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Barm Bread + pure sourdough rye a little improved

txfarmer's picture

Barm Bread + pure sourdough rye a little improved

This bread is from Dan Lepard's book "A handmade loaf", also well documented here and here. The basic idea is to make a starter with heated beer + flour + sourdough starter to mimic the traditional beer barm starter. Since beer is first heated, whatever yeast is there in the bottle aged ale are all killed, so the rising power is completely from the natural starter, not from the beer. Dan still recommends to use bottle aged ale beer, I think for 2 reasons: 1. authentic flavor; 2. the other micro organism and "stuff" in bottle aged ale would more likely coexist with the natural starter better, while lager or even a different ale with additives, might interfere with the health of natural starter.

I used Chimay Ale, the starter became bubbly and matured after 24 hours, longer than what the book says (overnight), shorter than some other people's experience.

The hydration was around 70%, nice open crumb.

I changed procedure so the proofing was done overnight in the fridge (shape, fridge, take out the next morning, keep proofing for another 90min at room temp, bake), however it was not sour at all. Mild and slightly sweet taste. Can't really taste the bitterness from beer hops, but overall flavor is very good. Crumb is moist and chewy, crust is crispy.

The barm starter can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, I will do some more experiments with what's left.


Tried to make pure rye sourdough again, this time I think my proofing and baking timing were better. Proofed less, and baked with higher temp for longer (480F for 10min, 450F for 10min, 430F for 10min, 410F for 10min).See my last attempt here.

Crumb is more even, rise was better too.

They didn't become moldy after storing for 4 days, but also stayed moist, so I guess the baking time was good.

My husband, who started out liking softer Asian breads, later started liking sourdough and baguette, now is getting a taste for this pure sourdough rye. Yes! My "training plan" is working! :P


*This post is being submitted to YeastSpotting.


ehanner's picture



txfarmer's picture

My husband set up a "photo studio station" for me this past week, now I have space and the set up is more convenient. The next step is to get the idea in his head that a SLR camera would make a great Chirstmas gift this year. :P

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The barm loaves are so pleasant to just look at.  Such a rich crust! 

The last shot of the rye is my favorite.  Very good looking bread!


txfarmer's picture

I am still working on the sourdough rye both for better/more even crumb and better taste. I plan to soak a port of the flour in hot water for my next one. Oh, rye dough sure rise fast, so easy to let it get away from me, gotta watch it closely.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

crumbling up some of the altus yet?  A few slices of this loaf reserved to add to the next loaf's starter to ferment.  That sometimes does wonders to improve taste.   


txfarmer's picture

Great idea, I do have some old slices of pure rye frozen. Was saving them to make a black bread, but I might use some for my next rye. Thanks mini, you are so resourceful!

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Are you still using Bob's Dark Rye?

txfarmer's picture

So I had to mix in some white rye from King Arthur. Now I REALLY am out of Bob's dark rye and I just went to 3 different grocery stores over lunch, no luck. Most stores don't even have any rye flour, and Safeway has a 2lb box of a different brand for almost 5 bucks! What's going on? Is there a rye shortage I don't know of? I might have to drop by Whole Foods after work, even if I don't make any more rye breads, my rye starter is asking for more food!

Franko's picture

All those loaves look terrific! The 100% rye...well I'd say you nailed it this time . Great stuff.

All the best,


txfarmer's picture

Your seggestion last time about the baking time/temp was extremely on the target, it fixed the moldy problem, as well as most of the "heavy bottom" problem. Thanks!

SallyBR's picture

Gorgeous barm bread you produced!   Thanks for including my link, it caused a huge shot of adrenaline through my vascular system... :-)

It is indeed one of my favorite loaves ever, and I'll be paying attention to  your experiments - you know, when I grow up, I want to bake like you!



txfarmer's picture

I am not a beer drinker, so I had no idea which beer to use -- until I saw your post. Thanks for the Chimay recommendation!

The barm starter was put in the fridge on Monday night, I used some to make another starter dough with it, it's rising like a bat out of cage right now - that's 4 days after it's prime time. This barm starter's lively!

arlo's picture

The rye loaf looks superb! Delicious!

SylviaH's picture

the loaves look so delicious!

Mebake's picture

Txfarmer, i gotta say, you have tamed Rye, and perfected sourdough. THe only drawback i see in your breads, is that they have too much of an open crumb to hold spreads, am i right?

Beautiful bakes, even dan Lepard Chimed in!


hanseata's picture

That would be my only critical point, too. The holes are a bit too big for this kind of bread.


wally's picture

You continue to outdo youself with your bakes!  If I can pry the beer away from my lips I may have to try that recipe.  The crumb shots are wonderful!


LeeYong's picture

Wondeful bake!!!!

Farine's picture

Both of these breads look magnificent. I love the crumbs!