Bread making is something that I’ve been getting into more recently and I’ve been having lots of fun experimenting and I can’t wait to share more of those recipes with you! I have found that cutting into a loaf of homemade bread to be immensely satisfying but imagine revealing a fantastic swirl pattern inside your loaf! That’s why my Matcha Swirl Bread is such a great bake, not only does it look great but it tastes amazing too!
I again use the tangzhong method for this bread. Tangzhong is a paste made by cooking out flour with water or milk which is added to the dough. Because the flour has gelatinised and absorbed the liquid, this liquid is trapped in the mixture which gives the final bread a higher moisture content. I have really fallen in love with the tangzhong method and I think it’s very forgiving and the dough is much nicer to work with, I thoroughly recommend using it for your bread! I use it for my Chinese Tear and Share Buns, my Sweet Potato and Taro Buns and my Sweet Potato Babka, check out those recipes for more tangzhong breads!
In each test of the recipe, the bread dough rises up a lot in the oven and leads to a bit of tearing at the sides. While I don’t claim to be an expert on bread, this is a natural process after chatting with some fellow bakers and seeing the same tearing from the heat of the oven on each test. This is because I don’t score the bread on the surface. The crust of the bread expands as it bakes and if it is not given a place to rise through the scoring, it will expand unpredictably and rupture at the weak areas of the dough. It doesn’t affect the taste of the bread however. I quite liked the non-scored appearance but feel free to add some scores if you want a nicer looking loaf.
I find that splitting up the larger dough into two portions and kneading in the matcha powder into some of the dough is easier than making two separate doughs, there’s less kneading and there are fewer processes involved. It can be hard to incorporate the matcha powder into the dough so you do need to add a bit more water to account for the matcha powder. I find that working it on the surface is enough to bring it all together but a mixer makes easy work of this. I add a bit of green food colouring too just to brighten up the green colour more as the green matcha can be a bit muted against the plain dough and you want something that pops when you slice into the bread.
The tin I use for this bread is a 25cm Kaiser loaf tin. It’s one of my favourite tins, it’s one I use regularly. In fact I used it to make the cake layers for my Black Sesame and Matcha Angel Cake Slices and I used it for my Upside Down Apple Gingerbread Loaf Cake. I found it on Amazon recently and by purchasing the product through clicking the image below or by clicking here, I will receive a small commission but you don’t have to pay anything extra! This is part of my affiliate policy and you can read more details about it in the ‘Contact Me’ page of my blog.
For the tangzhong:
- 30g strong white bread flour
- 150ml cold water
- 25ml runny honey
For the bread dough:
- 420g strong white bread flour
- 7g fast action dried yeast
- 25g granulated sugar
- 7g table salt
- 1 large egg
- About 100ml warm water
- 40g margarine or very soft unsalted butter
- 7g matcha powder
- Green food colouring (optional)
For the glaze:
- Whole milk
- Toasted black sesame seeds
Grease the inside of a 25cm loaf tin thoroughly and line the longer sides and base of the tin with a strip of parchment that has overhang to easily lift out the bread. Use small magnets to hold down the paper down the sides.
To make the tangzhong, mix together the flour and water in a small saucepan until there are no lumps. Place over a medium heat and cook until it has thickened to a paste, stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming. Leave the tangzhong to cool while you prepare the other ingredients (see next step). Once prepped, add in the honey to the tangzhong and stir until combined. Add 50ml of the warm water for the bread dough, stirring until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, add in the strong white bread flour. Place the yeast to one side of the bowl, the sugar and salt to another side of the bowl. Use your finger to mix them into the flour nearby and make a well in the centre. Add the egg into the well and use a spoon or your fingers to beat the egg, gradually incorporating more flour as you mix. Open the well up more and pour in the tangzhong mixture as well as a splash of the remaining water. Gradually bring everything together into a rough raggedy dough. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough together until it forms a dough that is soft, smooth and workable but not sticky. This should take around 3 to 4 minutes. Flatten out the dough slightly.
Spread the margarine or unsalted butter on top of the dough and fold the dough on top of itself and continue to knead the dough, incorporating the margarine evenly, adding more flour when the dough becomes sloppy and hard to handle. The dough has been kneaded enough when you shape the dough into a ball and you press a lightly floured finger in and it springs back – it should take a good 5 minutes of kneading once the fat has been fully incorporated.
Divide the dough into two and place one ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to prove until doubled in size, about one hour on a warm day. To the other half of dough, sprinkle the matcha powder onto the surface with a bit of water with the green food colouring if using and knead the dough until the matcha is incorporated nicely into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with clingfilm and prove until doubled in size.
Starting with the proved plain dough, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back the air. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to a rectangle that measures approximately 10 by 12 inches, ensuring that the dough has not been stretched while rolling – you can do this by constantly lifting and turning over the dough after each roll. Repeat with the matcha dough and place the matcha dough on top of the plain dough. Tightly roll up the dough along the shorter side and place it into the prepared loaf tin. Cover with clingfilm and allow to prove until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. When the bread has proved, brush the surface of the bread with milk and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. Bake the bread for around 35 – 45 minutes, until the bread is well risen, the top of the loaf is a strong golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the very centre of the loaf reads 90˚C.
Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before using a knife to release the ends of the bread from the tin and lifting out the bread onto a cooling rack using the parchment. Leave the bread to cool down completely, at least a couple of hours before slicing into the bread using a sharp knife. The bread will keep in an airtight container wrapped well for up to 3 days or frozen sliced if wrapped well in clingfilm, foil and bagged.
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