Ginger and Earl Grey Sourdough with Dates #BreadBakers

Ginger is one of my favorite sweet and savory spices.  I love the versatility and flavor in both applications.  Plus I love how gut friendly it is.  I also love bergamot, and any Earl Grey blend is beloved by both my daughter and myself.  Add in little creamy pops of medjool date sweetness along with a light tang of sourdough, and you end up with a loaf that is a total treat.  It is wonderful fresh and with butter, and then later toasted with butter or butter and marmalade although with the dates, butter is quite sufficient.  If you aren't keen on dates, like my eldest, they are easily omitted.  This is still wonderful with just the tea and ginger.  I will enjoy making this again and again.

Thank you to our BreadBakers host at Zesty South Indian Kitchen for choosing bread with spices for this month's theme!

Ginger and Earl Grey Sourdough with Dates
Makes 1 Medium Loaf

100 g flour
100 g water
22 g liquid sourdough starter

Final Dough:
200 g all-purpose flour
145 g whole wheat flour of choice (I used fresh ground Edison white wheat)
200-250 g strong brewed Earl Grey tea at room temperature + 12-25g (to mix with the salt) *** (I used 225g and then 15g for my flours for 240g total liquid)
9 g fine sea salt
42g honey or golden syrup (2 tbsp)
¼ cup chopped crystallized/candied ginger
12 medjool dates, pitted and quartered (if using a firmer date, you may wish to soak in the hot tea to soften them up slightly.  Medjool dates should be soft enough without soaking.)

*** Adjust the hydration according to the type/blend of flour used. The addition of whole wheat flour makes the dough thirsty and the coarser the blend, the more water it soaks up.

Day 1:  In the evening – Mix the Levain

Mix water and starter together in a large bowl. Add in flours and mix until fully hydrated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature overnight or for 8-10 hours.

Day 2:  Mix the Final Dough/Shape Loaves:

Add the water to the levain and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or whisk to disperse.  Whisk the flours together and add to the water/levain mixture.  (Reserve the salt until after the autolyse.)  Mix thoroughly using a Danish dough whisk or wooden spoon to begin developing the gluten.

Cover and let rest (autolyse) for 20-30 minutes.  Sprinkle the salt over the top and dissolve it with the 25-50 grams of water.  Use your fingers to pinch the dough to incorporate the salt evenly throughout.  Add the ginger and dates. Fold in using your hands.

Cover and let the dough bulk ferment for 120-160 minutes.  Stretch every 40 minutes or so for two hours or as needed to develop sufficient dough strength and evenly disperse add-ins.

Divide the dough, pre-shape, and then it rest (covered) for 20 minutes before final shaping to allow the gluten to relax.  Heavily dust a lined or un-lined banneton with rice flour.  (What has worked particularly well for flouring proofing baskets is to spray lightly with a mist of water before flouring with the rice flour.  The dough usually pops right out with no sticking that way.)

Shape the dough into an oval or round shape and place seam-side up in the baskets.  If you don’t have a proofing basket, place the loaf seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet to proof. Cover and proof for about 30 minutes at room temperature.  Place in the refrigerator to cold ferment overnight, 8-10 hours.

Day 3: Bake the Loaves

Place a baking stone or steel on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 450ºF for at least 45 minutes.  If you plan to use steam, place a steam pan on the top shelf.  Alternately, instead of baking the loaves on a baking stone with a steam pan, you could bake them in a preheated bread cloche, Dutch oven or Dutch oven combo baker.  I used the Dutch oven method.

When the oven and Dutch oven is sufficiently preheated, remove the loaf from the refrigerator.  Carefully invert (seam side down) onto parchment paper or a heavily dusted peel.  Score the loaf as desired.  Slide onto or carefully lift into the preheated baking stone or Dutch oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.  For the Dutch oven bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 425ºF (220ºC). Take the lid off the hot pot and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove the loaves to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Be sure to check out the rest of the spice filled bakes:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.


  1. I am yet to try a tea infusion in the sourdough bread recipe. I am going to give this one a try. Thanks for joining with in this month Breadbakers.

  2. This sounds wonderful! The combination of ginger and dates is fabulous. I'm imagining a piece of this toasted and dripping in butter.

  3. What a great idea! It had never occurred to me to use tea as the liquid. With dates and ginger too. Brilliant!

  4. What a beautiful and flavorful sourdough bread!


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