I have to admit, it took me a long time to warm up to the flavor of matcha. Maybe, my new found love of match has to do with my move to California, where seemingly everyone walks around holding some sort of green plant-based beverage, or maybe my taste buds have evolved as I age. One thing is for sure, this matcha lemon loaf will leave you feeling refreshed and healthy, which we all need right now. (Especially given this heat wave in SoCal!)
Fair warning, the matcha makes this loaf the same color as The Hulk (Noah and I have been watching the Marvel movies during quarantine), but it’s all natural coloring so that makes it better and more appetizing, right?
4 ½ Teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets of active dry yeast works too but I have found instant yeast results in a fluffier texture)
¾ Cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup margarine, melted
¼ Cup matcha powder
2 Teaspoons lemon Zest
7 cups all-purpose flour ( I typically use anywhere from 6-8 cups of flour depending on the temperature and humidity outside)
Dissolve ¼ matcha powder into 2 cups warm water.
Whisk eggs, salt, ½ cup melted margarine, ¾ cup sugar, 2 cups warm water w/ matcha(that you made in the previous step),lemon zest, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes. (If you don’t knead the dough well enough, the challah will not hold its shape when it is braided.)
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to prove. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proved, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut into 6 equal portions. Keep three portions out and place three back into the bowl. Shape each of the three portions into a long rope. Using your palm, press the three ropes together at the top and begin to braid the dough. Once finished braiding, tuck each of the ends under to create a more finished/clean look. Do the same with the remaining three pieces of dough. Let proof for another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425 degrees. (Keep an eye on the loaves once you up the temperature, you may have to cover them with tinfoil if the tops start to get too dark.)
Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.
NOTES: Do not try to slice the bread right when it comes out of the oven. If you are storing the bread to eat later, make sure it is fully cooled before you put it into any kind of container or it will create condensation that will lead to mold.