The best part about baking is the creative freedom of making something one of a kind with your own hands. Choosing your favorite fresh ingredients and trying new things leads to delicious discoveries about taste and health. Adding green tea or matcha to baked bread is a great way to incorporate a tasty superfood that you already know and love to your diet. Fresh tea leaves are not usually what comes to mind when choosing ingredients to bake bread, but many bakers across the world have already found the pleasure of baking with tea. Although an uncommon bread ingredient for most, green tea can lend not only benefits of a unique earthy flavor, but also incredible health benefits as well. The versatility of this superfood ingredient in bread baking alone is almost as impressive as the complete nutrition it provides the body and mind.
A suggestion for balancing out the earthy, sometimes bitter flavor of green tea or matcha is by adding sweetening. Raw sugar, honey, agave, and maple syrup all compliment the flavor and aroma that green tea presents and are easy to add to a bread recipe. This tip can be used in sweet or savory bread alike.
Adding a pinch of extra salt along with a sweet component to a savory bread recipe will allow the flavors to bring out the best in one another, adding complexity and depth to a fresh, homemade baked bread.
Whether you only have matcha on hand or simply prefer to use loose tea leaves, either can be incorporated into a freshly baked bread. Great matcha often comes with a large price tag, and loose tea leaves is more likely to be affordable. Be aware of the potency in both aroma and flavor of the amount of tea you choose to bake with, taking into account the matcha provides a more robust flavor in the finished bread. If you usually cook with fresh tea leaves, using the same amount when baking with matcha would not be wise! You will end up with a rich aroma but an overwhelming, unpleasant flavor! The best way to get the most delightful flavor is by using the freshest green tea or matcha available. Use according to your personal preference when baking for friends and family.
Matcha is subtle enough that it can be mixed in directly without causing issues with bread texture if done carefully and correctly. The most simplistic way to incorporate matcha into freshly baked bread is by mixing it in entirely with the dry ingredients. On the other hand, matcha can be known to slump significantly. Whisking the soft powder into a liquid is a little tip that will discourage heavy clumping that results in uneven flavor distribution throughout the bread. Whichever method you use, be sure that the matcha is wholly mixed in or dissolved. Although matcha is flavorful enough to not necessarily need to
be steeped or infused, attempting this in your baking process cannot hurt and may even yield satisfying results so feel free to give it a try.
When it comes to baking, infusing green tea or matcha does not have to compromise the soft, chewy texture of fresh bread. The following methods are helpful in achieving perfect bread baked using green tea. Loose green tea leaf can be ground but may come out too coarse and noticeable in the finished bread. It should be noted that powdered green tea is interchangeable with fresh ground green tea in a bread recipe, but the powdered tea will be much smoother and possibly more concentrated than regular green tea, affecting the overall flavor and outcome of your bread. If coarsely ground leaves are the only option, add them to the dough through brewing and straining through a cheesecloth to remove any possibility of grit. Steeping or infusing the fresh tea leaves is a better way of adding the benefits of tea into your baking.
Matcha Green Tea Milk Bread
Taking the above in thought, here is one recipe that you can try out yourself.
Yield: One standard (8½” x 4½”) loaf
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 120g tangzhong (about 1/2 a cup)
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons butter (softened)
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast into the bowl of a standing mixer. Using your fist or a spoon, make a well in the center. Add in all wet ingredients (butter, tangzhong, milk, and egg), and attach the dough hook onto your standing mixer and begin mixing at medium speed. Knead until your dough comes together, then add in the butter, and continue the kneading process. Knead until the dough has reached its proper consistency.
- Knead the dough into a ball shape, and split in half. Put half of the dough back into the mixer. Add in the matcha powder and continue kneading for about 2 minutes at medium speed or until the matcha powder is thoroughly mixed into the dough. Take 2 large bowls and grease them with oil. Place each dough ball into a greased bowl and cover with cellophane or a dampened towel. Let it proof until it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
- Transfer the proofed dough to a clean surface and divide each dough into four equal portions. Knead into balls, cover with cellophane, and let rest for an additional 15 minutes.
- Roll out each portion of the dough into an oval shape using a rolling pin. Take one piece of matcha dough, rolled out into an oval, and put it on top of the white dough also rolled out into an oval. Run the rolling pin a few times on top so that the two doughs begin to stick together and merge into one piece of dough. Take one end of the dough and fold to meet the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold it to meet on top.
- Flip the dough over with folds face down, and flatten it using a rolling pin.
- Flip the dough over with folds facing up. Now, roll the dough up. Place each of the rolls into the bread pan and cover the rolls with cellophane. Let them rise until double the size, approximately 40 more minutes.
- Brush egg mixture on top to create that shiny, desirable egg wash finish.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes. Take it out, and you’re ready to go!
Above is one chapter and recipe from my newly published book Cook with Green Tea. This recipe book has more visual images for baking matcha bread, cakes, smoothie, cocktail and a whole lot more. The book is an ultimate guide for cooking with matcha and green tea.