Did I really just write that title? I’m sorry.
So I finally managed to track down some matcha powder some weeks ago, and unfortunately it’s not the sort I’m looking for. It seems like a really mild type of matcha. From what I’ve been seeing in photos, the concentrated one has a greener hue; and from what I’ve been reading, it has a stronger taste. I can barely taste my matcha in this bread. No, scratch that– I can only taste the matcha if I concentrate really really hard. If I close my eyes and really try to unlock my tastebuds, I can taste the wonderful green tea notes with a hint of sweetness at the end. Unfortunately it lasts only a few seconds, not to mention I look kind of odd doing that at the table.
And yes I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination.
I tried the local Japanese specialty stores and all I’ve seen so far are the instant versions of matcha. Since it seems like it’s a hopeless case for me to get the good pure matcha locally, I would have to wait for my next trip abroad. If anybody knows a place where I can get it in Manila, please do hit me up on the comments section. I prefer this brand since it looks to be the best from what I’ve been able to research so far, but I’ll take any brand for the time being as long as it is 100% matcha and not the sweetened kind.
I still ended up liking this bread despite my disappointment with my matcha powder, though it is a pity I couldn’t get the matcha colour and flavour to stand out when I made this. When I stumbled upon this recipe, the first thing that caught my eye was really the gorgeously vibrant colours of it (you can see the photo on my source link below), which my bread did not have. My bread looks a bit more yellowish, or a sickly kind of green. But if you imagine for a second that the green on my bread is a little darker, you can really feel the Asian influences in the bread. It starts from the swirl that looks like it belongs in a zen meditation room, to the flavour combination. The way it is made also employs the Asian tangzhong method.
Due to the lack of personality of the matcha powder I used, it tasted a little like mild chocolate tea. The chocolate flavour is very obvious while the matcha acts like an afterthought, giving that slight bitterness and fragrance of green tea in every bite, but only barely because of the watered down version of my matcha. Having both the chocolate and matcha create a balance in flavour would have been amazing. I’ll be sure to make this again when I gain access to the right matcha powder.
Chocolate & Matcha Swirl Bread
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf
For the tangzhong
- 1/3 cup bread flour
- 1 cup water
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour, split into halves
- 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar, split into halves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, split into halves
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast, split into halves
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 120 grams tangzhong, about 1/2 of the mixture above
- 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon 100% matcha powder
- 1/6 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Make the tangzhong
- 1. In a small saucepan, mix the flour and water together and whisk until it is completely dissolved and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly as the mixture heats up- it will begin to thicken. When the temperature of the mixture reaches 150°F (66°C), turn off the heat and remove it from the stove to let it cool.
- 2. Prepare the dough: Grab two medium bowls and divide the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast evenly among them. To one bowl add the matcha powder and to the other add the unsweetened cocoa powder and mix well.
- 3. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, and tangzhong using a whisk. Mix very well.
- 4. Add one bowl of the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the centre. Look at your wet ingredient mixture and look at the volume as indicated by the measuring cup, then pour exactly half of the mixture into the center of the well.
- 5. Fit the mixer with the hook attachment and begin mixing on medium speed until the dough comes together. Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the butter in and continue kneading until the dough is smooth, not too sticky on the surface and elastic, about 18 to 20 minutes. When ready, you should be able to take a chunk of the dough and stretch it to a very thin membrane before if breaks. (When it does break it should form a circle.)
- 6. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead into a ball. Place the dough into a large bowl greased with oil. Cover with a wet towel. Let it proof in a warm place until it's doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- 7. Meanwhile, clean up your mixing bowl and dough hook, then repeat the process with the other bowl of dry ingredients and remaining wet ingredients. Place the second dough in a greased bowl, cover with a wet towel, and let it proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- 8. Once the doughs have doubled in size, transfer the doughs to a clean, lightly-floured surface. Roll out each ball of dough into an oval shape.
- 9. Take one end of the dough and fold it to meet the middle of the oval, then take the other end and fold it to meet the middle. Flip the doughs over with the folds facing down and flatten with a rolling pin.
- 10. Roll out the doughs until they form thin rectangles. Try your best to make sure the two doughs are roughly the same size. Place one rectangle on top of the other and begin rolling up the dough along the long side of the rectangle so you end up with a long skinny roll rather than a short and fat one.
- 11. Place the swirled roll into a 9 x 5-inch bread pan lined with parchment paper. Cover in plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about another 40 minutes. About 10 minutes before the end of the second rise, preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
- 12. Once risen, brush beaten egg on top before baking. Bake bread for 30 minutes or until golden brown. If the bread browns too fast, tent it with some aluminum foil.
- 13. Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes, then lift out using the parchment paper and let cool before slicing.