Caffeine and Fresh Baked Bread – A Perfect Combo?

Green coffee. Green tea. They sound like flavors that you’d find in a café, not a loaf of bread. Surprise! Both work well in many dishes, including baked goods. Green tea has floated in and out of pastry shops, bakeries, and cafes for years, but very rarely does it hit the bread pan – I’ve sampled green tea cakes and cookies in Mexico City, and a sweet green tea spread in Toronto. Along with green coffee, this rich and delightful flavor is working its way into bread machines everywhere, and it tastes amazing. In this article, you’ll learn some fantastic ways to use these new flavors in your bread baking, and some of the tastiest ingredients to pair alongside them.

Before we get started, I’d like to tell you a few of the reasons that I started cooking with these ingredients. I’m a bread lover, not a health nut. That said, I do try to keep things fairly nutritious for my family, and using these ingredients is no exception.

Green Coffee

The term “green coffee” refers to the coffee bean before it is roasted to be processed into coffee. Green coffee extracts became popular in 2012, and this rapid rise to nutrition stardom shows no signs of slowing. Although supposedly good for weight loss, don’t get your hopes up. Just enjoy the added antioxidants and energy that this ingredient can provide.

You can find green coffee powders, drops, and even whole beans. Although I’d skip using the whole bean, blending it into your flour can make for a fun, coffee-inspired and fully-caffeinated addition to your breakfast breads.

Green Tea

Black, white, and green tea all comes from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. Native to China, green tea is less processed than black tea, and also les oxidized. Considered one of the healthiest beverages in the world, it is wildly popular in most parts of Asia, and has recently come into fashion in the US. Available in powdered form (sometimes called matcha), crushed leaf, whole leaf, and bottled, this tea has a naturally mild bitter and savory flavor, but also matches well with many sweet ingredients. You can even buy green tea ice cream.

Green tea’s health benefits include fighting cancer, diabetes type 2, heart disease, and other inflammatory conditions, and helping you lose weight. It has a little caffeine, but not as much as black tea. Adding matcha powder to cakes and cookies is a popular trend in Asia as well as the Americas. You can also blend powdered green tea with sugar and butter in a buttercream icing for a fun twist on traditional flavors.

Great Flavors to Combine with Green Coffee

If your breads are plagued by similar flavor profiles and your family is starting to complain, try adding a little coffee to the mix. The flavor of green coffee is very mild, and blends well with everything from vanilla to fresh herbs.

Think about your favorite coffee shop. What flavored coffees do you like? This is a great place to start testing flavor combinations. I like to mix things up a bit, too. Roasted coffee has a robust flavor profile that doesn’t blend well with many fruits. The bold, bitter edge is absent in green coffee, which blends well with many fruits. Try something crazy like dried cranberry and green coffee – you may be surprised how much you like the result.

The Best Pairings for Baking with Green Tea

If you’ve never cooked with green tea, start now! This flavor blends easily with citrus fruits, peaches, raspberries, and honey. Vanilla, chocolate, and passion fruit also complement it well. Before cooking with matcha or green tea, test a little. If you buy an imported green tea powder, it may have added salts – making the flavor more fitting for savory breads. Savory green tea combinations include pork, chicken, and mild cheeses, as well as most dried herbs.

My personal preference is to use green tea in sweet preparations – especially with chocolate, vanilla, or passion fruit. These flavors blend into a well-rounded profile with an air of sophistication that is perfect for everything from birthday cakes (for adults) to tea cookies and breads.

When working with a new flavor, taste it, test it, and bake with it until you discover combinations that please your palate. It can be intimidating to bring something like tea into your baking pantry, but the results are worthwhile. Once you’ve grown comfortable with a new flavor, you’ll be able to wow friends and family with thrilling taste combinations they never would have imagined. Happy baking, and please share your results!

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