For a hearty twist on the traditional fruit loaf, try Chai Tea sourdough bejewelled with chunky fruit and roasted walnuts! Your taste buds will enjoy pops of apricot, apple, date and walnuts encased in a Chai Tea infused sourdough bread.
Toast in your regular toaster or for a hint of rustic wood-fire ~ toast in a dry fry pan or under the grill.
Eat hot. 🙂
Turn your regular sourdough bread recipe into a delightful loaf of chai tea sourdough that you can toast for breakfast and serve with butter or ricotta cheese and honey. This recipe uses the same easy, no-knead process that we are known for, all you’re going to do is change up a few of the ingredients!
I do find the dough for this loaf can be a little more difficult to shape than usual due to the large pieces of fruit. I love the chunky colour it adds to each slice and the burst of soft sweetness when eating. If the large pieces of fruit bother you, simply chop them smaller.
And if you don’t devour this loaf in one weekend, it will freeze brilliantly, especially if sliced first.
180g Active Sourdough Starter (6.35oz) SEE NOTE
15g Loose Leaf Chai Tea (or 7-8 Chai Tea tea bags)
270g Boiling Water (9.34oz) (For the tea)
2 Tablespoons honey
80g Dates (2.82oz)
40g Dried apple (1.41oz)
50g Dried Apricots (1.76oz)
50g Toasted Walnuts (1.76oz)
1/4 Teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda
5-12g Vital Wheat Gluten** (optional) See how much to use below
180g sourdough starter (6.35oz) is equivalent to:
1. Low-maintenance sourdough starter Your jar from the fridge + 2 feeds (Steps 1-2)
2. 1 Batch of Maintenance-free sourdough starter 3 Feeds (Steps 1-3)
3. Traditional sourdough starter fed to more than 180g (6.35oz) so that you have some leftover to continue feeding
*The amount of Vital Wheat Gluten depends on the protein content of the flour you are using:
– 13% protein use 5g Vital Wheat Gluten
– 12.5% protein use 8g Vital Wheat Gluten
– 12% protein use 12g Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat Gluten is 75% protein and helps add structure to bread when there’s lots of fruit or nuts added. You can see the difference in my two loaves shown in the photos. The shallower slices are without the vital wheat gluten and the higher loaf is with it. Both taste the same. The shallow sourdough is not faulty or flat, it just didn’t have the same oven spring.
PREPARE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER AHEAD
Low-maintenance: 2 Feeds. Steps 1-2 in the recipe card with your kit
Maintenance-free: 3 Feeds. Steps 1-3 in the recipe card with your kit
Traditional sourdough starter OR your own: You need 180g of sourdough starter (6.35oz) for this recipe. It needs to be fed and doubled by the time you make the dough.
1. Brew your chai tea in 270g boiling water and let it cool, with the tea bags or tea leaves still in the water.
2. Place your dates in a heatproof bowl along with the bicarbonate soda and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
3. Lightly chop the walnuts and toast them in a frying pan. Let them cool while you chop the dried apple into 1cm pieces.
4. Drain the dates and remove the Chai Tea leaves or tea bags from the chai tea.
Now you’re ready to make dough!
1. Scoop your sourdough starter into your mixing bowl. Add 9g of salt (0.32 oz) and 270g of chai tea brew (9.34 oz) directly to the sourdough and stir vigorously to dissolve all solids.
Following the Low-maintenance process? You will have 5g of sourdough starter left in your jar (0.18oz). Now is the time to do FEED 1: Add 10g warm water & 10g bread flour to the small amount of starter in your jar. Stir & place in the fridge until next bake or 6 weeks, whichever comes first.
2. Add 415g of bread flour (14.64 oz) and mix well to combine. Add your pre-prepared dates, dried apricots (left whole), diced dried apple and toasted walnuts along with 2 tablespoons of honey.
3. Squeeze the mix (like a sponge) for 1-2 minutes using your hands. This will help ‘push’ water into the flour and hydrate it. Clump the dough into a ball shape and wash your hands.
4. Cover the bowl* with cling wrap^ and leave and leave somewhere where the temperature will be fairly stable.
Doubling guide time for your kitchen temperature at the moment:
– 18°C or below (64°F): 12+ hours
– 19-23°C or below (65-74°F): 8-10 hours
– 24°C or above (75°F): 4-5 hours
If you are around while your sourdough is rising, as you approach the end of the rise time check every now and then to see if the dough has doubled in size. Especially if you just guessed the temperature.
Your dough will be ready to shape when it’s twice it’s original size, puffy and a number of bubbles may be poking through the surface or seen on the side. (Using a glass bowl makes it easy to see but not essential!)
*If you don’t mind doing an extra step, using a clean, lightly oiled bowl stops the dough from sticking to the bowl during the rise. When you tip the dough out later, you will keep all the lovely air pockets that form. When dough sticks to the bowl, it stretches as it releases and tears the air pockets that help it rise.
^Using a clear reusable shower cap over your bowl, instead of cling wrap, helps put less plastic in landfill.
1. Lightly oil your bench-top and gently tip out your dough. If you made enough for two loaves and made it as one dough, use a dough scraper or firm plastic spatula, cut the dough into two equal halves.
Work gently from here. You want to keep as many air bubbles in your dough as possible.
2. Using wet hands, pinch one side of the dough and stretch it up towards the ceiling, then fold across the dough to the other side. Pinch next to where you pinched last time and repeat. Work your way around the dough, overlapping the previous fold through the centre each time. This process is like wrapping a present tightly. Pull and stretch 12-14 times until your dough becomes tight. It will start to resist as you work until it becomes too difficult. Then you know you’re done!
3. Grab a piece of baking paper and gently place your loaf onto the sheet seam side underneath.
If you don’t mind another step for optimal oven spring, read this post about placing your loaf with the seam side up instead of underneath.
4. Use the baking paper to lower the loaf into a large Tupperware container or oversized bowl.
5. Seal with the Tupperware lid or cling wrap and place into your refrigerator for a minimum of 10 hours, and up to 24 hours.
That’s it until you bake!
1. Preheat your oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 250°C (482°F). Remember to add your Dutch Oven, Pizza Stone or chosen bakeware. The heat absorbed during this time is super important in helping the loaf rise.
2. After the oven has been on for an hour, take your loaf out of the fridge. Lift it from the container using the baking paper and place it on the bench.
3. Brush your sourdough loaf generously with water* and lightly dust with flour.
4. Using the sharpest knife you have or a razor blade move deeply, quickly and confidently on an angle through the loaf. If you go slow, the knife will drag the dough. This helps control the oven spring and make your loaf look professional.
5. Your loaf is cooked when it sounds hollow as you knock it on the bottom with your knuckles. (Like knocking on a door.)
Allow to cool. This will give excess moisture, trapped inside, time to leave through the crust. You will end up with a better loaf and improved crumb (interior texture).
*Wetting your sourdough loaf stops the crust from forming early and restricting the size of the loaf. It also helps to add gloss to the crust and make it crunchy.
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*Wetting your sourdough loaf stops the crust from forming early, restricting the size of the loaf. It also helps to add gloss to the crust and make it crunchy.
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