Friday 16 November 2007

Matcha Red Bean Loaf

Beware! This is going to be a super long-winded post!!!

Besides MH, another blog visitor, Celine has informed me that she has baked a milk loaf by spreading the dough with a mixture of softened butter, minced garlic, fresh parsley and fresh oregano, then sprinkled with some Parmesan (must be fresh?!), rolled up and baked. Wow, this combo is really mind-blowing isn't it?!

Thanks to growing up in a traditional Chinese family. I am really ignorant when it comes to fresh herbs. I won't be able to tell the difference between a bay leaf, oregano, or basil if I happen to see them! and in my mind I kept mixing up Rosemary with Thyme!! So, as much as I would like to try Celine's loaf, I thought I should just keep to things that I am familiar with ;)

Hence, this lead me to bake a matcha or green tea loaf using the same milk loaf recipe.

The exterior of this loaf looks perfectly normal, just like a usual loaf of bread.

From the top view, it somehow reminds me of a traditional pillow which my deceased grandmother used to sleep with. It's those Chinese traditional kind of 'pillow' that was made with a block of wood with very nice carvings on the sides, which looks something like these. Guess you have to be as old as me to have seen one of these ;)

Sorry, I've digressed! Well, what I really wanted to say is, looks can be very deceiving.

After I sliced the loaf into half, I was quite taken aback by this huge 'tunnel' that had formed just underneath the crust! Thanks to my cyberfriend, vb, this reminded me that it appeared not too different as compared to the CTE tunnel, lolz!!!

I believe I didn't do a proper job while knocking down the dough after the first rise. A giant air bubble must have been trapped there, and it grew and grew and grew while the dough was proofing the second time! I really find bread-making a very challenging task, there are so many unknowns and variables that could affect the outcome of the it the weather, the yeast, the amount of the ingredients, the time taken to knead the dough, etc, etc. On the other hand, it is also all these uncertainties that make bread-making more fun than other cakes and bakes :p

A couple of blog visitors have lamented that they are not able to make a loaf of bread as they don't own a bread machine. It was with this in mind that I made this loaf solely by hand. I have also taken a few step-by-step photos to show those of you who may wish to give it a try. These photos were not very well taken, as it was very tricky trying to juggle the camera while my hands were covered with dough.

Starting from the top left hand photo, the dough was form by mixing all the ingredients (except the butter) and kneaded by hand for less than 5 minutes. It was not sticky at all but the texture was very soft. Then I proceed to add in the butter to the dough...a process which I would prefer to leave it to the bread machine to do. I don't really like the oily, gooey, feeling by kneading the butter into the dough. It took a few mins of squashing and squeezing before the butter gets all absorbed into the dough. At this stage, the dough will start to get very sticky, it helps if you have a simple tool like a dough scrapper (the beige thing on the bottom right photo), to scape up the dough at the same time when you are kneading. A plastic spatula can also do the job.

After about 15mins of kneading (starting from the mixing of the ingredients), the dough had became smooth, and no longer stuck to my hands (see top left photo). Ok, I tried taking a photo of the 'pane test' or stretch test, but it was difficult trying to take a photo with just one hand while the other is pulling /stretching the dough at the same time. How I wished I could have another set of arms, haha! Anyway, you will notice that in the top right photo, the edges on the hole appeared jaggered. This means that the dough has not been fully developed. I gave the dough another 5mins of kneading and did the stretch test again. This time, the dough can be stretched quite thinly before it started to tear, and the edges of the hole looked smooth (bottom left photo). See the nice smooth dough on the bottom right? The dough was all ready for the first rise. So in total, it took me about 20mins to knead the dough before it became smooth and elastic.

The rest was easy, after the first rise, I roll out the dough and spread it with some Japanese red bean paste and roll it up, swiss-roll style. I had initially planned to make it into a square loaf using my pullman tin. but, when I was about to cover the tin, I realised that the dough had climbed over the brim! I should have covered it with the lid when the dough had reached almost 80% of the height of the tin :(

Despite the huge tunnel, the bread tasted as soft and airy. Although I must say, after cooling, the fragrance from the green tea vanished almost completely. The green tea flavour was very subtle (I used 2 teaspoons of green tea powder), I could hardly taste it :,(

(original recipe from here)

25g caster sugar
5g salt
250g bread flour
4g (1 teaspoon) Instant yeast
2 teaspoons green tea powder
143g fresh milk (I used HL low-fat fresh milk)
35g egg
38g butter (unsalted)
filling: red bean paste

Making Bread by Hand:
  1. Place caster sugar, salt, bread flour, green tea powder and yeast into a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients with hand. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour the lightly beaten egg and milk into the well. Mix the ingredients to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough becomes smooth and non-sticky. Knead and mix in the butter into the dough.
  3. Continue to knead dough for another 15mins until it becomes smooth, elastic and no longer sticks to hand and work surface.
  4. Smooth the dough into a round ball. Let it rise in room temperature in a mixing bowl, covered with cling wrap. Let dough rise for 60mins or until it double in bulk.
  5. Remove dough and punch out the gas. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a big rectangle. The width of the dough should be slightly bigger than the length of your loaf tin/pan. Roll out the dough as long as you can manage. Spread the dough with a layer of red bean paste(or any filling of your choice). Roll up tightly (make as many rolls/turns as you can) swiss-roll style. Pinch the dough to seal the seam tightly.
  6. Place dough (seam side down) in lightly greased bread tin/pan. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough proof for the second time for about 45~60 mins, until it fills up 80% of the tin/pan.
  7. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180 ~ 190 deg C for 30 to 35mins.
  8. Unmould the bread immediately when removed from the oven. Let cool completely before slicing.


shiyan said...

Wow!. Thanks so much for the step-by-step illustration. That's really great effort (kneading and taking pics at the same time is no simple task). Appreciate it lots.

I once tried kneading bread dough with hands. Must say I dun really enjoy kneading sticky dough. I felt kinda helpless when dough sticks all over my hands and countertop. That time when I tried kneading with hands, I didn't manage to knead till the developed stage (dough didn't pass the windowpane test) because my hands were tooooo tired to knead any further that I just had to stop. Heez. Bread turns out hard just as expected, esp the nx day. So I have since decided that I shall use my mixer to do the kneading. Heez. Really takes my hats off to those who knead bread dough by hand.

By the way, I was wondering if you hv considered covering the tin right from the start of the 2nd proof when you wish to do square loaf? You probably dun have to worry so much about the dough climbing over the brim.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Shiyan, I have trained up a pair of strong arms by carrying my kids everyday when they were young! I must say it is really very tiring to the arms with the constant kneading. But I do need that extra exercise on and off :)

Yes, by right should have covered the lid right from the start of the 2nd proof...but I used a cling wrap instead, as I can't help but to check on the dough! Otherwise I won't know whether it has reached the required volumn...and I won't want to risk 'tearing' the dough if it happens to rise up to the lid, and I happen to slide open it to check.

sweet-tooth said...

woah now i feel so motivated to bake bread although i don't have a bread machine :D
it's so nice of you to even take photos of every step, bravo!!
thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million times for the step-step illustration and thanks for making the ingredient conversion for us. It take me a lot of time to convert from grams to cup/Tsp. I will use this post as my guide each time I will make bread.
Can I know the kind of yeast(brand) you use for you bread? For the bread flour can it be substituted for a another kind of flour? I use plain flour, because I couldn't find the bread flour and my bread is not so soft as your the next day.
Stephie (Canada)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sweet-tooth, you can always make a bread without using a bread machine. In fact, I personally think that the best breads are made by hand :)

Hi Stephie, I used Instant Dried Yeast, the brand is 'Bake King' that comes in a small container (50g). This kind of yeast, which is fast-acting, can be mixed with flour and will activate once in contact with the liquid. It is not required to soak the yeast in warm liquid in order to activate it. I am really not sure about using plain flour for making bread. All along I use bread flour, as such I am not able to comment in this area. Hope you understand. I read somewhere that certain brands of flour may not use the term "bread flour', they may use "Strong Flour", or "Very strong flour" instead, which is actually for bread making.

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Home Baker, i have been enjoying your blogs esp your baking ones, all your efforts looked so marvellous and inspiring, esp the jap milk loaf! ;p

i'm also wondering do you have any advise on this recipe if i were to use a bread machine? Thanks alot and keep up the great work! :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi mgby, thanks for your kind words :)

For this recipe to be made by breadmachine, you can refer to the post under "Milk Loaf" refer to the side bar under the "My bread basket" category. You can add in the green tea together with the rest of the ingredients. After the bread machine has completed the dough cycle, you can roll it out with the red bean paste, let it proof for the 2nd time in your baking pan and bake in a normal oven. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering and let me know the different term use for Bread flour. I said to myself, if there is bread sold here, it should have bread flour somewhere.

Thanks and hope you will show us other kinds (flavor) of bread to make.


The Health Conscious Shopper said...

hi HHB,
really thanks so much for detailed photos!! i really learnt a lot from u. i'm one of those who have to read your blog on a daily basis!!

for this milk loaf, i wanted to share with your other readers that i did a really successful one (without the fillings), using pure plain flour. i was not even strong flour or anything like that. (So Stephie, if you are reading this - u r not alone.)i stored in cling wrap and then inside airtight container - it was ok the next day.

also, for the egg - i had no idea how much egg is 35g - can you tell us? (i just simply used one egg!)

the butter - i think i rounded it to something like 35g or 40g butter becuz i dont have a digital scale - so my usual weighing scale is not so accurate.

lastly, half my yeast died along the way becuz i 'killed' them. however, it dint affect the loaf - just that i had to proof for double the time. this works for someone who prefers to take own sweet time to do this loaf in between other household chores, like i did.

thanks once again HHB!

Anonymous said...

Hi Homebaker,

Will the instant yeast won't work at all even if it has not reached the expiry date?

I tried breadmaking before by hand but it did not rise at all.

Or is it becos I did not knead the dough until it did not stick to my hand? Like that, will it still rise?

Is it very essential at this point to knead until it does not stick?

Sorry for asking so many things...

Thanks & Regards,

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Canton Pixie, thanks so much for sharing your baking experience :D
If you are using a medium size egg, 38g of egg is slightly less than 1 full egg. Another blogger also simply used 1 full egg. As I do not have a digital scale, my scale can only read up till 10g! As such, I just weight by esitmation :) I am very certain that the measurements of my ingredients are not precise ;p

Hi Madeline, no worries! If your yeast are packed in satchets, once opened you will have to use it asap. Some brands will stated that the remaining yeast in the satchets can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days and they will still work. I bought yeast that comes in a small plastic container, and I keep them in the fridge. Proper storage is important to ensure that the yeast will still work before the expiry date.

From my understanding, most bread recipes will recommend that the dough be kneaded for at least 10mins. The dough should rise even if it is still sticks to your hands. I suspect it could be the problem with the yeast. Do take note of the temperature of the liquid used...too warm, it will kill the yeast, too cold, the yeast will not be activated. If the dough is not kneaded until it is full developed (smooth, elastic), the bread texture may not be as soft. Hope this helps :)

Aimei said...

Thanks alot Happy Homebaker! Your photos really helps alot. I love to knead because I'd like to feel the texture and go through the entire process to learn. Once got it probably will then consider getting a mixer or bread machine..:)

Now then I know that I didnt pass the window pane test in the past. :P By the way, I really took a long time to knead! For almost 45minutes and still not yet done..hehe...guess I need to start carrying dubmbells to train my muscles...haha! :P

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Aimei, wow, you took 45mins!! I must salute you for your high tolerance! I once took 30mins to knead a bread, and I almost wanted to cry!!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Lovely bread. I never would have thought to make bread with matcha. I love your process pictures - very good!

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy home baker,

My bread tends to turn rubbery hard the next day. Do you think you could advice on the reason and solution? Thank you! :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, I am afraid I am no expert in bread making as I am still relatively new in the area of baking :) Furthermore, as you didn't give details on how you went about making your bread, I won't be able to make any comment. Maybe you could provide some specific areas which you think you didn't do right?

sherlyn said...


I am so happy that you gave instructions and pictures for hand made bread. Now I can go ahead to try the milky loaf. I had taste the end product from a fried that has tried your recipe and I love the bread. Yummy.

I hope i am able to produce a reasonably good loaf :)

sherlyn said...


After reading more of entries and comments from the bread basket, I started to get worried.

May I ask, is it only this recipe that I can use hand, ie to say I need a bread machine for the milky loaf and other breads?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Sherlyn, I think you may have misunderstood the comments. All breads can be made by hand.

Whereas certain breads, cannot be made by bread machine. In addition, bread machine can only produce loaf breads, if you want breads that are shaped into buns, etc, you can only use the bread machine to do the kneading and then shape and bake the bread using a normal oven. If you are interested in making your own bread, it will help if you can get hold of a book on bread-making to find out the details. Hope you understand that my blog posting can only cover that much. I hope I have helped clarify your doubts.

Hungry Hamster said...

The bread looks so delicious and I'm even a fan of green tea! Beautiful pictures by the way!

Anonymous said...

Dear Happy Homebaker,
What a fabulous and informative blog you have, really impressive! I really appreciate your detailed baking notes and beautiful photographs. Will have to slowly absorb all the great info you have shared here :). Thanks so much.

Yan said...

Hi Happy Homemaker,
this bread is the exact replica of the loaf sold in Breadtalk. and yes, it is one of my favourite. their half loaf costs about $5. (if my memory doesnt fail me. =p)

well, looks like u just opened the window to nudge me to get my hands into workout with your step by step pictorial guide.

then again, i have to rest my hands well before i embark on this hands on process coz my wrists are pretty small n weak compared to my fleshy overall built.

nonetheless, good work ! great sharing !


sherlyn said...

Thanks HHM for the clarification. Will go look for books soon :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Hungry Hamster, thanks!

Niceties, thanks for dropping by, I am the one who needs to absorb those useful information in your blog!

Yan, nah, my bread is not up to the standard yet!! I enjoy bread making, hope you will like it too! Do take care and rest your hands :)

Sherlyn, I am looking forward to reading about your bread :)

Yan said...

hi hi ....
i managed to 'practise' hands on bread making earlier on.... and i must say this is the best looking bread i have made so far... ur steps here are really good.
heres my take :

Fiona Lin said...

Hi :)

Wow, this is definitely going on my things-to-bake list! Thankyou for showing me that you don't need a machine to make bread - you just need strong arms :). I was always too scared to try it before.

The dough looks so beautifully green!

Thank you for the inspiration.

I love how you are so precise with the measurements :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Baker,

Your bake rocks! Your milk loaf recipe was the one i relied on while in a far away country. I had success each time i use this recipe and I became a regular reader of your blog and bakes, definitely make me salivates.

I have always proof yeast with warm water even with instant active yeast as i wasn't sure if yeast can be added into the flour just like that like you mentioned in one of the post above.

The yeast will turn active once "liquid are added"? Does that means the liquid has to be warm?

- jay

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Jay, I am so pleased to hear that you have great success with this bread recipe :) I love to use this recipe too!

I read from books that the liquid has to be lukewarm (but not hot) to activate the yeast. For me, if I were to knead by hand, I usually mix the yeast with the other dry ingredients, and then add in the water/milk (left at room temperature) to mix. So far I have not tried activating yeast in warm water first. Hope this helps :)

Pwincess linfoong said...

I was wondering, how much did it cost for your matcha powder? Cause I saw some funny powder the other day at Jusco and thought it was really expensive just for a tiny packet. And since the writing was in Japanese, I din wanna waste my money for nothing, haha.


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Pwincess linfoong, I am using this brand "Ujinotsuyu Matcha Hagoromo". It comes in a very small container too. You can do a search on Google to take a look at the photo of this product. I bought it at about S$6+ from Isetan supermart. Do take note that Green Tea powder is slightly different from Matcha powder as they made from different types of tea leaves. I believe Matcha powder is more expensive. Hope this helps :)
Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

wow, i always get this from the supermarket! now i can try making it myself at home!

agapejen said...

May I know if you have to punch out the gas after 2nd proofing also? Or you just put the risen dough into the oven directly?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi agapejen, you don't have to punch out the gas after the 2nd proofing, just put the dough into the oven to bake.

Blessed Homemaker said...

My kids love this! Thanks for sharing!

Blessed Homemaker said...

Made this again with some red bean paste but no one in the family appreciates it. They very much prefer the plain loaf.

Happy Homebaker said...

Blessed Homemaker, don't fret, most of the time my kids also don't really care for red beans. Can I suggest you try the bacon and cheese loaf, I am sure your family members will like it.

Yenny Suardy said...

Hi, I love all the recipes u posted and also the nice pictures, for me u are so professional. I always visit your blog regularly, I just want to say I love it.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Yenny Suardy, thanks for reading my blog :) Thanks for the kind words, you are making me blush ;')I am no where near a professional, I do not know much about photography (my photos are all point and shoot) and I learn baking through cookbooks :'p

Anonymous said...

Is there any different between the recipe use to make bread at home and those bread sell at the shop? I had this funny problem, I burp after eating bread make by me...whereas I do not burp after eating bread bought from shop...wonder why?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, I do not know the difference between the two...but I would think the ingredients are more or less the same, except that commercial bread would contain additives. Does it happens to all the bread you make or just certain recipes?

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog and I love all the things you make! Your breads look amazing, as though they're from branded bakeries. I hope I'll be able to bake lovely bread like you do eventually! :)

Anonymous said...


I kneaded bread dough twice for 3 hrs but it never passes the windowpane test. The ingredients are correct, I did it as I was told to but I can't get the gluten develop. What should I do?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, did you knead the dough continuously for 3 hrs? I don't think it needs to take so long to knead the dough to reach the window pane test. Did you knead by hand? or stand mixer? You could have over knead it if you had use a stand mixer. The dough would no longer be stretched and become tacky. What was the texture of the dough?

Anonymous said...

I knead it by hand. The dough is not sticky, quite easy to handle but when I do the windowpane test, it tears apart and has jaggered edges

Happy Homebaker said...

The dough is quite wet and sticky initially (as shown in the photos I posted above) after kneading (about 5 to 10 mins) it will come together. However after adding the butter, the dough will become sticky again and would usually take another 15 to 20mins of kneading for the dough to become smooth and no longer sticks to the work surface. Then knead for another 10 mins or so to reach the window pane stage. You can refer to this video ( to see the kneading process. The kneading method used in the video is by 'folding...lift up the dough...then hit/slam it on the work surface'. I have used this method before and it is much easier (for wet and sticky dough) than the usual kneading method. Hope this helps.