I served chai bread for a ladies luncheon last summer. Subtly spiced, it was a lovely addition to the tea breads. It is also perfect for holiday dinners and buffets. And, as my friend Apple Valley Sue pointed out, it makes a very nice gift! Sue was my Secret Sister one year and gifted me with some chai tea bags – my introduction to the beautiful flavors of chai. I promised to get the recipe to Sue before the holidays so chai bread can be gifted to a hostess, a teacher, a neighbor or anyone else! So here it is!!!
Cardamom adds to the distinctive chai flavor. It is a rather expensive spice so do watch through the year for a spice sale or check the ethnic aisle (or ethnic stores, if you are lucky enough to have them nearby.) I use a chai tea bag to make the tea, but you can also use regular Lipton orange Pekoe. Let it steep at least 5 minutes to strengthen the chai flavor. Then make another cup to take five after you have the bread in the oven. The high baking temperature creates a crisp crust with a soft center. If the crust is deeply browned and the center wet and gooey the first time you do the toothpick check, reduce the temperature to 375. Your oven’s temperament outranks the directions always. Don’t be afraid to adjust temperature and time as needed. You can make a powdered sugar glaze for the top of chai bread, however we prefer it plain (fewer carbs). The bread will keep up to four days without refrigeration or up to 10 days with refrigeration. Also freezes well, unsliced, for up to 3 months.
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