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Author Notes: I really enjoy making bread with tea leaves baked right in it and have come up with several different recipes. The one I'm sharing today is done with Bengali Spice Tea. I intended to do it with Chai Tea originally, but realized I didn't have any in my pantry, so I decided to try it with the Bengali Spice instead.
You can buy cashew or almond milk already made, but I wanted to control the sweetness of the bread. This bread isn't intended to be really sweet, but there is agave syrup to offset the spiciness.
This bread takes awhile to make, but it’s so worth it! Expect to spend 10 hours or so softening the cashews in water, about five hours waiting for the bread to rise, another overnight in the refrigerator for the final rise, and then baking time. You can find detailed explanations of the steps and techniques in "Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza" by Ken Forkish. I've also included links to some of Ken's videos that show the techniques. —lifeofcolors
Serves two 1-1/2 pound loaves
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/3 cup agave syrup
- Soak cashews in 2 cups of water overnight, or for 8-10 hours. Add remainder of water, sea salt and agave syrup to cashews and blend until smooth.
Bengali Spice Tea Bread
- 500 grams unbleached all purpose flour
- 500 grams whole wheat flour
- 15 grams (5 tea bags) Bengali Spice Tea
- 820 grams cashew milk
- 24 grams sea salt
- 3 grams dried instant yeast
- Mix the all purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and the tea leaves by hand in a 6 to 12 quart tub. Gently warm the 820 grams of cashew milk to 90? to 95? (32? to 35?). Water temperature (or cashew milk in this case) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-aTTFXb2w4.
- Combine the flour mixture with the cashew milk and blend them together by hand until they are just incorporated. Cover and let this rest for 20-30 minutes. Add the yeast and salt. Hand Mix all the ingredients using the pincer method (with your thumb and forefingers) and folding the dough. Alternate between the two (start with folding the dough, then pinch the dough 5-6 times, then fold the dough again, etc.) until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Hand Mixing the Autolyse. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4tgEQw4ibs
- Fold the dough 4 additional separate times, letting the dough relax in-between, within the first two hours of the rising time, if possible. (I generally do it approx. 15-20 minutes apart). When the dough has tripled in size, it's ready to be divided. (The recipe says about five hours, but I live at a high altitude and the kitchen I use tends to be rather cool, so it takes MUCH longer than five hours for me. I usually plan for about 10 hours).
- Flour the work surface, your hands, and the edges around the tub so you can divide the dough. Gently work it free from the tub and ease it unto the work surface. Flour it down the middle and cut it into two equal pieces. Flour bowls or proofing baskets. Shape the dough into loaves and place them seam side down in the bowls or baskets. Dividing and Shaping the Loaves - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPdedk9gJLQ
- Flour the tops of the loaves a little bit. Cover with a clean towel, or the plastic bags you get in the produce department of a grocery store, and refrigerate overnight. The next morning (after 12-14 hours) test the dough using the finger-dent technique to determine exact timing. Proofing and Finger-dent test - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oAfl1u0fIw
- Preheat the oven to 475? (245?) with the dutch oven(s) and their lid(s) in it for at least 45 minutes prior to baking. If you only have one dutch oven, leave the second loaf in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it. Reheat the dutch oven for 5 minutes after removing the first loaf and then place the second loaf into it.
- Invert the loaf unto your lightly floured work space. Remove the dutch oven (it will be extremely hot so be careful!) and take off the lid. Carefully place the dough in the dutch oven seam side up. Replace the lid then put it all into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid. Bake for another 15-25 minutes until it's medium brown with the lid off. Remove loaf and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.