The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Black Tea Bread - using James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition procedure

Shiao-Ping's picture

Sourdough Black Tea Bread - using James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition procedure


       Sourdough Black Tea Bread - using James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition procedure


                                   the crumb

I always remember that very dense Black Tea Sourdough that I made a month ago (it feels like ages ago).  Back then I received a lot of kind remarks and encouragements but really the sourdough was like a stone.  So, I had on my list to try my hands again at some stage.   With the new technique I learned from making James MacGuire's Pain de Tradition, I thought my time was ripe for a second go at it.  Back then, my dough hydration was a shy 64% with a dough size of 685 g.  This time I jacked up the hydration to 80% (total flour 500 g and total liquid 400 g) for a dough size of 910g.   Not only that, I gave the dough an overnight cold retardation in the fridge.

My formula 

210 g wholemeal starter @ 75% hydration

290 g white bread flour

90 g KAF Sir Lancelot high gluten flour

125 g cool black tea (I used 2 English Breakfast tea bags)

151 g water

18 g honey

16 g Tea Liqueur

10 g salt  

2 g instant dry yeast


With only mother and son at home (my husband and daughter are away on the International Young Physicist Tournament in China) I was afraid that I would have a lot left over; but no, my son couldn't have enough of it, and he made me slice up the whole loaf. 


                    more crumb


                                                                                            and the close-up

Tonight my muse is the music from my late teens/early 20s; my whole house is ringing with the music, I think my roof is protesting.  My son walks out of his bedroom, dancing to the music.  He has a smile on his face as, when the daddy is away, the mummy lets him free-range. 

Oh, let me get back to the bread.

The bread is lovely.  It's too easy - with MacGuire's procedure.  The crumb is favourful and the mouthfeel is mildly chewy - totally unlike the cottony/fairy floss like crumb of yeasted breads.  There is "substance" to the crumb.  The addition of sourdough starter and the retardation overnight really do the trick for me. 

One complaint - I might have over-dosed the bread with the instant dry yeast!  Even though I used the prescribed quantity (ie, 2 g), I think less instant yeast so that the dough doesn't rise up too much might be good. 

Isn't that funny - a month ago I couldn't have enough aeration and holes in my sourdough, now I am begging for less!




Salome's picture

Shiao-Ping, I'd LOVE to have your problems... ;) The loaf looks great.How strong is the black tea flavor? Sounds very exotic to me . . .


Shiao-Ping's picture

Hi Salome

I thought the English drink more black tea than Chinese (the English Breakfast tea I am referring to).  Ha.

The sourdough has very faint tea flavor.  It is almost undistinguishable save for the tea liquor I used.  Some users have asked me where to buy the tea liquor.  I bought it in Japan, but the baking section in supermarkets may have tea essence in very small bottle (like vanilla essence, almond essence, etc.).  You can even substitute with some Grand Marnier (with some fine orange zest! but of course this will change the flavor completley.




SylviaH's picture

Shiao-Ping, I love tea being my morning favorite!  My husband has even become a tea convert from coffee!  I also love and use it in cooking and baking.  This is such a beautiful crumb and crust.  Have you ever made your own tea liqeuer or do you have a recipe?  The flavor of the tea has to be so lovely in this bread!  You are making such a great list of recipes!  This is a keeper for sure!

Thank you, Sylvia

Shiao-Ping's picture

Hmm...  that might be an interesting project.   If you just infuse black tea leaves in a sealed liquor of some sort for some months, you might get your home made tea liquor!