Food & Recipes

Pre-ferment Dinner Rolls 中种面团手揉小餐包

Since the last time (and first time) I attempted Tang Zhong bread, I am quite phobia of ‘sticky dough’ (higher hydrated dough which will turn into softer bread).  But since I finally had all the ‘necessary equipment’ (or so I thought) that can help me eliminate any possible failure caused by the wrong amount of ingredients, and TS shared a supposedly simpler recipe, I thought ‘why not get my hands dirty again?’.

So I watched a dozen times of the recipe video on Youtube, and decided to try my 3rd attempt of bread making (1st attempt is the normal dinner roll, 2nd attempt is the Tang Zhong(汤种) bread, and this is my 3rd attempt in baking any bread) using the Zhong Zhong (中种) pre-ferment way.

Tang Zhong(汤种) vs Zhong Zhong(中种) ?

Tang Zhong(汤种) and Zhong Zhong(中种) are actually different techniques of pre-fermenting dough.

According to King Arthur Flour‘s site, Tang Zhong (汤种) is a Japanese technique that involved cooking a small percentage of the flour and liquid (water or milk) in a yeast recipe before combining the resulting thick slurry (also called water roux) with the remaining ingredients.

This technique pre-gelatinizes the starches in the yeast dough flour, allowing them to absorb more water – even up to twice as much hot water or milk as it does the cool/lukewarm water or milk we usually use in yeast dough. Since heating the starch with water creates structure, it also able to hold onto that extra liquid throughout the kneading, baking, and cooling processes.

Bread or rolls baked using this technique may rise higher, due to more water creating more internal steam, and will be moister, and will stay soft and fresh longer.

Zhong Zhong(中种) dough is simple and fast, and probably because it is in solid form, it’s easier to manage and thus more popular.

Similar to Tang Zhong, it required mixing of the pre-fermented dough into the main dough. The Zhongzhong dough is made by first fully dissolve the yeast in the water/milk, and then add flour to mix so that the yeast can be absorbed into the dough. The dough can be fermented at room temperature for 2-4 hours, or under refrigeration for up to 24 hours (according to TS, it can be kept up to 72 hours, but you will need to ‘punch’ out the air built in the doubt at least once a day). The ZhongZhong dough can be used directly out of the fridge, and probably will be easier for leisure bakers who might not have so much time to ‘look after’ the dough.

Let’s jump back to the recipe shared by TS, which I used to make the bread today

Pre-ferment Dinner Rolls Recipe


Preferment Dough

  • 200g Bread Flour
  • 160g Milk
  • 3g Yeast

Main Dough

  • 100g Bread Flour
  • 30g Sugar
  • 3g Salt
  • 1g Yeast
  • 50g Milk (Chilled)
  • 10g Milk Powder
  • 30g Egg
  • 30g Unsalted Butter (soften)


Prepare the preferment dough the night before:

  1. Mix the yeast with the milk
  2. Pour mixture into the bread flour, mix well
  3. The dough will be more sticky since it is more hydrated
  4. Knead for slightly over a minute
  5. Knead the dough into a ball shape, place in a greased bowl and cover with cling wrap
  6. Let it proof in the refrigerator (not freezer!) for about 16-17 hours at 4-7 degree

The dough should have risen to 2 – 3 times the original size after preferment for 17hours under low temperature.

Prepare the main dough:

  1. *Mix all main dough ingredients (except butter) – I ever read that we shouldn’t mix salt and yeast together directly, so I tend to put one ingredient at a time, mix well, before putting in the next ingredient. But guess it’s all up to individual preference
  2. Bring out the preferment dough from refrigerator and tear it into pieces (no need to wait for it to thaw till room temperature)
  3. Mix together with main dough mixture (as the dough will be very wet and sticky, so mixing the dough inside the mixing bowl with a spoon might be less messy)
  4. Continue kneading on worktop when the dough is more manageable.
  5. Add in butter after kneading for 2 minutes
  6. **Knead till butter is totally absorbed into the dough – the original video tutorial mentioned to knead for another 8 minutes, but I kneaded for 15 minutes or so instead till it looks like it’s in a more acceptable texture, so guess also up to individual kneading skill
  7. Knead till smooth, not necessary to have window pane
  8. Let it proof in a bowl covered with clip wrap for another 30minutes under room temperature
  9. Knead for 2 minutes to remove the air
  10. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and covered under cling wrap to prevent dough from drying
  11. Use the palm pressure to roll dough into a round shape
  12. Put it in the tray for 2nd proof for 1 hour
  13. Brush a thin layer of egg yolk or milk, and sprinkler some sesame
  14. Bake in a preheated oven (middle tray) 180 degrees for 20 minutes




  • 高筋面粉(面包粉) 200g
  • 牛奶 160g
  • 干酵母3g


  • 100g 高筋面粉 (面包粉)
  • 30g 糖
  • 3g 盐
  • 1g 干酵母
  • 50g 牛奶(手揉使用冰的)
  • 10g 奶粉
  • 30g 鸡蛋
  • 30g 软化无盐黄油



  1. 把酵母倒进牛奶中化开,倒入高筋面粉
  2. 搅成絮状. 面团因为偏湿,前期揉面会粘手
  3. 揉一分钟就行了
  4. 搓成球状,盖上保鲜膜放入冰箱冷藏(不是冷冻!)16-17小时(4-7 摄氏度)

低温发酵17小时后, 面团应该会发到2至3倍大


  1. *除了牛油。把主面团其余的材料全部倒在一块
  2. 中种面团从冰箱取出撕成块
  3. 与其它材料混合一起搓成团(因为面团会非常湿,建议用勺子在搅拌盘里混合面团会比较容易)
  4. 移到案板上开始搓面
  5. 搓揉大概两分钟后就可以加入牛油
  6. 继续揉至牛油被完全吸收
  7. 揉到光滑面就可以了,不一定要揉到手套膜
  8. 用保鲜膜盖好,让面团醒发30分钟(室温30-35摄氏度)
  9. 30分钟后,取出醒发好的面团,再搓揉2分钟排出气体
  10. 用擀面棍擀平分割,切成16等份,用保鲜膜盖着面团以免风干
  11. 用手心施压滚圆
  12. 整形后,直接放都到烤盘上,进行第2次发酵 一个小时(发酵不得过度,不然面包就会变硬)
  13. 一个小时后,给面团涂上薄薄的一层蛋黄液或牛奶,然后撒上芝麻
  14. 放入预热好的烤盘(中层),以180摄氏度烤20分钟

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