March Matcha Madness

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (if you’re new, welcome!), you will know that I love matcha. Having previously posted brownie, pudding (chia and bread) and cookie recipes, treats made with this green tea powder is a match-a made in heaven. What you didn’t know is that I absolutely adore the pecan sticky bun found at Flour Bakery in Boston (There’s actually four bakeries, all owned by baking extraordinaire Joanne Chang). Anytime I am in Boston, I make sure I grab a sticky bun to bring home (well, probably only part of a sticky bun).

Not that I could ever improve upon this piece of pastry perfection, I tweaked the original recipe just a tiny bit, and you guessed it, it involves matcha.

sticky buns header

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Recipe and directions adapted from Flour’s Famous Sticky Buns
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks; 170 g, 6 oz.) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. (345 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. (110 g) honey
1/3 c. (80 g) heavy cream
1/3 c. (80 g) water
2 tsp. matcha
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Bun Mixture/Filling
1/4 c. (55 g) light brown sugar
1/4 c. (50 g) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1 c. (100 g) roasted pistachios, chopped

Brioche Dough
2 1/2 c. (350 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 1/4 c. (340 g) bread flour
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast or 1 oz. (28 g) fresh cake yeast
1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. (82 grams) sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. cold water
5 eggs
1 3/8 c. (2 3/4 sticks; 310 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and matcha, and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok).

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, vanilla, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups.

Brioche Dough
1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

2. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.

3. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons (I added 5 additional tablespoons) of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.

4. Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

5. Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use.

1. On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cardamom, and half of the pistachios. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.

3. Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)

4. Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle half of the remaining pistachios evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.

Trick to proofing: Heat a cup of water in the microwave for about three minutes, quickly remove the cup and place the prepared buns (covered with a dishtowel) in and close to proof for two hours

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350ºF.

6. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pistachios from the bottom of the dish over the top. (Or if you’re inpatient like me, wait 10 minutes and enjoy!)

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