Tangzhong Burger Buns

Tangzhong burger buns - super soft burger buns made using the tangzhong method (Hokkaido milk bread)

I love the tangzhong method of bread baking, it gives such great results every time – pillowy soft, slightly sweet, incredibly versatile bread. If you haven’t heard of tangzhong before then it is quite simple; it just involves making a cooked paste of flour and water which is added to the bread dough; the dough is quite sticky, so is best made in a stand mixer, but it stays soft for days and is SO good!

Tangzhong burger buns - super soft burger buns made using the tangzhong method (Hokkaido milk bread)

Here I’ve re-worked my Hokkaido milk bread recipe to make tangzhong burger buns. They are fairly similar to brioche buns, but are lighter on the butter while still being lovely and soft and slightly sweet. They are perfect for burgers, or just for sandwiches or to use as dinner rolls. I will be sharing a burger recipe later on this week that I served in these buns so stay tuned!

Tangzhong burger buns - super soft burger buns made using the tangzhong method (Hokkaido milk bread)

Tangzhong burger buns - super soft burger buns made using the tangzhong method (Hokkaido milk bread)
5 from 4 votes

Tangzhong Burger Buns

Servings 8 buns



  • 20 g (2tbsp) strong white bread flour
  • 100 ml water


  • 350 g (scant 3 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 7 g (2 tsp) fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk powder (optional)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) full fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 g (scant 1/4 cup) softened butter

To Glaze:

  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk
  • sesame seeds


  1. To make the tangzhong, place the flour in a small saucepan and gradually whisk in the water. Place over a medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until it has thickened to a wallpaper paste-like consistency. Remove from the heat, scrape into a bowl and cover with clingfilm directly on the surface, set aside to cool.
  2. Place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, lightly stir together and make a well in the centre. Add the egg, milk and tangzhong to the well and mix on a low speed until it comes together into a dough.
  3. Add the butter and mix on a high speed until the dough is very stretchy and comes away from the sides of the bowl, this can take about 15 minutes, even in a stand mixer.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and either place somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours, or in the fridge overnight.
  5. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the risen dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Spread the balls out well spaced apart on the baking sheet and loosely cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise for about 1 hour until puffy.

  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes until deep golden, the internal temperature should reach 94C.

  7. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool before serving, store in an airtight container.

Tangzhong burger buns - super soft burger buns made using the tangzhong method (Hokkaido milk bread)

13 Comments on Tangzhong Burger Buns

  1. Jo @ Jo's Kitchen Larder
    April 25, 2017 at 7:30 pm (1 year ago)

    These look so good! I am really intrigued by the tangzhong method as have never come across it before. Will definitely give the rolls and method a go as well 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • hannahhossack
      May 4, 2017 at 10:01 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Jo! The tangzhong method makes wonderful soft bread, it is well worth a try!

  2. Sumayya
    April 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm (1 year ago)

    These are tempting the tastebuds of those who can’t have wheat and/or gluten, who’ve just had a big meal! We are almost speechless. Well done on baking up something else that looks fab

    • hannahhossack
      May 4, 2017 at 10:00 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Sumayya! 🙂

  3. Angela / Only Crumbs Remain
    April 26, 2017 at 9:45 am (1 year ago)

    Wow! They look seriously amazing. I’ve not come across the tangzhong method before but I’ll definitely be giving it a try especially when they look this good. Pinned.
    Angela x

    • hannahhossack
      May 4, 2017 at 9:59 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Angela! You should definitely give it a try, it makes amazing bread! x

  4. Angela
    April 27, 2017 at 8:12 am (1 year ago)

    These look great Hannah – so light and fluffy, a great alternative to a brioche burger bun.

    • hannahhossack
      May 4, 2017 at 9:58 am (1 year ago)

      Thanks Angela, they are just like brioche but don’t contain anywhere near as much butter!

  5. Karen
    December 7, 2017 at 7:23 am (7 months ago)

    Hello Hannah, I stumbled across your Blog whilst googling ‘milk bread’. What a happy accident!! I’ve been cooking for over 40 years both professionally and for pleasure, have a vast collection of cookbooks and enjoy reading a cooking from a lot of very accomplished food Blogs. I just wanted to say that yours is, in my opinion, right up there with some of the best. It is beautifully photographed, written extremely well and is genuinely ‘useable’with well laid out recipes and a lovely archive. Absolutely brilliant!

    Thanks to you I had my first attempt at Tanzhong method and I love it! SO much easier than other enriched doughs and with an overnight cold prove it’s really easy to handle and shape. I took inspiration from your hot cross bun loaf and created a ‘Pannetone’ version using dried fruit and Pannetone extract (a fab’, all natural flavouring from the brilliant Bakery Bits). The result was just delicious and the method will now be firmly enbedded in my bread repertoire.

    You’re obviously a very creative and curious cook so I don’t know if you’ve already come accross ‘Brave Tart’ http://bravetart.com/recipes/ but Stella has an awful lot of interesting and innovative stuff on there and her pieces for ‘Serious Eats’ come up with some very thought provoking ideas. This one http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/05/how-to-make-caramel-without-melting-sugar.html is pretty life changing for bakers……

    Well done Hannah, keep it up!

    • hannahhossack
      December 20, 2017 at 11:45 am (7 months ago)

      Hi Karen, what a lovely comment, thank you so much and I am so pleased that you like my recipes. Tangzhong panettone sounds like a fabulous idea, I must give it a try! I am also a big fan of Brave Tart, she is a culinary genius! I haven’t tried her caramel sugar before though, what a fantastic idea.

  6. Salma Sayeed
    December 27, 2017 at 8:13 am (7 months ago)

    Hello there. Thank you so much for the recipe. I tried it out and the results are marvellous.
    I just have one question. For serving 8 buns, the tangzhong starter is 20g of flour to 100ml of water. If I need to make 4 serves of buns or say 12, do I need to make any changes in the starter or should I keep that constant?

    Thank you once again 🙂

    • hannahhossack
      January 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm (6 months ago)

      Hi Salma, Wonderful! I’m so glad you liked the recipe! If you are changing the quantities of the recipe then you will need to change the quantity of tangzhong too; so for 4 buns you would need 10g flour and 50ml water etc.

      • Salma Sayeed
        January 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm (6 months ago)

        Thank you so much for the prompt reply. It will definitely prove useful, as I am doing research on the science behind this technique. Wish me luck. 🙂


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