Monday, May 20, 2019

Green stripes and chocolate polka dots in my bread, please

If you’re in the mood for something truly beautiful for breakfast, do I have a treat for you. 

I don’t know about you, but most days I don’t get to eat enough jade-green bread, and I never have enough chocolate for breakfast, no matter how I try, so deal with this tragedy I have put together this recipe based on a Taiwanese favorite.

The thing is, most Taiwanese-style bakeries don’t offer much in the way of flavor or texture in their matcha breads. 

There’s green in there, of course, but this could be food coloring for all I know. And even worse, the bread is studded with red beans, which just don’t spin my wheels.

And so I’ve added lots of chocolate chips instead. 

You’ll notice that they are flat here, which allows them to sidle up to the bread twist and become one with the loaf, instead of oozing out. This is because I’ve called on Caillebaut’s dark callets, which are like little discs, rather than the perky kisses that most Americans are used to.

Lashing the bread with generous speckles of dark chocolate instead of the usual milk chocolate drastically lowers the sweetness of these loaves, and I really like that. Sugar tends to overwhelm many flavors, especially something as elusive as green tea, so nudging just a gentle edge of sweetness into the bread works well here.

Matcha chocolate chip bread
Mŏcháfĕn qiăokèlì tùsīmiànbāo  抹茶粉巧克力吐司麵包
Modern Taiwanese pastry
Makes 2 loaves

Green dough:
¾ cup | 150 ml hot water
¼ cup | 25 g matcha (finely ground Japanese-style green tea)
¼ cup | 25 g powdered milk
Layers of interest
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups | 300 g Chinese flour, plus more for kneading
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons | 25 g coconut oil or unsalted butter, softened

White dough:
¾ cup | 150 ml warm water
¼ cup | 25 g powdered milk
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups | 300 g Chinese flour, plus more for kneading
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons | 25 g coconut oil or unsalted butter, softened

Lay the green on white
½ cup | 30 g dark chocolate callets,
or chocolate chips, divided in half
Spray oil
2 tablespoons milk 
Sanding sugar

1. First make the green tea by pouring the hot water over the matcha. Let the tea sit until its temperature has reduced to warm.

2. Now make the two doughs: For the green dough, mix the warm tea (including the matcha itself), powdered milk, yeast, and sugar together in a large work bowl. In a separate bowl, make the white dough with the warm water, powdered milk, yeast, and sugar. Give the yeast time to wake up and become very foamy, which should take around 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t get a good head of foam, buy fresh yeast and start over.

Chips scattered on the doughs
3. Stir the egg, flour, salt, and oil into the two yeast mixtures to form soft doughs. Quickly knead the doughs, adding more flour as necessary to keep them from sticking, until they are smooth and bouncy. Roll the two doughs into two balls and lightly flour them. Cover the doughs with clean tea towels, stick the bowls over the top to help keep the doughs moist, and wait until the doughs have risen to at least twice their original size, which will take an hour or two. Separately dump the puffy doughs out on to a board lightly sprinkled with flour and knead them by hand until they are smooth and tensile. Cover them again and let the doughs rise until they are again at least double in size, about 30 minutes. Divide each ball of dough in half. You should have two green balls of dough and two white.

4. On a lightly floured board, roll half of the white dough out into a 9-inch | 23-cm square. Roll half of the green dough out into the same sized square and place it on top of the white rectangle. Sprinkle half of the chocolate over the green dough, leaving the edges clear. Roll up the doughs from one end, and then pinch both the long edge and the ends closed. Repeat with the other two halves of the dough and the chocolate chips.

Pinch up the edges
5. Spray oil in the bread pans, set the dough in the pans, sprinkle both loaves with water,
and lightly cover them until each loaf has almost reached the top of the pan, about 15 minutes. 

5. Set a rack just below the middle of your oven and set it for 350°F | 175°C. When the oven is ready, sprinkle water once again over the loaves. Brush the tops of the loaves with the milk and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar, then slash them down the center about 1 inch | 2 cm deep. Set the pans in the oven and bake for around 35 minutes. The loaves should be a lovely golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them in the center. Remove the pans from the oven, turn the loaves out onto a cake rack, and let them cool before slicing. They freeze well, of course.