I never thought I’d say this, but I’m so glad I’m one of those people that constantly keeps the pantry and fridge stocked. I went to the grocery store the morning before the shelter-in-place mandate was ordered in SF and the stores were completely out of everything! I was trying to pick up extra in case I needed to hole up and just bake my feelings – which I clearly ended up doing. Prior to my grocery run, I actually cleaned out my pantry just to take inventory of what I had. To my amazement, I had a lot of random things that I used for other recipes but never finished up. The next few weeks of quarantine are going to be the best for me as my plan is to use up these ingredients. So bear with me as I do my pantry cleaning openly on this blog. Luckily I had everything I needed for this matcha coconut swirl bread.
Am I weird that I really really really enjoy the smell of proofed dough? That yeasty, sweet smell is just so intoxicating. I wish I could bottle it up and wear it like perfume (ok, now I’m exaggerating). But I really love it. There’s something comforting and relaxing when my kitchen smells like a batch of yeasted baked goods. This made my first pantry clean-up project easy: let’s take advantage that I still had yeast at home (some IG friends have informed me that the stores are completely out of yeast). I also find baking bread to be very soothing for some reason. I think it’s how the dough becomes super smooth looking after kneading – it’s satisfying.
So how did this combo of coconut and matcha come together? I found a bag of shredded coconut in my pantry. I wanted to bake it into bread similarly to the texture of Chinese cocktail buns (“gai may bao”) where it was a fluffy baked bun with a center of sweet coconut. But I’ve always found cocktail buns too sweet (don’t @ me, world). I obviously wasn’t going to make the filling and instead planned to bake the coconut directly into the bread. The issue is that coconut alone can still be too sweet for me. As a baker, I’m realizing I really don’t like over-sweet things. Matcha and coconut is a popular pairing and I thought it would work wonderfully with the earthy matcha tones paired against the sweet and nutty coconut. I’ve praised Minimal Matcha on several other recipes before so I made damn sure to use them again here.
But by no means does this mean you have to make this bread exactly with what I had. That was no my intention. Use whatever you find in your pantry: substitute the coconut with nuts and the match with cocoa powder. The whole idea is to use what you already have and to create flavor combinations that you haven’t before! It’s a tough time right now for the world. We all have to do things that bring us joy – like baking and eating – and keep the positivity going. Stay safe and healthy! And share with me if you end up using this recipe with different flavor profiles!
Matcha Coconut Swirl Bread
- Bread Starter
- 3 tablespoons bread flour
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons milk powder
- 1 (0.75 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 egg, room temperature and beaten
- 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons matcha powder
- 1/2 toasted shredded coconut
- Step 1 Add starter ingredients to a small saucepan. Stir ingredients together until there are no lumps.
- Step 2 Turn on the heat to medium low and stir constantly until a thick paste forms.
- Step 3 Place saucepan aside and allow starter to cool.
- Step 4 Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the starter, egg, and milk to the dry ingredients and turn on stand mixer on low and knead for about 5 minutes.
- Step 5 Add the butter one cube at a time and continue to knead on low for another 5 minutes.
- Step 6 Increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes.
- Step 7 Weigh the dough and divide into 2 pieces (or eyeball). Keep the dough covered while working on the dough one at a time.
- Step 8 Return one half of the dough to the stand mixer and add shredded coconut. Turn on to medium until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and looking smooth.
- Step 9 Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest between 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on ambient room temperature). Note: the dough does not need to double in size.
- Step 10 Return other half of the dough to the stand mixer and add matcha. Turn on to medium until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, matcha is evenly distributed, and the dough is looking smooth.
- Step 11 Transfer dough to another greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest between 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on ambient room temperature). Note: the dough does not need to double in size.
- Step 12 Grease loaf pan with butter and set aside.
- Step 13 Working with the coconut dough first, punch dough down and transfer onto a work surface. Roll out dough to 9″x12″ rectangle and set aside.
- Step 14 Punch down the matcha dough and transfer onto a work surface. Roll out dough to 9″x12″ rectangle and transfer on top of the coconut dough.
- Step 15 Begin rolling the two rectangles together into a log along the shorter edge of the rectangle. Once at the end, pull the coconut dough over the match dough as much as possible.
- Step 16 Place the dough log seam side down into the loaf pan.
- Step 17 Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on ambient room temperature).
- Step 18 Preheat oven to 350F and adjust rack to be in the center.
- Step 19 Brush dough with egg wash.
- Step 20 Bake for about 35 minutes until top is golden brown (or until an internal temperature reaches 190F). If the top is browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil.
- Step 21 Let pan cool for at least 5 minutes before unmolding the bread. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before eating.