Monday, November 12

Baking with Tea Infused Ingredients (How to Bake with Tea)

Tea has some amazing health benefits and baking with it infuser both subtle flavor and benefits into your goodies. However, tea is not one of the easiest things to bake with. First finding bits of tea leaves in your mouth is not the most appetizing.  Second the baked goods wont actually carry across the flavor of the tea when leaves are baked. And third the leaves will actually change bake/rise time a bit. So how does one get these great tea flavors into their baked good? The answer is infusing your ingredients!

In almost all baked goods you will find one or more of the following items: milk, water, butter, or shortening. The tea is easily combined into one or more of these ingredients as an infusion.Let us take each ingredient one at a time and discuss how this will work. Note there is a subtle difference when using tea leaves verses tea bags. For every 1 tbsp of tea leaves you will need 2 tea bags. I actually don't really ever use bagged tea but, if you do also remember that very faint flavor teas may require more bags to get the flavor to carry across.

I know tea infused water? Isn't this just tea? It is close, but not tea you would drink. You will need to create a condensed flavor in order to get the tea to carry. So when using water in your recipe as the infused ingredient, you are going to want to use 1 tbsp of loose leaf tea for every 1 cup water in the recipe. Allow the tea leaves to over steep and become quite strong, then simple remove tea and allow liquid to cool before use.

Infusing your milk is actually the easiest way to go when baking. The milk itself has a subtle enough flavor that the tea bonds with it and easily comes across. Also, if using a dark tea the tannins in tea sometimes become bitter, the milk actually helps counteract the bitterness. You will want to use 1 tbsp of loose leaf tea for every 1 cup milk in the recipe. However, flavors such as chamomile or herbal blends will need 1 1/2 tbsp per cup. Simply steep the leaves in milk as you would for water. Allow to slightly over steep and remove leaves. Let milk cool before use inrecipe.(photo of steamy milk)

This is my preferred method of infusion. I find it simple, easy, creates the strongest flavor, and convenient when recipes do not call for water or milk. It does require a little extra time for the recipe but, it is well worth it. You are going to want to use 1-2 tbsp loose leaf tea for every half cup of butter/shortening. The amount of tea leaves will depend on the type of tea strong smelling teas, dark teas, or lavender require less. Green tea, herbal tea, or tea with almost not smell require more.

Infusing your butter/shortening can be done in 4 simple steps:

First place the required amount of butter with an additional tsp of butter/shortening in a shallow sauce pan along with the tea leaves.  Why the extra butter/shortening? Well, when your strain it later some of the butter will stay behind, this will ensure you have enough butter for the recipe.

Allow butter/shortening to melt over medium heat. Once melted lower heat to medium low and steep 5 minutes.

Pour butter/shortening through a fine mesh strainer.

Allow butter/shortening to reform in the refrigerator and your ready to go!

Baking with tea flavors is a great way to create homemade goodies with a bit a personality. It is a great gift for any tea drinker and makes a great addition to brunches. The next time you are in a grocery store, take a look at all the tea flavors and just think of all the goodies they can bake!!!