The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Large boule with beer

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Large boule with beer

It's been a while since I mixed up my standard white bread flour formula. I decided to march to a different tune a few days ago and try something a bit different.

I started collecting things from the pantry and this is what I arrived at:

The formula:

  • 850g bread flour
  • 150g rye flour
  • 25g wheat germ
  • 25g sesame seeds
  • 460g water
  • 250g beer
  • 20g salt
  • 6g yeast

I decided not to count the wheat germ as 'flour' when calculating the amount of water to add. Not sure what the generally accepted approach is.

The mix (KitchenAid)

  • 6min: speed 2
  • 45 autolyse
  • 3min: speed 2

Fermentation

I used a primary fermentation of 3 hours at 72 degrees and overnight in the fridge (mostly to fit my schedule). The dough easily doubled, I think the sugar in the beer kept the yeast happy.

Shape, Proof & Score

The next day I (for no good reason) decided to shape all this dough as a single large boule. It proofed for about 3 hours at 70 degrees. I needed such a long proof because the dough was still chilled from the time in the fridge. I proofed on a couche and transferring wasn't an easy task. There was no way to flip this over like I do my baguettes. I eventually just did my best to scoop it up with my hands and transfer to some parchment. Doing this really made me nervous, but thankfully it more or less held it's shape. Next time I'll probably proof right on some parchment paper. Looking back I think the proof time was a bit too long (I was out of the house while it proofed and made it back later than I expected).

Scoring was a piece of cake because it had developed a bit of a skin, having proofed for so long. I used to think any skin was to be avoided, but just a little makes scoring so much easier. And I don't think it's the detriment of the final product.

Bake

This was unlike any bake I've done before! Into the oven at 500 degrees with 1 cup of water poured into a pan for steam (oh no! did I just use a volume measurement?!) 30 minutes into the bake the crust had developed a nice brown color. I decided to check the internal temperature, thinking it might need another 10min or so. Imagine my shock when the thermometer read 96 degrees!! I couldn't believe it. I wasn't even halfway to my usual 'done' temp of 208 degrees.

So I dropped the temperature to 425, realizing this was going to be a loooooong bake. I lost track of time, but it felt like an eternity. I was nervous I'd eventually burn the crust, but that wasn't an issue. Eventually the temperature crept up while the crust became darker and darker.

When I arrived to 208, I turned off the oven and left the boule in the oven with the door ajar, sitting on a cooling rack. This way it would cooled without the internal moisture 'steaming' the crust (something I've had happen more than once) Can't loose that crunch!

Taste

Delicious! I can't stop eating it ;) Because of the long bake time, I ended up with a super thick crust that isn't overly chewy. And while not burned, the dark crust has a flavor I really enjoy. The crumb isn't very open at all, which is fine with me and expected given the rye and wheat germ. I'm not really sure the sesame seeds provided at flavor. I'm making this loaf again without the seeds or the beer.

What about the beer? I used a darker Octoberfest beer I had laying around. I'm really not sure what if anything it contributed to the flavor of the loaf. It definitley doesn't smell like beer, nor can I pick out the taste of the beer. It will be interesting to compare this loaf with another made without the beer (currently in progress).



Comments

isand66's picture
isand66

Your bread sounds and looks great.

I've made a few sourdough beer breads myself and I'm always looking for a new one to try.

I will certainly give yours a try and add it to my list of breads to make.

Ian

Nate Delage's picture
Nate Delage

Thanks for the comments Ian. Your mention of sourdough made me realize I forget a few ingredients! Namely salt and commercial dry yeast. So although the boule likes like it might be a sourdough loaf, it isn't. Though I'm sure you could make it as a sourdough. I have yet to get my own starter going, something for another day.

It's funny how simple these formulas are. Just keep the salt, yeast and hydration in check and you can play with the dry (and wet) ingredients however you like!

wassisname's picture
wassisname

That's a great looking loaf of beer bread!  After you've tried it with no beer give it a try with all beer (if you're willing to invest that much beer into the bread) and you should notice more of a difference, especially if you stick with the Oktoberfest.  There's a new rye ale in stores here that I'd like to try in a loaf of bread, but it always seems to disappear before baking day... that's the trouble with beer bread :)

Marcus