We know bread and beer share similarities: yeast, grains, fermentation. I have been experimenting with combos of flour and beer to find what I consider the best. 

  • Replace all the water with beer?
  • Go 50/50?
  • Salt or no salt?
  • Which beer to use: light pilsener, stout, IPA?
  • Flour? Yes, I will need some.
  • Long or short ferment?

The possibilities are almost endless so I went for my favourite drinking beer and a blend of flours.

Ingredients:

  • 200g strong wholemeal flour
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 330 ml bottle of beer (Punk IPA in this case)
  • 5g (one teaspoon) fine salt
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 5g fast action yeast (FAY) for starter
  • 5g fast action yeast for main dough

Now, when not making bread mixes I prepare a ferment for my own loaves with some of the recipe flour and water. You know the thing: a thick-ish batter that the first yeast addition starts to work on. In this case I used the 200g of wholemeal flour, 100g of the white flour and 5g of FAY plus all the beer. Stir it up, incorporating every last speck of flour.

Plastic mixing bowl turns invisible

When everything has got comfy with itself, cover the bowl with film (or a 20p ‘bag for life’ as I usually do) and place it somewhere warm for about 12 hours. You will be smelling a truly hunger inducing aroma very soon. 

Uncover the starter mixture and add the remaining ingredients. Do not forget the oil, the salt and second dose of FAY. Mix it all together to form a dough: it will seem as though the starter cannot take the extra flour but it will. Keep working. The final mixture will be smooth and elastic, just as it should be.

From this point on it’s a case of kneading and stretching, particularly concerning the dough.

I let the dough rise once, knock it back then shape it by hand: bloomer is favourite but no reason why a loaf tin shouldn’t be used. When the second proving gives you a voluptuous and sexy dough, dust the top with some polenta and a little more white flour.

Blooming marvelous

Get that oven going making sure it reaches 200°c. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (check the colour after 20 minutes to be certain). If the kitchen, living room and downstairs toilet don’t all have the hoppy, bready, malty olfactory orgy of baking bread, then get a sliced white from Aldi.

Beer. Bread. Beer bread.

Cut a slice, grab some cheddar and crack open a beer. I like this loaf, I really do.

In conclusion:

  • Light moist loaf
  • Well flavoured
  • Chewy texture
  • Great with mature cheese and a glass of the same beer used for the dough
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