Tea Bread




Introduction: Tea Bread

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (tessel.io); now thinking about climate...

Here's a trick to make your regular old white bread recipe really pop: Add tea!
I usually do this in a bread machine, since I can put it on an overnight timer, so the tea has plenty of time to steep. It's good in other bread dough too.

Step 1: Ingredients

Use your regular white bread recipe. If you're using a bread machine, it probably came with a recipe.
Most of these call for:
-Oil (not pictured)
-Water (not pictured)

I add: tea! Some kind of fine bagged tea, ideally one with a lot of flavor. Pumpkin ginger is good, chocolate teas, etc. My favorite is pomegranate black tea.

For proportionality, my recipe uses 4c flour, and I put in 2 bags of tea.

Step 2: Open Tea Packets

Step 3: Pour Tea Into Mixer

Step 4: Add Water

This should be warm-hot water.

Step 5: Add Flour

Step 6: Add Other Ingredients

If your bread is on a delay timer, make sure that the yeast isn't touching anything wet.

Step 7: Put It in the Bread Machine

This picture was taken partway through the bread machine's progress.
With pomegranate black tea, it smells deliciously fruity through the whole process.

Step 8: Mm, Tasty Bread!

Delicious bread when the bread machine beeps!
Slice and enjoy.
A little butter really helps to bring out the tea flavor in the bread.



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    19 Discussions

    Just a little clarification:-\

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Barm is the foam, or scum, formed on the top of liquor (i.e. fermented alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine, or feedstock for hard liquor or industrial ethanol distillation) when fermenting. It was used to leaven bread, or set up fermentation in a new batch of liquor. Barm, as a leaven, has also been made from ground millet combined with must out of wine-tubs[1] and is sometimes used in English baking as a synonym for a natural leaven.[2] Various cultures derived from barm, usually Saccharomyces cerevisiae, became ancestral to most forms of brewer's yeast and baker's yeast currently on the market.

    In parts of the North-West of England and throughout Yorkshire, a barm or barm cake is a common term for a soft, floury bread roll, on menus in chip shops there is often an option of a chip barm (which consists of chips within a bread roll). This is a regional term: other areas describe an identical roll as a "bap", "bread bun", "bread cake","batch", "blaa" (Ireland) or many other variants. It is applied equally to yeast-leavened bread, without implying the use of sourdough or barm leavens.

    In Ireland, barm is used in the traditional production of barmbrack, a fruited bread.

    Very interesting. I've tried all sorts of 'extras' such as peanut butter (instead of adding any oil), spicy tomato sauce (yeast didn't like it) and even curry. There is a famous traditional bread from Ireland for those of you with Irish roots, called Barmbrack, which is basically a spicy fruit bread like hot cross buns but made with regular tea - not the leaves, but the drink. I have developed an easy recipe and could post it here if anyone is interested.

    6 replies

    Sorry to disappoint you, but though it is originally Irish, it is not a soda bread. The word 'barm' means yeast. However I'll post the recipe here as you ask. I was wrong about the comments section not accepting paragraphs: It seems it is the preview section that doesn't show the paragraphs.

    Barmbrack is a traditional Irish spicy fruit bread and a favourite accompaniment to afternoon tea. It is delicious sliced, toasted and buttered - or you can eat it on its own. (Traditionally tea is used instead of water but I prefer water as I am sensitive to the tannin in tea.) Similar to the Welsh bara brith, it's easily available in bakeries and supermarkets in Ireland and Britain. It's also quite easy to make at home, although you do need to plan ahead to allow time for the dough to rise.
    Don't be tempted by inferior barmbrack recipes that use self-raising flour or baking soda. Barmbrack is essentially a yeasted bread (barm is another name for fermented yeast). Recipes that call for chemical raising agents will be quicker, but not nearly as good.
    This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves but it could easily be used for flat tea cakes or buns.
    1. In the evening the day before you want your Barmbrack mix the following in a BIG bowl, cover with plastic and leave overnight in a warm place:
    3 cups white flour (all purpose or bread making flour)
    2 tsp instant dried yeast
    3 cups warm water or warm milk (or warm tea)
    2. Next day, grease/butter 2 loaf tins, then
    3. Add: ¼ cup dark brown sugar to the overnight mix and stir to dissolve. The overnight mix will likely have a gluey lump of dough sitting on a puddle of watery liquid. That is normal and makes dissolving the sugar easier.
    Then add 1 large egg (beaten)
    4. Premix and then add:
    3 cups flour (could be white or whole wheat or some of each)
    2½ tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves or what you have)
    1½ cups raisins
    1 cup currants (or use more raisins instead)
    ½ cup glace cherries (cut up)
    5. Add: ¼ cup oil (olive, sunflower, canola etc)
    6. Pre-heat to 350F (180C).
    7. Mix everything together with your hands using some extra flour if necessary, until you have one good homogenous ‘lump’ of dough. Knead for a few minutes then divide into 2 equal sized pieces and shape / roll to fit your bread tins. Press down and leave to rise in a warm place until at least doubled in size.
    8. Bake for 45 mins. Test if done by tapping on the bottom: it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
    9. When you remove the bread from the oven, immediately brush it over with a sugar/milk mixture to give it a glossy glaze.
    Note: During the overnight stage the yeast acts on the flour and develops the gluten into that chewy elastic stage which holds the air bubbles. During the overnight stage it is too runny to overflow the bowl, but when the extra flour is added it thickens it up and with minimum kneading it is suitable for its final rising in the tin.

    Thanks! I'm not disappointed that it's not soda bread, that's just the only Irish bread I have experience making. I'll have to try this out soon!

    Here's a photo of what to expect. I've sent you a private message with the recipe as when I put it on this comment section it came out as one long text with no paragraph breaks and was virtually impossible to follow. For some reason it seems the comment section doesn't accept paragraph breaks.

    This line is the start of a new paragraph and I'll see what happens. Hmmm.. when I check on preview the paragraph has gone and it is just one continuous text.


    Coincidentally enough, Twining's sent me some sample tea bags yesterday, so I'm going to have to try this out for sure! Thanks!

    Friend replaced water with double strength cooled coffee, topped finished bread with butter crumbles while hot. Same idea as the tea bread. Is awesome.

    Lovely idea. I do Earl Grey tea muffins myself all the time for work. I shall be trying this with an Oolong tea with a Focaccia Bread recipe I use. I will have to remember to let you know how this turns out. Thank you for the awesome idea.

    I love the idea, but... are the tea leaves edible? Do you notice them (the texture) when you eat the bread? What if I "make tea" first, with the water, and then use that as liquid? DId you try it? Thank you for your instructable!

    2 replies

    Yes, tea leaves are edible. If you use tea from teabags, it's really just "tea dust" - there is no leaf structure to speak of. No different from using ground cinnamon or nutmeg, or using dried oregano or parsley flakes.

    It isn't just tea that's been ground to dust that's edible - I remember hearing once that swallowing a spoonful of green tea (which comes as dried leaf bits) was a remedy for something...

    Nice instructable. Question, though--why include the tea leaves in the bread, which are probably bitter and hard to digest? Why not just steep the tea in the bread's water, let the water cool, and then use it for the bread?

    1 reply

    Virtually all herbs are bitter by themselves. Using tea water probably won't impart enough flavor to the bread to be noticeable above the bread's own strong flavors. Do you steep oregano in water and use only the water in recipes that call for dried oregano? No.

    One of my most repeatedly requested homemade cookies calls for tea leaves -- there is absolutely no bitterness, and you can't really feel the leaves on your tongue. I've used various combinations of Earl Grey and Chai teas along with a bit of a black, usually putting in more than the recipe calls for, and the flavor of the cookies is subtle but distinct...and nobody ever guesses the secret incredient! Have been in a bread baking mood of late and am now thinking that some of these spice-type teas would be great in wheat bread....

    This looks delish! I may have to drag out my old bread machine just to try it out. Bet the tea would be wonderful in a quick bread! I love Chai tea and I can't wait to try this with my favorite one!

    1 reply

    Let me know how you like different types of tea in it!
    I've put it into hand-kneaded doughs, too, and it works great either way.