Hibiscus w/ Lemon Zest Bread

This idea started when I was thinking about making purple bread. I use hibiscus a lot when I brew beer and it gives a great bright color as well as some tartness. Without having any idea how much hibiscus to use, I took a guess and ended up using much less than I should have. The bread however smells and tastes phenomenal thanks in part to the lemon zest.

Hibiscus and Lemon Zest bread

Schedule: I based this loaf off of my bakers yeast schedule.



  • 500g bread flour
  • 390g hibiscus tea (see below)
  • 10g dried hibiscus flowers (for tea)
  • 11g sea salt
  • 3g fresh lemon zest (from 1 standard lemon)
  • 2g bakers yeast
Making my hibiscus tea


The first thing I did was make my hibiscus tea. To do this, I added 10g of hibiscus flowers to 420g of hot water. I let the tea steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the water cooled to 93’F I strained it and weighed out 390g and then performed an autolyse for 30 minutes with the flour.

After mixing the salt, yeast and lemon zest into the dough, I performed 4 stretch and folds within the first 90 minutes, separated by 20 minutes. Bulk fermentation in total was 5 hours.

I wanted to start playing with a bench rest so after the bulk fermentation I poured the dough onto a floured work surface and gave it a really quick shaping and then let it rest for 15 minutes prior to putting it in the banneton. I’ll need to do a side-by-side next time to test a loaf that got a bench rest vs one that didn’t.

I proofed for a little over an hour in the banneton before placing it in the dutch oven.

I baked the loaf in a preheated dutch oven at 450’F for 38 minutes covered, then removed the lid of the dutch oven and baked for an additional 15 minutes.


Holy cow does this bread smell amazing. The lemon zest gives it such a fresh aroma, it’s ridiculous. The smell makes me think of a sweet lemon scone, not a standard loaf of bread.

Like I mentioned in the intro, this bread definitely didn’t turn pink or purple, but more of a grey. I’m going to double or triple the amount of hibiscus used next time to try and really up the color.

The 3g of lemon zest used in this loaf was the perfect amount. I was debating adding more initially but I’m glad I stuck with this amount.

I made a pressed sandwich with this for lunch today and the flavors weren’t overpowering but instead meshed well with the eggplant/red pepper/garlic spread, whole seed mustard, spinach, caramelized onions, cheese, turkey and ham. (sorry, no pick of the sandwich because I devoured it too quickly)

Lemon zest, salt and yeast ready to be mixed into the dough.

My Baking Notes

  • Ambient Temperature: 70’F
  • Started autolyse @ 8:33am
  • Water temp: 93’F
  • Dough was 88’F at autolyse
  • Mixed @ 9:05am
  • Dough was 78’F after mixing
  • 4 stretch and folds over first 90 minutes
  • Preshape & bench rest @ 2:05pm
  • Started proof @ 2:20pm
  • Into oven @ 3:33pm
Hibiscus tea w/ lemon zest bread crumb
Top view of hibiscus w/ lemon zest bread

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Carmen says:

    This looks absolutely amazing!


  2. Dan Ayo says:

    Very innovative and out of the ordinary! Your post was so interesting. I signed up to follow your progress.


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