The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beer & Onion Sourdough

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Beer & Onion Sourdough

So, I made a big pot of caramelized onions the other day, and wanted to try various recipes. I was also inspired by a discussion we had about using beer in sourdough. So that serendipity of events led to a bake of Hamelman's Beer bread with added caramelized onions!

This is a nice sourdough (or rather, a hybrid) that uses a liquid bread flour levain, a stiff rye sour and a bit of dry yeast (so you can make and bake on the same day). The beer is used as part of the main dough water. Hamelman uses a dark ale, but I used my hubby's homemade stout. It's a lovely dough - smooth, stretchy and strong. I added the onions (100 grams to the recipe which makes around 1800 grams of dough) during a last couple of stretch and folds (the dough is made in a mixer, including the first 'stretch & folds' done by running the mixer for a few seconds every 20 minutes).

After about a 2 hour bulk ferment I scaled the dough into three smallish loaves of just under 600 grams each, and put them into bannetons to proof. I needed to go out for a bit, so I popped them into plastic bags and into the fridge. When I got to them about three hours later they were quite well-proofed, probably about at peak. They did hold their shape fairly well on the peels and after slashing.

There wasn't a lot of oven spring, as I don't think there was much 'push' left in the dough, but it still expanded a bit in the oven and held it's shape well.

I had some toasted for lunch today, and we had some with our pea soup for dinner tonight. Lovely bread - good flavour, moist chewy crumb, nice crust. The onions basically melted into the dough, but the aroma and flavour were there. I will definitely make it again!


Danni3ll3's picture

What a great loaf! Onions and beer are a wonderful combo! I wish I could taste it. Well done!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Your Parmesan and Onion bread is next! :)

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

The flavours must be awesome. Looks wonderful.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

The flavours are awesome, for sure. Just had some cheese toast for breakfast, and it's amazing toasted with cheese melted on the top!


joc1954's picture

The crumb looks awesome. 

I have never used beer in the bread but have to try it once. I also plan to bake with red wine like merlot or cabernet suavignon. The only time I used fried onion was in combination with minced pancetta and that was really very tasty combination. 

Thanks for the inspiration and happy baking!


leslieruf's picture

I can just about smell it!  I too have never used beer in my bread or onions for that matter - time I got adventuresome! it would be wonderful with soup, so will put it on the list to try once our autumn/winter kicks in soon!

just a lovely bake



dabrownman's picture

i have made quite a few loaves of bread tHat looks like this one inside and out where the dough was fully proofed so not much spring but no collapse eithe😀 Stilt. Was great bread!  Well done and happy baking LL

isand66's picture

Great looking bake and one of my favorite combos.  I love adding caramelized onions to bread and just about anything :).  Your crumb came out great on this one as well.

Here is one from my archives that you might want to try :

Happy Baking!