This week I have another recipe from my 2014 food predictions list and its one I am really excited to share with you, Chai Tea Fruit Loaf! This lovely fragrant tea loaf was wonderful fresh out of the oven and lovely the next morning as toast for breakfast and it made an amazing afternoon pick-me-up! From the moment it came out of the oven in the morning I couldn’t stop going back to it all day and into most of the evening. I had to force myself to keep some for breakfast the next day 😉
Chai Tea & Fruit
In this version of the loaf I am sharing with you today I used my Homemade Chai Tea Mix to flavour the fruit with, traditionally it is made with good old fashioned English Breakfast Tea and it is a lovely combination, and in the past, I have even used Earl Grey Tea to flavour it. I just fancied spicing it up with a little chai tea and it really worked a treat.
Like a lot of bread, this one does require a double proving, but this little tea loaf is worth the extra effort.
As with most loaves that have inclusions you don’t add the fruit until after the first proving. If you add it straight away then it inhibits a lot of the good work the yeast would normally do, it won’t harm the flavour but it will harm the texture.
Tea as a flavour
A little research is showing that tea has become something of a celebrity in the flavour world at the moment, Starbucks is claiming tea sales have rocketed and more and more chefs are using the humble leaf as a flavouring agent for fish, meats and desserts.
I find this funny as in the UK tea has always been used in cakes and bread to add flavour, for many its a really old-fashioned thing to see. I remember as a kid seeing tea loaves in tea shops being sold by the slice with a little butter and jam to go with it.
It’s nice to see it coming back into fashion again it really is a lovely addition to cakes and loaves.
Chai Tea Fruit Loaf
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoons Chai Tea
- 150 millilitres Boiling water ((4/8 cup))
- 125 grams mixed dried fruit ((3/4 cup))
- zest 1/2 lemon
- 500 grams strong white bread flour ((3 and 1/2 cups))
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 50 grams unsalted butter - at room temperature ((2/8 cup))
- 1 7 gram sachet fast action yeast, (1 scant tablespoon)
- 175 millilitres milk at room temperature ((1/2 cup and 3 and 1/2 tablespoons))
- Make up your chai tea with the boiling water in a pot or bowl and leave for at least 5 minutes for the flavours to steep.
- Once brewed place your dried fruit and lemon zest in a bowl and pour over the tea and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain your fruit and put the tea to one side and your fruit to another side.
- In your stand mixer or large mixing bowl if making by hand; add your flour, salt, sugar, butter and yeast and mix until combined.
- Pour in the milk and tea and mix together. If using a mixer with a dough hook mix on a low to medium speed for about 4 minutes until the dough is smooth and pliable. It will take about 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured work surface.
- Pop the dough back in the bowl cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave to rest for an hour.
- After this time your dough will have doubled in size and is ready to have your fruit included. Lightly grease a 1 pound / 450 gram loaf tin or a baking sheet.
- Either by hand or with your mixer mix the fruit in well. About 2 - 3 minutes with a mixer on low to medium and about 5 minutes by hand. You are looking for the fruit to be just starting to break apart.
- Pop the dough in your lightly greased 1 pound / 450 gram loaf tin or shape the dough into a large round (cob loaf shape) if you are just using a baking tray.
- Pop your tin / tray into a plastic bag careful to give the dough room to rise, and leave it in a warm place for another hour.
- Pre heat your oven to 220C / 425F / Gas mark 7. Bake the dough for 25 - 30 minutes checking it is fully baked by giving it a tap on the bottom it should sound hollow if it doesn't pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes and then check again.
- Transfer your loaf to a wire rack to cool down. Then serve with lashings of real butter 🙂