The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Adding beer...

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RebelBakingCompany's picture
RebelBakingCompany

Adding beer...

I'd like to replace water with beer in several recipies.

A friend of mine brews at home and is offering up several gallons.

My question is, are their certain types that will affect the yeast? Must it be carbonated? I just want the flavor....

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

The natural life cycle of yeast is that it consumes sugars and creates alcohol. This continues until all sugar is consumed, or until alcohol levels cause yeast to go dormant. Alcohol in sufficient quantity restricts yeast activity. So you might not want to replace all liquid with beer, but only a portion. But even then, I rather doubt you'd notice a considerable difference in flavor profile.

You may also find that you can achieve a similar effect by using brewers malt in the bread, rather than beer itself. Malt supplies the sugars for yeast to feed on. Malt looks like whole grain wheat, barley or rye. You can buy specialty malt and have it ground to your specifications, and then include that in your dough.

Most barley malt has a fairly coarse chaff that is useful to brewers, but which would not make a pleasant effect in bread. You could ask your friend to let you have his spent malt, but that would be wet which would change the necessary levels of liquid in your dough, and it would come with the chaff. Rye and wheat malt however has very little chaff (so brewers who use it have to add rice hulls), so you might try using rye or wheat malt in your bread. A darker roast on the malt might make a more noticable flavor impact.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the water with beer all the time.  No problems.  Most home brew folks use barley malt syrup for their brews so no chaff at all.  I've had no problem in bread with beer alcohol content up to and a little more than 7%.

isand66's picture
isand66

I agree with DA...no problems ever with beer, ale, or hard cider.  I have had issues with adding too much wine which seems to stunt the yeast production.

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

costs about four times as much as grains, and doesn't give a very complex flavor profile though. A nice compromise can be had by using some grains in a boiling bag (like you do for your hops) and some syrup...

davidg618's picture
davidg618

If you examine the history of bread baking you'll find there was an era wherein bakers used barm, active yeast-filled foam from the head of fermenting beer, as their leveaning agent. (Some bread baking authors have adopted "barm" as their own, without admitting its origins.)Most bottled homebrewed beer is neither filtered nor pasteurized; it is bottle-conditioned, meaning a small amount of sugar is added to the unfiltered beer just before bottling. Subsequently, the residual yeast remaining in the beer, ferments the small amount of sugar in each bottle, resulting in a minute increase in the alcohol content and lots of carbon dioxide that carbonates the beer--the primary reason for adding the sugar. Once the sugar is exhausted the yeast falls to the bottom of the bottle. Much of it dies, but some remains dormant for long periods of time (months?).

Your homebrewing friend has not only offered you a substitute for water, but also an alternative leavening agent source, unless he/she filters his/her beer with sterilizing filters or pasteurizes the beer.

However, I doubt the small amount of yeast present in a bottle's bottom would be a sufficient amount to inoculate a kilogram, or more, of bread dough; nonetheless, like sourdough, with successive builds you could create enough beer yeast levain to meet your baking needs.

I've not done it with beer yeast, but I have with wine yeast about three years ago. Here's the link:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/17414/pain-de-champagne-no-that039s-not-misspelled

@isand66: If you want to use wine as your formula ingredient in lieu of water you too might consider using Champagne yeast (Lavin EC 1118) as I did. It has a high tolerance for alcohol; vin ordinaire won't slow it down.

David G

 

 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

i started brewing stout to use in my wholemeal breads  the cost of a good bottle of stout was getting rather dear so i now make 23 litres of the stuff at a time, it does give a nice darker colour and definately contributes to the flavour. i have also created a number of sour dough starters from the residue sludge left in the bottom of the fermenter at the end of the bottling. i currently have a starter from a cider brew that i have put down and its every bit as active as my 3 year old culture. at the brew shop you can often buy out of code brew kits  and use the malt extract in your bread doughs to great advantage.

i have found you can use 100% beer/stout or you can do it at 50% water /beer-stout 

i have 2 stout brews that are just about ready for drinking or baking 1 from coopers (aust) and the other from Muntons (UK) and a cider so cheers from me

Yozza

RebelBakingCompany's picture
RebelBakingCompany

Thank you everyone! The 50/50 may save me a good deal of $ in the end....

Does it matter if the beer is still carbonated or not?

isand66's picture
isand66

Shouldn't matter 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

no it doesn't matter, in fact the bubling makes it all the better, but if you can let it soak for a while its almost certainly going to benefit.

if i am doing a 50/50 with wholemeal and white flour then i will soak all the wholemeal with all the liquid

regards Yozza

CJRoman's picture
CJRoman

I'm using 100% Guinness in my last batch and I couldn't taste it at all...neither could anyone else.

I've used a home brew and that didn't come through...AND I just made a batch with spent grain from a home brew and that ALSO didn't come through!

The color is divine...but I can't get that beer taste...any suggestions on how to "pull" that flavor out? Anything that can enhance it??

 

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

1. Pour beer in glass

2. Chew pretzel thoroughly

3. Wash down with a drink of beer

Ta da!  ;-)

Paul

CJRoman's picture
CJRoman

That must be how the pros do it, eh Pual?! ;-)

Seriously frustrated though...the beer is expensive and the effort is long! And I can't get that beer flavor to come through!!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I doubt that any beer will be very noticeable in the baked pretzel.  I suspect that the the dark crust and the salt will be the overwhelming flavor notes unless one were to include something equally overwhelming, like garlic, in the dough.  A decent beer that tastes strongly by itself will disappear into the background of the other pretzel flavors.

About the only thing that I can think of would be to make a beer reduction, so that the flavor is concentrated, or perhaps find a way to incorporate some hops in the dough.

Paul

CJRoman's picture
CJRoman

Great advice! I'm going to try a reduciton this weekend! Thanks!