The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is Beer Bread? Made with Beer or uses Beer Barm?

whm1974's picture
whm1974

What is Beer Bread? Made with Beer or uses Beer Barm?

Every time I hear Beer Bread I'm thinking that beer is used instead of Water. Beer Barm sounds like the Foam off a Vat or Barrel used for brewing said Beer is scooped off and added to Flour and Water in order to Leaven the Dough quicker.

Is my thinking Correct? Please set me straight.

 

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Is bread leavened using the foam skimmed off the beer vat. Beer bread might refer to barm bread or bread made with beer forming part or all of the liquid but it's risen with commercial yeast. 

A barmy person is someone who is crazy or excitable which comes from barm because it is foamy or frothing. 

whm1974's picture
whm1974

To be clearer, I do consider Beer Bread to be very different then Bread where Barm is used instead of Yeast.

When was the first person(s) to make Bread with Beer in place of water? Or use the Foam from Brewing the Beer instead of waiting two or three days?

One Site I read made the claim that the Foam wasn't used to leaven the dough until the Middle Ages. However that isn't true because the Ancient Egyptians did it this.

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Is also an ancient way of making bread. I've read somewhere that it was soon discovered to be quicker and this is why in ancient Egypt bakeries and breweries were built near each other. Barm bread was very popular in the middle ages through to mid 19th century in the British Isles. 

whm1974's picture
whm1974

Assuming said Beer was Brewing in the ancient manner, wouldn't the Foam contain the same Wild Yeast and Bacteria as Sourdough left exposed to Air?

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

When commercial yeast was able to be made all fermentation was wild yeast even beer. When it came to brewing and bakery one just fed the other. They'd have vats of beer fermenting and they'd just use the active wild yeasts in the foam to leaven their dough. Two ends of the same process. Ongoing and one being used to feed the other. 

Whether a sourdough starter and a wild fermenting beer has exactly the same critters in them I do not know. I'm sure they share many similarities but whether the nature of a sourdough starter can only encourage certain types of yeasts and bacteria and natural fermenting beer while sharing some of the types of yeasts but isn't a good medium for all the same little critters you'd have to ask an expert. 

A sourdough starter while it has many different types of yeasts and bacteria it's my understanding it can only support those types at home in that particular symbiotic culture. It's not endless! And I'm sure the same for naturally fermented beer and while I think they'd overlap it might not be identical. 

And here is where my laymen's understanding ends. You've got it all in these few posts. Hopefully someone with deeper knowledge of both will see this and chime in. I'm curious too! 

P.s. I've had a thought! We now know that the yeast and bacteria in a sourdough starter comes from the flour itself. It's not boiled or cooked. Just mixed with water and left to ferment. With beer it's processed by boiling to get the flavour out of the grains then left to ferment. Originally being exposed to air but later one probably inoculated another. While wild beer fermentation had some Bacteria it was probably a better medium for yeasts. And a sourdough starter has more bacteria. Just a thought mind you. 

whm1974's picture
whm1974

Well I did looked this up around month ago or so and found a few Brewing Sites with Articles on "Sourdough" Beer. I recall that not everyone will enjoy the taste. They did mention using the Starter for the Beer and mentioned if you can't make at least a half way decent loaf of Sourdough or enjoy it, then don't bother with this type of Beer.

Note: I really don't enjoy Beer all that much especially the really cheap stuff. Maybe it is the Hops causing my dislike?

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

It's the hops that you associate with a beer taste. It hasn't always been hops that's been used to add additional flavour to beer. And wild beer is open to some tastes that you can't control. 

If you wish to try it I think you can buy lambic (I think that's the term) beers. And like sourdough for bread heads it's beer brewed by aficionados who enjoy wild beer. 

Treat yourself and see what you think. 

whm1974's picture
whm1974

They are called gruits as in gruit beer. I never had this beer or know where to get any.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruit

 

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)
whm1974's picture
whm1974

Modern Lambic Beers often are made with Hops.

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

Some research into finding an unhopped beer that is wild fermented is needed. Other then that how about trying your hand at making it yourself? 

Also there are many different kind of hops. Some more bitter and others mild. Perhaps do some research into which beers are made with which hops and find a less bitter beer.

whm1974's picture
whm1974

Well I live in a Nonprofit provided HUD Funded Housing that handles my Mental Health treatment. Per the Rules Street Drugs and Alcohol are not allowed.

I would get in Trouble and could lose my housing if caught.