Lapsang souchong is a black tea with a rich smoky flavor, that I completely adore, but it can be a tough sell for those who favor a more traditional and subtle tea palate. I decided to experiment with using some of this freshly brewed tea in my bread to give it a small hint of smokiness.
This recipe makes one large or two small boules.
- 1 3/4 cup brewed Lapsang souchong Tea (make sure that it is warm to touch, but not too hot)
- 3 tsp Yeast
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/2 cup Flour + more for dusting
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
- Combine a 1/4 cup of the tea with the yeast, and allow it to rest until the yeast has liquified.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
- Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes.
- Begin your kneading. The dough will be extremely sticky, and the easiest way to knead is with a dough hook, but you can do it by hand using a dough scraper.
- Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is elastic enough to hold together and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl or kneading surface.
- Allow the dough to rest for another few minutes, before giving it one last quick 1 minute knead. The dough should appear smooth, but will still be sticky to touch.
- Place the dough in a greased container covered in plastic wrap to rise until tripled in size (~3-5 hours).
- Carefully invert the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently press it down into a large disk.
- Lift each of the (4) edges of the disk, and draw them into the center of the disk forming a cushion of dough.
- Place the dough back into the greased rising container, cover, and allow it to rise for a second time, until doubled. (~1.5 – 2 hours).
- Invert the dough onto your floured work surface and cut the dough in half.
- Fold each half over once, cover the halves, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grease and dust two medium sized glass bowls with flour. Your bread will rise in the bowls before being transferred directly into the oven.
- Gently press each half into a disk, and once again fold them into a cushion or boule.
- Carefully dip the top side of the dough in the fennel seeds, before placing it fennel-side-down into one of the floured bowls.
- Cover the boules, and allow them to rise until doubled. You may want to grease or flour coat the cover to prevent sticking. (~1.5 – 2 hours)
- Preheat the oven to 450 F (~232 C) with a large dutch-oven in the central rack of the oven.
- You will be baking each loaf one at a time.
- Once the oven has preheated and the bread has risen, up-end one of the boules into the middle of the dutch oven, score it, and then cover it with a lid.
- Bake for 30 minutes before removing the lid, and baking the bread for another 10 – 15 minutes. If the bread gets too dark, cover it once again and reduce the heat slightly.