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Pain à la Bière - Alsatian Beer Bread

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hanseata's picture
hanseata

Pain à la Bière - Alsatian Beer Bread

Last spring Breadsong posted about Alsatian Beer Bread, a formula developed by Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, published in "Modern Baking", a professional bakers' website http://modern-baking.com/bread_pastry/mb_imp_16940/. I liked the looks of her buns, and was intrigued by the beer crunch crust  (if it's crunchy AND made with beer, it must be good!) so I copied the recipe from "Modern Baking" to my ever growing to-do list.

Alsatia is famous for its  happy marriage between French and German cuisine, as shown in Zwiebelkuchen - Onion Tarte (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19698/time-onion-tarte-zeit-fuer-zwiebelkuchen), and Elsässer Apfeltorte - Alsatian Apple Torte. 

It's also home of one of my favorite authors, Tomi Ungerer, known for his quirky, illustrated books for children and adults, whose heroes are no mild mannered goodie-two-shoes, but usually just the opposite - like the stubborn cat boy in: "No Kiss for Mother". And even in his wonderful illustrations for a book of German folk songs ("Das grosse Liederbuch") he always manages to smuggle one little nasty detail in his otherwise idyllic scenes and landscapes.

Like me, Tomi Ungerer loves cats and good food, and is no tee-totaller. And as an Alsatian, he must love this bread, too.

PAIN À LA BIÈRE - ALSATIAN BEER BREAD (3 loaves)

PATE FERMENTEE
 95 g all-purpose flour
 95 g bread flour
   3 g salt
    1 g instant yeast (1/4 tsp.)
119 g water
 
FINAL DOUGH
 28 g potato flakes
 98 g water, (to soak potato flakes)
all pate fermentee
250 g bread flour
125 g rye flour (whole or medium)
    9 g salt
    4 g instant yeast
220 g water
 
BEER CRUNCH (enough for 6 breads)
50 g rye flour
90 g beer
2 g salt
1 g instant yeast
rye flour , for dustin

DAY 1:

1. Prepare pâte fermentée. Let ferment at least 3 hours at room temperature, stretch and fold, then refrigerate.

 DAY 2 :

2. Remove pâte fermentée from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

In a small bowl, mix potato flakes with water.

 3. Combine all dry dough ingredients with pâte fermentée. Add cautiously 220 g water (not all might be needed). Mix on low speed for 3 minutes, add potato flakes and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and continue kneading another for 2-3 minutes.

 4. Let rise for 1 hour. Divide dough into 3 pieces (350 g), pre-shape into rounds, let rest for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, combine ingredients for beer crunch in small bowl.

 5. Fold 3 sides of rounds into center to make triangles. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Spread beer crunch over loaves, then dust with rye flour.

 6. Preheat oven to 470 F/245 C. Let breads proof for 1 hour at 81 F/27 C. (If rye flour is absorbed, dust again before baking).

 7. Bake for 20 minutes, (no steam,) rotate, and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

 

Comments: The original recipe lists only an unspecified pre-ferment. I used a pâte fermentée, but I'm sure a levain would work as well.

It also has 240 g water for the final dough, but cautions that might be too much. It was! The dough looked at first drier than it really was, and I had to adjust with more flour to keep it from being wet like Pain à l'Ancienne dough, and totally unshapable. Therefore I suggest using 220 g water.

The original formula's baking temperature (470 F) and time (40 minutes) reflects conditions in a commercial oven, after 20 minutes baking time the breads were already getting rather dark, and after 25 minutes the internal temperature had already reached 208 F, so I took them out. Thinking of David Snyder's San Joaquin Sourdough, I would next time bake the breads at 460 F, for about 27 - 29 minutes, plus leaving them longer in the switched-off oven to prevent the crust from softening.

All in all, a really nice bread, with a hearty note from the rye, a great crust, and an attractive look. I will add it to my repertoire.

Updated 2/11/12 to include some information Kim gave me (who had made this bread at a baking class with Chef Pierre Zimmermann).

Comments

arlo's picture
arlo

Excellent! I think I may try this with the Saison I just brewed last weekend. Also will probably substitute the water in the final dough with some more Saison. Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to trying it!

Syd's picture
Syd

That is beautiful bread! That crumb is just perfect. This is definitely a must try. Thanks for posting.
Syd

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

What a perfect solution to get me off the couch and into the beer store.

I love beer breads.

These loaves require making. We'll task Fritz Wunderlich with the music, maybe Dichterliebe's Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen

teketeke's picture
teketeke

Hi Karin,

That is fantastic loaves! I love the crumb. It sounds very nice combination ingredients. I put this in my baking list!
Thank you for sharing, Karin!
Akiko

hanseata's picture
hanseata

How nice to brew your own beer, Arlo!

And I was thinking the same - a little extra beer in the dough wouldn't hurt. I used Paulaner Oktoberfest, the original recipe has, of course, Alsatian beer. But I think almost any beer would be good - except Bud Light or some such abomination, of course.

Karin

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Thanks, Syd. The dough is quite hydrated. Mindful of the recipe's warning it might need less water in the final dough, I added at first only 200 g water. That seemed awfully dry, so I kept pouring in more, until I had reached 240 g (as in the original recipe) - and all of a sudden the dough was wetter than the one for Pain à l'Ancienne. So I adjusted with a little more flour, but kept the dough still a bit sticky, so that I could just handle and shape it, with well floured hands.

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Thomas, and I agree - one should never be out of beer. I like the idea of baking with beer, too, and Katie's Stout and Flaxseed Bread is another great example for a beer bread (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24936/katie039s-stout-amp-flaxseed-bread).

Happy beer baking,

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and let me know how you like it.

Karin

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I reduced four bottles of Belgian ale and will use it instead of the water. Almost like using a strong beer wort for breads like they do in Scandinavia. I then scaled the rye flour in the hot beer. Replacing the pate fermentee with a 6-hour levain. I bought raw potatoes instead of flakes. I'm boiling them now to make mashed taters. I'm broiling the potato skins and will use them too. 

This is fun, but won't be authentic.

 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

That sounds amazing. Please post your results!

Karin

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Two triangles and one bâtard. The "beer schmear" was really neat. At first I thought it strange, but the design that appears once the loaves proof and bake is really unique. I love making rustic-looking breads. The bâtard looks like it was baked in a wood-fired oven: very dark with a earthquake-like cracked crust (due to the schmear). The crumb is darker that your loaves (due to the beer reduction), but has the same tight crumb-structure with bits of potato skin throughout.

The triangle shape was neat. I'd never made triangles before, but they were almost too easy and held their shape really well.

I can taste the beer reduction, potato skins, rye, and mashed potato, but it's the bitterness of the beer that really comes through. This is the first beer bread I make that truly tastes like beer.

Only two problems: (1) very moist loaves (I could have baked them longer; but, like yours, they were browning too fast) and (2) too little salt. I think my scale is off on small quantities like the 9g and 3g above. I'll have to invest in a microscale.

It was a very fun bread overall. Thank you for posting. I learned triangles and a neat schmear. Will make it again and again and, next time, I'll capture the quantities so others can reproduce what I did. I followed your quantities exactly until the end (replacing the water with reduced beer), when the hydration of the mashed potatoes really threw things off (I had to add a lot of bread flour to compensate for the additional hydration).

Fun!

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I just ate some with extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt.

If I'd have some olives, I'd make an olive tapenade and eat this bread until I burst. 

Really enjoying this.

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Karin,
The bread looks wonderful and thanks for the reminder of this formula, and of Katie's.
:^) from breadsong

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Karin,

Beer, Rye and Potato; they all bring different things to the party!

Happy New Year to you!

Very Best Wishes

Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

to all of you, too! And, of course, I appreciate your friendly comments!

Happy baking,

Karin

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Karin,
My friend Kim just sent me this link, an article called 'An Alsatian Christmas', about Chef Pfeiffer and different types of Alsatian specialties baked at Christmastime:
http://www.zesterdaily.com/baking/756-an-alsatian-christmas

Sending this link to you in case it is of interest,
:^) from breadsong

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Breadsong, thanks for the link to that article. We had always Zimtsterne around Christmas, but I never made them myself - they are usually available in good quality in stores.

This year, having been on a trip to Mexico almost until Christmas, I got only to baking Lebkuchen and Mohnstollen. The cookies were all eaten right away, but the poppy seed stollen gets better and better, we have it every day for dessert.

Karin

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I updated the recipe to include some information I got from Kim about processing the dough, and that there was no steam used for baking.

Karin

fmlyhntr's picture
fmlyhntr

I make this bread using a hard apple cider--it's really good. This time around I subbed pumpernickel for 50% of the rye (by weight) in the bread. I'd like to add rye chops next time. Would those be considered extra or included in the rye flour?

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I can imagine that hard apple cider variation will be nice. The rye chops wouldn't be considered extra, you will have to check a bit on the water, they will soak up more liquid. I would try soaking them in part the water for several hours, before adding them.

And, please, report back on the result.

Happy baking,

Karin