The Fresh Loaf

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Water Rous/Tangzhong Gluten Free?

Long_Haired_Hippie's picture

Water Rous/Tangzhong Gluten Free?

Chronic insomnia means lots of browsing and musings. Came across tangzhong and from my reading its mainly acting on the starch portion of a gluten flour to create a pre-gelatinized starch "roux". Since gluten free baking tends to me heavy on starches i dont see why it wouldnt work hence the musing began...

1) Ive read through the gluten tangzhong info but the gluten free info in limited. Anyone care to chime in with experience? im thinking tapioca and oat eith 5x its weight in water since they both absorb ALOT.

2) Rather than removing a portion of the base flour i thought i might try whipping up the "roux" separate and adding it as an extra percentage like i would cheese or fruit. Maybe 15% of total weight. Im all about ease of use and this would make it easier.

3) Due to a swallowing disorder i have powdered pre-gelatinized starch in hand. So i may also experiment with adding that to the hydration poirtion of the dough to ensure it dissolves and disperses as it tends to clump. Even easier than making the "roux" and id be more inclined to do it regularly.

It will take quite a while to experiment since i usually only make bread once or twice a week and i have other experiments in the que but im determined to get a gluten free loaf that i can shape and will still rise. I cant have rice or potato so lower hydration dough has been an epic failure :( as most GF recipes relu on them.

There are a few articles on tangzhong on here im working through as well but the special needs section is a little slow so i decided to go ahead to post now and amend later :)

clazar123's picture

GF baking offers lots of choices-not just rice and potato. Almost too many and none will be just like wheat. The whole world was GF way back when so wheat became very popular when it came along-it makes baking easier.

As for flours, sorghum and millet are often used as the base for a GF flour mix instead of rice.  These act as the whole grain base and then you add a starch such as tapioca or corn flour. These create the starchy gel that acts like a tangzhong to form the walls of the bubbles in a GF bread. Next you need a "netting" to hold the bubbles so they don't just rise to the surface and break during a bake and leave you with a gooey brick. That is where the gums (xanthan,guar,pectin, psyllium, chia and flax) come in. The trick is to get enough gum to form a "netting" but not too much to form leathery,gummy walls. Like any baking, GF baking is a balance of ingredients that will give you a ratio of captured air, bubble walls and taste that is pleasing.

So you really don't need tangzhong in GF baking because you already are creating that starchy gel (the purpose of the tangzhong in wheat based baking) by the nature of the ingredients.

My GF breads are all more of a batter bread consistency. I know there are people that have achieved some remarkable wheat-like loaves with GF but I am not one of them. My GF behaves more like high percentage rye and doesn't require more than a simple stir, pouring into a pan, rise once and bake. Treat it like an angel cake when cooling (cool it in the pan and on it's side or upside down as it tends to fall until it is cooled enough to be set).

Some good sites for GF:


Best site for an explanation of making GF flour mix:


If a mix has rice flour, just substitute the flour you can have from the whole grain list.

Start making bread from a recipe that is weighed rather than measured by cups so you can scale it down to make a small loaf each time. Ingredients and time are expensive!

Have fun!

Long_Haired_Hippie's picture

Oh yes ive been gluten free over 10 years, im well aware of options but much like the rice and potato so many recipes reply on im allergic to most options. Rice and potato are just the most frequent that replicate gluten well when blended. I do have sorghum to try though i cant have millet.

I use flax and guar as my primary binders , sometimes chia and i rely heavily on tapioca. The thing is at least in yeast bread none of the ingredients are heated enough to develop the starch without killing the yeast. Hence the need for the Tangzhong becase the heat the gelatinizes the starch doesnt happen until bake time which is many hours after rising. Ive got rolls in right now using the Ultra gel so i shall see how that goes before i make a real Tangzhong to try :)


Thank you for the links :)