Matcha Milk Bread Turtle Buns with Dutch Crunch Topping #BreadBakers

Our bread bakers theme for this month is animal shaped breads, chosen by Stacy of Food Lust People Love.  With the option to make one large animal or smaller animal shaped rolls, I went with the smaller option.  This is such a fun little recipe and makes 6 large turtle shaped buns that can be split between two people or enjoyed as a larger treat by one.  (Turtles were a popular choice for this theme, but of course turtles are super cute!)

I had this recipe pinned to try for the Dutch crunch option, which I had never tried before, but it is totally cute and I love that it fulfills this month's theme.  The dough was nice and soft, though a little bit sticky to work with.  I might add another couple tbsp flour, maybe 20-30g next time.  This could have been due to the spirulina I had to use as a portion as I learned it increases elasticity and softens firmness of crumb in breads.  Or perhaps not with that small amount but I found that study interesting!

We all liked these, the chocolate crunch helps cut some of the sweetness.  Definitely happy I cut the sugar back and I think the dough would be very good with some lemon zest to complement both the matcha and white chocolate.

Matcha Milk Bread Turtle
Adapted from ful-filled.
For the tangzhong: 
3 tbsp (24g) flour
¼ cup (60ml) water
¼ cup (60ml) milk 

For the dough:
270g bread flour (I used all purpose)
100g sugar (I only used 75g, plenty sweet, especially with the white chocolate filling)
12g matcha (I didn't have enough matcha and used my 6g plus a ~tsp of spirulina powder)
5g instant yeast
4g fine grain salt
4g non-fat dry milk powder
70g whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp (4g) vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature & whisked
28g unsalted butter, melted & cooled 

For the filling, eyes, & Dutch crunch:
90g white chocolate, finely chopped
12 black sesame seeds
1½ tsp (3g) active dry yeast
¼ cup (60ml) warm water
1½ tbsp (18g) sugar
1½ tsp (12.5g) vegetable oil
¼ tsp (1g) salt
1/3 cup (50g) rice flour (use white or brown rice flour- not Mochiko sticky rice flour)
1 tbsp (7.5g) cocoa powder
sugar for sprinkling

Make the tangzhong: 
In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, milk & flour until no lumps remain .  Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture thickens to a fairly thick consistency, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Make the dough:
Whisk together flour, sugar, matcha, instant yeast, salt, and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.  In a bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla, egg, and cooled tangzhong mixture.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix for a few minutes until just combined (shaggy dough is fine).  Add melted butter and knead for about 7-10 more minutes.  It should feel elastic and just slightly sticky.  Shape dough into a ball, cover and place in a warm area to rise for 1½ hours.

When the dough is done rising, weigh and divide it into eight equally sized portions.  Reserve two pieces to make the heads and feet of the turtles.  Flatten each remaining piece of dough into about a 4-5" circle.  Add 15g of chopped white chocolate to the flattened dough, and press into the dough. Fold the dough up and around the white chocolate, pressing the dough together in the center to ensure it is well sealed.  Flip the bun over so the sealed side is down and repeat with the other five pieces of dough to finish the bodies.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving 2" in between each turtle.

Take one of the reserved balls of dough and divide it into six equally sized pieces to form the heads.  Roll each piece into a sphere & gently pinch one end of the sphere, slip the pinched end under the turtle body and press the body down at their meeting point, repeat with each piece to give all the bodies their heads.  (I recommend placing all the heads toward the center of the sheet to protect them from browning too much.  Mine that faced outwards browned significantly more than the center ones.)

Take the remaining ball of dough and divide it first into six equally sized pieces and then divide each of those pieces into four small pieces, giving 24 small feet pieces.  Shape each of the four small balls of dough into an oval, pinching one end of each oval. Slip the pinched ends under the turtle body placing them in front and back where the turtle's feet need to be.  When all turtles have heads and feet, place the eyes by taking 2 black sesame seeds and placing them onto each head, pressing them into the dough with a toothpick.  Place them deep enough that they will stay attached when the dough rises.

Cover the completed turtle shapes with plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.  While the turtles are rising, make the dutch crunch mixture.  In a bowl, whisk together all the dutch crunch ingredients until smooth.  Cover and leave to rise while the turtles are rising.  After 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350ºF.  Stir the dutch crunch topping down until it is smooth and then coat the top of each turtle body with the dutch crunch topping, spreading a spoonful evenly with the back of the spoon until all of the topping is used.  (I used most but not all, my mixture was just a touch loose and I might withhold 5g of the water next time to check consistency.  I used brown rice flour.)  Sprinkle the dutch crunch coating with sugar and then bake the rolls for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and place turtles on a rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes.  The turtles are best enjoyed while still warm from the oven, otherwise store in an airtight container.  Reheat in the microwave for about 20 second, wrapped loosely in a paper towel.  The Dutch crunch topping is absolutely best on the first day.

 Don’t forget to check out all the amazing breads baked by our talented bakers:

 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.



  1. Such cute and delicious turtles. And so healthy too! loved the addition of spirulina powder. The crackled shells make the turtles look so real.

  2. Love the topping that created the design on the turtle backs, they are so cute!

  3. SO adorable. I love your topping. Mine didn't look quite as pretty, but it tasted delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love their little brown faces and that crunchy topping is special too. Just like real turtle shells!

  5. Wonderful idea to use the matcha for the color and then that shell!! Genius.

  6. That shell is adorable!! Love that the turtles actually get to be green too. :D

  7. That shell is adorable Love that you made a green color turtles. I will try it.

  8. Total works of art, and using a tangzhong is perfect for keeping them super soft. Both the filling and topping sound amazing too.

  9. I love the topping idea and that has given a natural look. Love the colors. They look amazing and delicious. For a longtime matcha bread is in my list and I have to try this one.

  10. You really went well out here!! Lovely turtles. I need to try that crunch.

  11. Wow they look so real and so perfectly done. Love the topping


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