Homemade Wholemeal Chia Bread

>> Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Not many things make me feel more domesticated than...baking bread.

As I took my batch of bread out of the oven, I felt as if I should be wearing a frilly apron.

And suddenly find myself as a housewife in Pleasantville or Stepford.

The novelty of freshly baked bread from your own oven hasn't worn off for this girl-from-a-non-bread-baking-family. Yet.

Strangely, I also feel like I'm going 'backward' in some ways.

But this is what I'll be doing from now on, going forward in time.

Because there is nothing better than fresh bread made with your own hands.

With plenty of love of course - the essential ingredient!

Homemade bread tends to harden up and dry out overnight compared to store bought ones, so I wanted to avoid that as I could hardly finish a whole loaf within a day.

I'm glad I came across the TangZhong method of bread making a while ago. I've read about how this method ensures that the bread stays soft and moist days after it's baked -  just like the bread you find in the Asian bakeries!

So what's this TangZhong method? In short, it's when a natural flour paste (TangZhong) is cooked to 65°C and then added to the rest of your normal bread making ingredients. This paste will ensure that the bread stays soft and 'bouncy'.

Amazing huh?

Ok, let's get baking.

First, you've got to make the TangZhong paste (I used a thermometer to check the temperature)...

Once you're done, add all the ingredients into your bread machine and let it knead away (the recipe below also caters for those without a bread maker, you just got to knead by hand which can be very time consuming!)

I added chia seeds to my dough. These Aztec ancient grains have recently been re-discovered as once of today's superfood. You can hardly see or taste them in the bread because they are so tiny! 

Once the dough has rested for at least an hour, divide the dough into 3 equal portions and let rest for another 15 minutes. 

Now roll each portion into an oval shape and roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom...

Flatten the dough with your rolling pin, then roll once again with the seals face down. 

Finally roll it up pretty like this:

Set all three into a baking tin and let rest for around 40 minutes (depending on the weather), until the dough rise once again...

It might be good to practice your patience here :)

Finally, bake for 30-35 minutes and there you have it!

Love. Soft. Fluffy. Cloud-like. Bread. 

Go spread the bread love!

Sometimes I sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder into my dough and I get this:

Other times, I have it with my homemade jam. Seriously good. 

[For a more detailed photo instruction, please go to Christine's Recipe!]

Wholemeal Chia Bread
Adapted from here

Ingredients of TangZhong (The amount is enough to make two loafs):
  • 50gm/ 1/3 cup bread flour
  • 250ml/ 1cup water (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)
Ingredients of bread:
  • 1½ cups bread flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tbsp+1tsp milk powder (to increase fragrance, optional)
  • ½cup milk
  • 120gm tangzhong (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
Making TangZhong:

1. Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.

2. The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done. You get the tangzhong. (Some people might like to use a thermometer to check the temperature. After a few trials, I found this simple method works every time.) Remove from heat.

3. Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. Chill in fridge for several hours. (I chill it overnight.) Then the tangzhong is ready to be used. (Note: When you are ready to use the tangzhong, just measure out the amount you need and let it rest in room temperature for a while before adding into other ingredients. The tangzhong can be stored up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more.)

Making bread:

1. Combine all dry ingredients: flours, salt, sugar , chia seeds and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Mind you, it’d be quite messy at this stage (That's why I used a bread maker). Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”, it’s done. The time of kneading all depends on how hard and fast you knead. (Note: I use bread maker to do this hardest part and messy job for me. I added the wet ingredients into my bread maker first, then followed by the dry ingredients. The yeast is the last to add.)

2. Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it's doubled in size, about 40 minutes (Note: the time will vary and depends on the weather. The best temperature for proofing is 28C. I still used my bread maker in this stage. And my bread maker has a heater.)

3. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into four equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.

4. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape. Sprinkle bacon and cheese evenly as much as you like. Roll from the upper, shorter end down to the bottom (as picture shown). Flatten the dough with your rolling pin. Then roll once again. The seals face down.

5. Arrange the rolled-up dough in a greased or non-stick loaf tin (as picture shown). Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes, or until the dough rises up to 3/4 of the height of the tin inside.

6. Brush whisked egg on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (356F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it's thoroughly cooled.

On another note, remember my pizza post a few weeks ago? I'm pretty stoked it was featured in Gourmet LIVE last week. Check it out along with other great pizza recipes!


OohLookBel March 16, 2011 at 10:16 PM  

I can't make bread to save myself. Maybe getting a frilly apron would help. Using the TangZhong method would definitely help, so I've bookmarked this excellent post.

Lisa @ Tarte du Jour March 16, 2011 at 11:34 PM  

So interesting! The TangZhong method and the chia seeds are new to me. Super post!

grub March 16, 2011 at 11:48 PM  

ahahaha Asian bread is so yummy and soft! yup bread making needs so much time to proof, i sometimes don't have the patience to wait therefore rock buns :) but it's worthwhile waiting haha

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart March 17, 2011 at 3:11 AM  

This looks fabulous! I would love to try this recipe! I will let you know my results when I do. Thanks for posting yet another wonderful recipe!

Congrats on your pizza post :)

Umm Mymoonah March 17, 2011 at 3:23 AM  

Perfectly baked bread and your pictures are amazing.

Maria March 17, 2011 at 5:04 AM  

This looks absolutely perfect Vivienne!

kirbie March 17, 2011 at 6:07 AM  

Horray for Tangzhong bread! I took a look at your first picture and just knew it was a tangzhong bread!

pigpigscorner March 17, 2011 at 7:15 AM  

I tried this method once and failed :( Yours looks amazing!

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef March 17, 2011 at 8:53 AM  

This bread looks great! I will definitely have to try to make bread (and soon!)

susan March 17, 2011 at 11:17 AM  

how good is freshly baked bread! I really need to make it more often. Now that it's getting colder I can see soup and bread on the menu for weekend lunches!

j3ss kitch3n March 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM  

your bread is simply beautiful!!!! i also used tang zhong but my bread still hardened the next day y liddat?

Zoe March 17, 2011 at 2:48 PM  

Your bread is fantastic. Like Jess, I'm very disappointed with Tang Zhong method too. I tried using Tang Zhong method on an optimized breadmaker hot cross bun recipe but didn't get any improvement from the method. *sign*

La Bella Cooks March 17, 2011 at 2:54 PM  

I've never tried the Tang Zhong method before. Your bread looks like it turned out perfectly. I don't know what it is about making homemade bread but I always feel quite accomplished when it comes out of the oven!

Cooking Rookie March 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM  

What a nice recipe. I tried using something similar to the TangZhong, but my bread did not last long enough to test whether it stays fresh :-). Your loafs look so light and fluffy, like these sweet breads from Asian bakeries that I completely adore. I am definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing and the detailed instructions!
And your photos look beautiful.

hanushi March 17, 2011 at 5:53 PM  

I can only stare at your lovely bread, because I don't know how to make bread yet. What is your loaf pan size by the way? :)

Karen March 17, 2011 at 8:52 PM  

Wow, your bread looks fabulous! So soft and fluffy. Your blog is lovely, so many beautiful photos and recipes. Glad I stumbled upon it! Have a great day - Karen

a frog in the cottage March 17, 2011 at 9:55 PM  

thank you for sharing that amazing yet wonderful method !!

Jeannie March 17, 2011 at 10:46 PM  

Wow! That is a very lovely loaf of bread, but does it really stay soft and moist for days! I am eager to know that:D Congrats on being featured for your pizza post!

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 17, 2011 at 10:49 PM  

I've never seen dough balls separated in the pan like that. Such a creative idea! It looks so fluffy and smooth, YUM! Bread is my favorite food in the whole world, lol.

Viv March 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM  

OohLookBel: Yea I think the apron plays a role ;) Making bread isn't as hard as I thought it'd be so I'm sure you'll be great at it!

Lisa @ Tarte du Jour: Great that you discovered something new :)

grub: i'm like you, but now i just try to busy myself with other things to do while waiting for the proofing. like twidding my thumb lol jk.

LDH: Please do Lorraine! Hope it turns out good for you too!

Umm Mymoonah: Thanks girl!

Maria: Thanks Maria.

Kirbie: Haha you must be really experienced with the Tangzhong method then to be able to spot straight away :)

pigpigscorner: Aww really? I hope you'll give this a go another time...

Erika Beth: Thanks - I hope you do too :)

susan: freshly baked bread = win :) bread with soup = double win!

j3ss: thanks! really? i find that when i use all plain bread flour, the bread stays soft for at least 3 days? if i incorporate more wholemeal, then the bread dries up a little faster but still much softer than made without tangzhong.

Zoe: Thanks! I know you've been looking for the ultimate recipe haha. Please share when you do find it! I had a failed experiment with tangzhong once too...and i think it was because i didnt heat the tangzhong to 65C (the paste was still runny)?

Bridgett: Yes, me too. I guess making bread requires much more time so therefore a sense a accomplishment ;)

Cooking Rookie: Thank you! Yeah, my loaf don't last more than 3 days! The higher the wholemeal ratio, the faster the bread is goign to dry out. I made it with just plain bread flour once and it stayed soft for so many days!

hanushi: Bread making isn't as scary as I thought it'd be! The size is 2lb (or 900g) capacity.

Karen: Thank you for your kind word :) You have a lovely space too...enjoy the rest of the week!

a frog in the cottage: you're welcome!

Jeannie: Thanks! It does stay more soft and fluffy compared to the standard method of bread making. I find that when I make it using 100% plain bread flour, it stays soft for around 3 days, but when I added more wholemeal flour, it dries out a little bit faster but still soft overnight!

J3nn: Thanks! Yay - I'm a lover of all types of bread too!

Jeannie March 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM  

Hey Vivienne just to let you know I have an award in my blog for you...please hop over to pick it up when you are free..:)

Jean March 18, 2011 at 1:18 AM  

thanks for sharing! i have this problem too of my bread turning stale the next day, so we had to warm it up to regain some of its freshness the previous day. your bread looks really professionally made!

Carolyn Jung March 18, 2011 at 2:48 AM  

Chia seeds seem to be this year's "It'' ingredient. I'm going to have to scour my grocery store for some now. This bread looks so fluffy and pillowy. And I love the idea of sprinkling in cocoa powder like that.

Mary Bergfeld March 18, 2011 at 8:26 AM  

Vivienne, these are gorgeous loaves of bread. The crumb is near perfect and the crust looks wonderful. This is my first visit to your blog and I spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Vivian - vxdollface March 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM  

yay! breakfast for the next few days :D will be making it tomorrow! hehe

sugarpuffi March 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM  

whoa! ur now baking your own bread? too pro!

Joyti March 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM  

That looks delicious. Very professional, and its making me hungry.
Making broth makes me feel like a person out the Stepford Wives or Pleasantville...but I've never actually baked my own bread.

Julie March 18, 2011 at 9:50 PM  

dearest viv,

please remember me when you are a famous baker



Von March 18, 2011 at 10:25 PM  

Ooh! I've been looking for recipes with chia seeds because my mum has suddenylu developed an interest in them after hearing about their healthiness :D haha....This looks like an awesome way to use them- I love that you can't taste them..haha :) I dunno...chia seeds don't look to tasty to me :S I love the tanzhong method of making bread too- it's so much easier to get a really soft bread. My bread doesn't actually stay nice and soft the next day though :(

Anonymous,  March 19, 2011 at 2:47 PM  

I have to try out the tangzhong method soon. Look at all these fluffy & perfect soft bread. Drooling!!

Cooking Gallery March 20, 2011 at 5:35 AM  

Your bread looks super pretty...! Have a great weekend, Vivienne :)!

Lori March 20, 2011 at 7:59 AM  

Your bread is beautiful! Love what you said about going backwards. I feel the same way with my food and cooking practices, but I love it! Congrats on your pizza mention!

grace March 20, 2011 at 9:32 PM  

haha viv! i love how all your recipes have surprise exotic ingredients mmm i haven't seen you in an age! hope melbourne is treating you well miss.. keep in touch! now we all have twitter haha x

Anonymous,  March 22, 2011 at 10:05 PM  

The bread looks fantastic! I'm going to try that, thanks for all the info too

Luella,  October 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM  

Can you cook it in your bread maker? or does taking it out, rolling it up, and cooking it in the separate mounds improve the texture?

Viv October 14, 2011 at 4:20 PM  

Luella: I believe you can bake it in your bread maker, I've not used that method before...I always bake it in my conventional oven. After the first round of proofing in the bread maker, i take it out and divide into 3 portions and let sit for a while, then roll it up into shape and let sit for another 40 minutes before baking...i've pondered about skipping all these steps and just let the bread maker do all the work...but not tested it out before coz was afraid might affect the texture. let me know if you do try it though ;)

Unknown June 27, 2012 at 4:52 AM  

I just now clicked on your link entitled Christine's Recipe [For a more detailed photo instruction, please go to Christine's Recipe!]
My AVG detected and immediately blocked a security threat. You might want to get that checked out?

I am looking for more detailed instructions to do this in a bread machine for a 2lb loaf.

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