting
  • 5ml fine salt
  • 45ml castor sugar
  • 50g butter, softened
  • egg wash (1 egg whisked with 15ml milk)


  1. Start by making the tangzhong. In a small saucepan, combine the flour and water. Whisk to ensure the mixture is free of lumps.
  2. Add the milk and mix to combine. Cook for several minutes, as you would a roux, until the mixture forms a thick paste. Remove to a small dish, cover and set aside to cool.
  3. To make the dough, whisk the milk and yeast together in a jug. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  5. Place the flour, salt and castor sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  6. Add the milk mixture and tangzhong and mix to combine. Knead on a low speed for 5-6 minutes.
  7. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for several minutes until all the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth.
  8. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and set aside to proof for 2-2½ hours, or until doubled in size. Alternatively, proof in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
  9. Butter and line a 26 x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  11. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into five equal pieces. Cover and rest for 20 minutes. This resting period will prevent the dough from springing back when rolling.
  12. Roll each piece into a rough square of about 18cm. Turn the dough at an angle to form a kite shape. Fold the left, then the right points towards the centre, 145fold the top down to meet at the centre. Roll up gently from the bottom.
  13. Place in the loaf tin, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining pieces, placing them side by side down the length of the tin.
  14. Cover and set aside to proof until doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.
  15. Brush with egg wash and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of the baking time, if the top is browning too rapidly.
  16. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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