The Fresh Loaf

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"Modern Baking" and Karin's Pain à la Bière (Alsatian Beer Bread)

letrec's picture

"Modern Baking" and Karin's Pain à la Bière (Alsatian Beer Bread)


Hi, this is my first post, though I have been lurking for a few months now.  After learning the basic baguette and experimenting with wild (rye) sourdoughs, I've decided to attempt an artisan rustic bread from Karin's basket. 

My maternal grandmother was proud of her Alsace-Lorraine heritage, and I baked these loaves in her memory. 

I've copy/edited the recipe I adapted from Karin for convenience. 

The main adjustments that I've made were replacing the water in final dough with beer, and adjusting cooking times slightly as I used my convection oven.  As I lack a stand mixer, I have produced times for hand kneading. 



 95 g all-purpose flour
 95 g bread flour
   3 g salt
    1 g instant yeast (1/4 tsp.)
119 g water
 28 g potato flakes  (I didn't have them, so substituted ground potato chips... yea, I know... it worked!)
 98 g water, (to soak potato flakes)
all pate fermentee
250 g bread flour
125 g rye flour (whole or medium) I used local 'Stone Ground' 
    9 g salt
    4 g instant yeast
200 g  flavorful beer, I used Torpedo IPA from Sierra Nevada 
BEER CRUNCH (enough for 6 breads)
50 g rye flour
90 g beer
2 g salt
1 g instant yeast
rye flour , for dusting

DAY 1:

1. Prepare pâte fermentée. Let ferment at least 3 hours at room temperature, stretch and fold, then refrigerate.

 DAY 2 :

2. Remove pâte fermentée from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

In a small bowl, rehydrate potato chips by combining with water.


 3. Combine all dry dough ingredients with pâte fermentée. Add cautiously 200 g beer (possibly less depending on your local humidity). Mix with spatula  for 3-5 minutes, add rehydrated potato mass and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Continue kneading lightly for another for 4-5 minutes.

 4. Let rise for 1 hour. Divide dough into 3 pieces (350 g), pre-shape into rounds, let rest for 10-15 minutes.  Combine ingredients for beer crunch in small bowl while dough rests.

 5. Fold 3 sides of rounds into center to make triangles. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Spread beer crunch over loaves, then dust with rye flour.  I 

 6. Preheat oven to 460 F. Let breads proof for 1 hour at 79 F. (If rye flour is absorbed, dust again before baking).

(if using cast iron, leave cast iron in oven while preheatig)

 7. Bake for 20 minutes, (no steam,) rotate, and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

 Remove top from cast iron at same time that you would rotate the baking sheet.

The bread smells excellent and sumptuous while baking... filling my house.

 It's cooling now, I'll give and update and crumb once it's to room temperature.

cranbo's picture

Welcome and nice share!

Any pics of the finished product? Sounds delicious.

letrec's picture

I've updated to include images, let me know if you are having issues viewing them. 

Though  I've yet to slice the loaves, it's worth noting that the loaf cooked in the cast iron dutch oven (top loaf) has considerably more oven spring than the other two loaves baked on the baking sheet. 

cranbo's picture

Thanks I see them. 

They look great, the crunch topping is such a nice touch.