The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blueberry Beer 48 Hour Plus Multi-Grain

isand66's picture

Blueberry Beer 48 Hour Plus Multi-Grain

This was supposed to be a 36 hour sourdough but I got stuck in my favorite airport O'Hare for about 4 hours longer than expected and didn't get home until 1:30 AM.  Due to the extra hours in the refrigerator and the blueberry beer I used this one ended up real sour.

I wanted to make a mostly whole grain bread and this one came in at around 72%.  I used freshly ground flour for the levain and for the main dough I added some First Clear for some gluten strength and Durum because it's one of my favorite flours.

I added some maple flavored balsamic vinegar to add some sweetness without using sugar.

I wanted to up the hydration on this one and it came in at almost 80% but due to the long retardation and high percentage of whole wheat flours the dough handled easily.

The final result was a nice open and moist crumb with a complex beer favored whole grain flavor and ideal crust.  This will make a great sandwich bread.Closeup1




 Starter Build 1

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.  You can store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days until ready to use.



Mix the flours and the beer and 66 grams of the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Put the dough in a slightly covered oiled bowl and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours.  I ended up leaving it in the refrigerator for over 24 hours.

The next day add your starter and salt to the dough and mix by hand until it is thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed.  Next add the vinegar and the balance 54 grams of water.  Due to the high water content in the 100% hydration starter this dough is very easy to mix by hand and is very silky and smooth.

Bulk rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours until it grows around 1/3 in volume doing stretch and folds every half hour until it has developed the correct amount of strength.

Put the dough back into the refrigerator for around 20-30 hours.  I ended up letting it go around 24 hours.

The next day take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rise at room temperature for around 2 hours or until the dough has almost doubled from the night before.

Next, shape as desired and place in your baskets if using them.  Make sure you use enough rice flour with flour in your bowl/basket to prevent this moist dough from sticking.


Cover the dough with a moist towel and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Score as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.



Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.    When the loaf is nice and brown and reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. you can remove it from the oven.

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.












Syd-a's picture

Hi isand66

Those are a couple of excellent loaves you have there. The bake looks amazing and the crust looks really crisp and bubbly in the right way. Love the look of the crumb too, I bet it is really delicious. There are a lot of small holes in the crumb and no large holes, is thway the way you wanted it? A characteristic of the recipe?

Love the idea of blueberry beer too. Would probably work to have one of those to wash down the great bread.

Thanks for another great post, inspiration and nice, nice bread

All the best


isand66's picture

Appreciate your kind words.  I think the main reason for the more uniform holes would be the high percentage of whole grain flour in the formula. It is not easy to get larger holes using over 70% whole grain flours even with such a high hydration dough.  I wasn't really expecting anything less in this dough and the end results were similar to a nice sour toothy bread.

Thanks again for your comments.


evonlim's picture

hi Ian, i had more than a couple times of such experience as well being hold back from work and hence extended retarding time. it did turned out well too. yes, definately has more sour and flavor. 

this is a good combination of formula, a successful bake. i see a Y and M scoring!!

and.. what a big collection of flowers you have in your garden, lovely. always a pleasure to see greens and flowers, relaxing.


isand66's picture

Appreciate your comments as always.

My wife thinks the bread is too sour for her taste, but I'm enjoying a nice pastrami sandwich with cheese and a salad and it tastes great to me!

Glad you enjoy the flowers. This is my favorite time of the year for the garden as the cone flowers are in full bloom and the lilies as well.  My lawn on the other hand has been invaded by crab grass again from the heat.

I almost put some walnuts in this one which I think next time will be in order.


gmabaking's picture

and lovely garden scenes too. That tangy taste could hold up to lots of strong toppings I bet. I'm glad that Stan is having a discount, I'm going to order some different kinds of flour. I'm happy with my Wheat Montana for day to day baking but you and dabrownman make such interesting bread with all those different goodies. Blueberry beer might not be obtainable around here but at least I can venture out into different (wheat) fields.

Next week is my two week period of gluten free baking for my precious grandson. Lots of pizza and hot dog buns plus his favorite-brownies and milk free chocolate chip cookies.

Thank you for giving me ideas to enrich the breads I plan to bake!


isand66's picture

Appreciate your kind comments.  I love trying new grains and combination of flours together.  Just by varying one you can get a whole new flavor in the final bread.  I am sure once you start experimenting you will find some you like and some not so much like me but I just can't help myself and try new combinations all the time. 

You can use any style of beer for this formula and it would work just fine.  Since I retarded this one for so long, the beer really comes through in the final flavor, but in a good way.

Good luck with your gluten free baking..I know what a challenge that can be, but that's half the fun of it anyway!

I look forward to hearing about some of your new bakes in the future.


Floydm's picture

Beautiful, Ian, both the breads and your garden photos.

isand66's picture

Appreciate it Floyd.


dabrownman's picture

between your garden and your bread but no worries.  i'm guessing that many of those flowers are edible and when grown really belong in some kind of bread :-)  This  bake is right up my alley.  The vinegar will give the dough a tang too since it is vinegar - if a sweeter one.   i personally like more tang in SD breads and have never made a bread with too much of it.   I go out of my way to get as much tang as possible - isn't sour what SD is all about?  Otherwise I'm baking with yeast water.  Your crumb is very open for this kind of bread,l  Well done Ian! 

Your previous vinegar inclusions have inspired my bake today!  100% whole home ground multi-grain at 100% hydration.  Fed the 3 stage levain the sifted portion of the mix so it will be wet the longest.  Hopefully we will get some rise out of it later today since there wasnlt much in the fridge after 16 hours.

happy baking!



isand66's picture

Appreciate your feedback as always.  You are right, you would really love this one.  The long retard along with the beer, vinegar and combination of flours gave this a distinct sour favor.  My wife didn't care for the sour, but I didn't make this one for her anyway :).  I just finished a nice pastrami sandwhich and the bread was even better than deli rye so I'm happy! 

I bought a bunch of different flavored olive oils and vinegars so I've been adding them to a lot of my bakes.  Some you can really taste others not so much.  I tried to really make this a higher hydration dough based on your last bake and used freshly ground flours for the levain, but didn't have time to do the same for the main dough.  While this one came in at around 79% hydration it could have gone higher.  I will anxiously await the results of your 100% hydration bake to spur me on to go even higher.

Look forward to your results.

I will be leaving on Monday for my vacation, so if I don't respond next week don't think I'm ignoring you :).  I always look forward to your posts to keep me motivated.  When I get back I have to try one of Varda's rye's using the chocolate malt I found in a beer store last month.

Happy Baking DA.