Matcha Green Tea and Chocolate Babka
Updated: Jun 12, 2021
If you haven't had green tea a lot, I just want to let you know that they go really well with chocolate. To be honest, what doesn't go well with chocolate, am I right? :)
My husband was never really a fan of Matcha and he gave a thumbs up for this Babka, so I guess that is a Star for me!
It is almost strange to think that just 2 years ago before the pandemic, it was near impossible to find a good recipe for a babka and then all of a sudden, everyone are coming out to the internet and sharing their secret recipe! So, in fear of missing out, here is my own version! :)
Babka is a traditional Jewish decent bread roll that are commonly made filled with chocolate and cinnamon and baked in loaf tin. The base of the bread that is used for Babka are often made from enriched dough that is richer in butter, sugar and eggs compared to other genre of breads.
Fat and Gluten
Because enriched dough contain a high amount of fat (butter) and liquid (water/milk) in its make up, it is crucial to understand what fat actually does to the bread dough. If you are not familiar with bread making, there is one thing you will probably want to be familiar with, which is "gluten".
Gluten is often found in the endosperm part of the wheat flour which function as a structure builder in bread making. It is also what gives bread dough the ability to be stretched and extended, and also creates chewiness to baked bread.
Butter should always be the first preference of fat used in enriched dough because of the flavour that it can give. Not only does butter enhances flavour, it also adds moisture to the loaf, making it more tender compared to normal bread. Although Fat has its many benefits, it also hinders the development of gluten as it coats around each particle of the wheat flour if mixed together making it hard for them to align when water are added and the dough is mixed. Just think about when you are making scones and how you are required to actually rub in the butter into the flour to achieve that crumbly texture because you do not want to have any gluten development. In enriched dough, its the opposite.
Therefore, it is crucial that fat are always added after an initial stage of gluten development has been performed. In comparison to other enriched dough that contain only a small amount of butter/fat such as Challah, the butter can and are usually mixed together with the rest of the ingredients in the beginning as the small amount of fat in comparison to flour is not enough to hinder gluten development.
You can still mix in the higher fat ratios as an All-in Method ( where you dump everything into a mixer bowl and mixed them together all at once), and you will still be able to make a loaf of enriched bread, but the dough may not rise as well and can be slightly short and dense.
Mixing Enriched dough
When making enriched dough, all the ingredients except the butter are usually added first and mixed to allow the gluten strand to have the ability to align and form before the room temperature and softened butter are added.
Some enriched dough tends to absorb fat much quicker and some takes slightly longer. For example, when you add the room temperature butter, the butter will have no problem blending into the dough before you can add the next addition of butter. Whereas, other enriched dough recipe will see that the dough starts to split initially when butter are added and after several minutes of mixing, they will start to come together again. The reason to this in my experience has always something to do with the type of flour or flour blend that I use. In this case, I am using a Bread/ Baker's flour with 12.5% protein with a combination of plain flour with 8% protein content. And in this bread dough recipe, the amount of fat used is around 22% in baker's percentage and seems to absorb pretty well into the dough.
Using different type of flour
I have come across a vast range of recipes out there that calls for All purpose flour or baker's flour when making enriched dough for Babkas. All Purpose is actually a blend of Soft and Hard Wheat flour with gluten forming protein ranging between 9.5%- 11.5%, whereas baker's flour usually has a higher gluten forming protein content which sits around 11.5% - 13.5%.
I always like to experiment with using different blend of flours and liquid content in my enriched dough and I am still learning. Because I hardly ever have any all purpose flour in my pantry, when making enriched dough, I like to use a mixture of bakers and plain flour, which I believe is what makes an All Purpose Flour anyway. (Plain flour usually contain protein that sits between 7-9.5%). The outcome with the blend of flours always comes out softer compared to the ones that only has baker's flour.
Because of the percentage of fat and liquid involved in enriched dough, using flour that is high in protein is essential for it to absorb the liquid as well as build the relevant structure to hold on to the loaf during baking to prevent it from collapsing. However, having too much gluten tend to make the dough too chewy for my liking for an enriched dough.
I have use only Baker's flour for enriched dough like Babka and Challah bread. The rise of the dough always comes out spot on. However, the crumb of the dough often comes out chewier compared to the ones that are blended with lower protein flour.
The conclusion here is, I believe that all purpose flour are more suited for this type of bread if you want a softer crumb texture in your loaf.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a pulverized powder made from mature green tea leaves. Getting your hands on the premium Matcha is recommended for the depth of flavor.
How can you use Matcha powder?
Matcha is really versatile. You can use them in ice cream mixture, add them in a loaf cake or bread (in the case of this blog), or mix them in luke warm water to make yourself a cup of tea.
What is the best combination with Matcha?
I am in love with Matcha and thinks that it should go with everything, but if I have to pick the best combination, I will have to go with the following:
Let's get baking!
Yield: 2 Loafs
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Proofing Time: 1 hour bulk proofing, 2 hours retarding, 1 hour Final Proof
Baking Time: 30 - 45 minutes
Equipment: Equipment:2 x ( 180 mm x110mm x 75 mm) loaf tin
Green Tea Babka Dough
320 g 60% Baker's Flour
210 g 40 % Plain Flour
7 g 1.32% Fine salt
20 g 6.6% Green Tea Powder
100g 18.8% Caster Sugar/ granulated sugar
270 g 51% Full Cream milk (100 g for yeast mix, 170 g for final dough)
7 g 1.32% Instant Yeast
115g 22% Unsalted butter - room temperature
100 g 18.8% Eggs
For 2 x loaves - note: halve the recipe if you are just making a single loaf
150 g 54% Dark Coverture Chocolate
70 g Unsalted butter
60 g Full Cream 35% Fat
45g powdered sugar
20g Unsweetened cocoa powder
3 g Fine Salt
60 g Boiling water
60 g Caster Sugar
For the Dough
1. Heat 100 g of the milk to 35°C, stir in 5 g of the sugar until it is complete dissolved then stir in the instant yeast. Leave at room temperature uncovered until it starts to become frothy at the top. This process should only take approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the flours, salt, green tea powder, eggs , activated yeast mix with the remaining 170 g milk and 95 g sugar into stand mixer bowl and mix over low speed for 3 minutes until all the ingredients have come together.
Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for another 5 minutes for a semi gluten development. (The dough is smooth and slightly elastic but do not entirely pass the "window test)
Note: If you add the butter after you have fully develop gluten, it will make it harder for the dough to absorb the additional fat which in this case is quite a large ratio. Which is why it is recommended that you develop "some" gluten, add in the butter and continue to mix for final gluten development
3. Gradually add in the butter and while continuously mixing over medium speed. Once all the butter are added, continue to mix until gluten are fully develop. The whole process will take up 10 to 12 minutes.
Note: To prevent over heating or over exhausting your mixer, you can mix for half the time, stop the machine then cover the mixer bowl and leave the dough at room temperature at the coolest place for 10 minutes then continue to mix for the rest of the remaining time.
To test if your dough is ready, generously dust your hands with some flour and pinch a small ball of dough. Gently stretch the dough and if you are able to stretch it thin enough to see through, it is ready.
4. Dust the work bench with some baker's flour then transfer the dough on to it. With the help of a bench scraper, fold the dough over to itself, ensuring that you do not trap any excess flour in between the dough by dusting the flour off, then roll it in to a smooth ball.
The dough should feel really soft but not wet.
Lightly dust a bowl large enough for the dough to double in volume then place the dough seam side down in the bowl. Cover with a plastic or damp tea towel and leave for it to bulk ferment at room temperature. This process will take approximately 1 hour to 90 minutes depending on the ambient of your kitchen.
5. Once the dough have doubled in volume, transfer to a lightly floured bench and lightly press down to release some of the excess gas. Divide the dough in to two equal portion of approximately 560 g each. Roll the two dough in to a flat ball and place in separate floured bowl. Cover the top with plastic or cling film and place the two bowl of dough in the fridge sitting at 5°C for 2 hours to firm up for easy handling.
Note: Alternatively, you can leave the dough sitting in the fridge overnight for up to 18 hours.
For the chocolate spread