Yeast Feast ~ Matcha Milk Bread

[This is the second post in my "Yeast Feast" blog series on breads. See first post here.] 

Over the past few weeks, I've seen many variations on a matcha loaf bread - some were swirled with adzuki beans, and some with chocolate.  Each one looked fluffier and more delicious than the next! The milk bread intrigued me the most because they remind me of the loaves of bread sold in Chinese/Asian bakeries.  The smell of these breads are like none other - so milky, buttery and fragrant.  If you've ever walked by a Chinese bakery, you'll know what I'm talking about!  The bread is always super soft and fluffy, sometimes sold as an entire loaf so you can take it home and cut thick slices to munch on. Eating it plain is a treat in itself but what's even better is having it toasted, buttered, and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk.  It's one of my favorite Chinese cafe snacks! 

This recipe is an adaptation of a Hokkaido (Japanese Milk) bread.  Many Asian breads use the tangzhong method - also known as the water-roux method.  It is basically just a slurry of flour and water, cooked until thick and paste-like.  This tangzhong is what gives the bread its ultra-fluffy texture.

(click to enlarge)
Since this is a wordy recipe, I'm going to keep my verbiage to a minimum.  This bread is all kinds of goodness - I hope you won't let the multi-steps and proofing times deter you from making it. You'll thank me later! ;)

Matcha Milk Bread
adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings

[Print Recipe]

350 grams all-purpose flour*
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk, slightly warmed
120 grams tangzhong (see below)
2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoon butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

47 grams all-purpose flour*
1 cup water

For the tangzhong:
In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and water until no lumps remain.  Heat mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly - it will begin to thicken.  Continue stirring until streaks or "lines" can be seen in the paste, or when the temperature reaches 150 degrees F.

Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe bowl.  Let cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap on surface of paste to prevent drying.  Chill in refrigerator for two hours or overnight.  Note: You will not use up all of the tangzhong - it can be stored for a few days.

*original recipe calls for bread flour - I converted to all-purpose flour based on measurements found in this substitution chart. 

For the bread: 
Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment.  Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add milk, egg, and tangzhong.  Mix on medium speed and knead until dough starts to come together.  Gradually add butter to the dough and continue to knead until dough is smooth, elastic, and only slightly sticky to the touch.  This will take about 18-20 minutes depending on your mixer.

To test if dough is ready, take a chunk of dough and stretch it to a very thin membrane before it tears. When it does tear, it should form a near perfect circle.

Remove dough from bowl and shape into a ball.  Divide into two equal parts - put one back into the mixer bowl.  Add the 1 tablespoon matcha to the bowl and knead on medium speed for 2 minutes or until incorporated.  Lightly grease 2 large bowls,  place a portion of dough in each bowl and cover with a wet towel.  Allow dough to rise in a warm spot for 40 minutes, until dough has doubled.

Transfer dough to clean surface and divide each portion into four equal parts (8 total).  Knead into balls and cover with plastic wrap to rest for another 15 minutes.

Roll out one portion of each dough into an oval shape, then take the matcha dough and place on top of the white dough.  Roll together so that the doughs mesh and begin to look like one dough.  Fold 1/3 from top, down to the middle and press.   Then fold 1/3 from bottom  up to the middle and press. Flip dough over, so folds are facing down.  Roll flat with pin. Flip dough back over so folds are facing up, and begin rolling dough up from one end to the other so you have a log.  Place in loaf pan, seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.  Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another  40 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Brush tops of dough with egg wash.  Bake for 30 minutes, until top of bread is a shiny golden brown.

[Submitting this post to Yeastspotting]