Matcha + Azuki Hokkaido Milk Bread

We're moving in about a month. Surprise! And I feel like I don't even recognize myself because I've already started packing. I mean who does that? I guess this is gonna be my fifth move in the last five or so years, so I guess I've gotten the hang of it by now. Actually, come to think of it, does anyone ever get used to moving? I'm blown away by how much "stuff" I've managed to accumulate in the short time we've been in Los Angeles. And then there are all the things that I moved with last time that still haven't been touched. Like my 20 bottles of nail polish, my sweaters that are still in storage, or the mini bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that I compulsively bring home from vacations... I probably don't need to take those. I'm also thinking I should have finished reading Kondo's The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  *shrugs shoulders*

Meanwhile, I've developed a major obsession with bread making and have a gajillion recipes I want to test out. Bread's got to be one of the coolest things you can make and I recently got into kneading it by hand. It's pretty soothing and somehow really gratifying. Not to mention, it's a workout and I'll take that in any form it comes. And then there's my go-to recipe for poke to share with you like yesterday and that slab pie I've been promising. So basically, for the next month, I'll be in the kitchen during the day and packing boxes at night because there's just so much to make and do!

Regarding my bread making obsession, I feel like it's always lingering right there below the surface, but it's recently broken out full-force. Being the food nerd that I am, I've decided to deep-dive into all things bread, and gosh there's so much out there, I'm not sure I'm ever coming out of this. I think a bread a week is a good goal and I'm wondering, should I go down the sourdough hole or will it consume me? Welp! I'm really excited either way and so happy to kick this new fixation with this milk bread. It's something I've been dreaming about ever since I saw Cynthia's Hokkaido milk bread on Food52. And then when I saw David Lebovitz's post from years ago about Aki Boulanger's matcha and azuki (adzuki) milk bread, I knew I needed it in my life. Seeing as Paris isn't happening anytime soon and I am what some might call impatient, I decided to give it a go and make it here in sunshiny Los Angeles. After a couple attempts, I was left with this bread, which as David said, really is a wonderful afternoon snack. I'd eat it all day as is, as it's nice and fluffy and not too sweet. The matcha is pronounced but not overwhelming and plays very nicely with the red bean paste. I think it could be great as a dessert, cut thick and served with ice cream, azuki beans, and condensed milk on top, but somehow both loaves didn't last long enough for me to test this theory... next time. 


Adapted from Two Red Bowls and King Arthur Flour

Makes two 9- by 4-inch loaves



  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 3 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. bread flour



  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 c. (about 350 g.) bread flour
  • 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  •  1 Tbsp. cold water (for egg wash)



  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 c. (about 350 g.) bread flour
  • 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk (also called milk powder)
  • 3 Tbsp. matcha green tea powder
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  •  1 Tbsp. cold water (for egg wash)


  • 1 c. koshi an (fine sweetened red bean paste, divided


  • Mixing bowls
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 9" x 4" bread pans
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Wire rack



  1. To make the tangzhong, whisk 3 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons of whole milk, and 2 tablespoons of bread flour together in a small saucepan until there aren't any lumps. Heat the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste and lines form on the bottom of the pan when whisked. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl to cool to room temperature.
  2. To make the plain dough, heat 1/2 cup of whole milk to about 110°F or lukewarm to touch (I heated it in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to do this). Next, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and set it aside to activate for 5 to 10 minutes (the milk mixture should start to foam).
  3. Meanwhile, sift the bread flour, salt, sugar, and baker's special dry milk together in a large bowl. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the cooled tangzhong and one large egg.
  4. Once the yeast has been activated, gently whisk it to the wet ingredients to just incorporate. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a loose, shaggy dough. Then use your hands to knead for 4 to 5 minutes or until the dough forms a somewhat smooth ball. Add the butter into the dough, one tablespoon at a time, kneading in completely after each addition. After all the butter has been incorporated, knead for 4 to 5 more minutes or until a smooth, elastic ball has formed. 
  5. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Set in fridge while making the matcha dough. 
  6. To make the matcha dough: repeat steps 1 through 4, sifting matcha into the bread flour-sugar mixture for the dough. Once matcha dough has been made and placed in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, remove the plain dough from the fridge and set both out to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until well doubled. 
  7. When dough has doubled, turn both balls out and punch each down. Cut each ball in half and roll each half out into a 6-inch by 16-inch rectangle. Spread a 1/2 cup of koshi an (red bean paste) on the plain dough halves then top with the matcha halves. Roll each stack up, matcha side in, lenthwise, then place into a greased loaf pan.
  8. Cover pans with plastic wrap or damp towels and let rise for another hour or so, or until puffy. Halfway through rising time, preheat the oven to 350° F. When the dough is puffy (you can test this by pressing the dough gently with one finger; if the indentation bounces back slowly but remains it's ready), brush with an egg wash (the second large egg whisked with one tablespoon of cold water).
  9. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the loaves are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped. If the tops of your loaves start to brown too quickly, simply cover with foil. Let loaves cool on a wire rack and slice, serve, and enjoy!