The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Red Fife Stout Sourdough

Dave's picture

Red Fife Stout Sourdough

Hi everyone,

First I would like to thank dabrowman for inspiring me to bake a SD loaf using beer! So thanks dabrowman!! Dude you totally rocked out these calculations, making the whole process much easier to understand.

A few things came to mind when I was browsing his "50% Whole Grain, 50% Sprouted Porter" recipe.

First how precise his recipe was. Because I'm new to this it took me a little to figure out the measurements and percentages, but when I did a whole new world opened up for me to get started on using pre-ferments.

Second was that I love a good dark beer, and what better way to have one then baked with bread.


















Thought that I under proofed it by a margin. About 15 minutes. Nice bloom but as you will see it was a little exaggerated on top to the one side.


















This is the exaggerated bloom I was talking about. Also I wasn't sure if I had the best seal on the bottom when I place it in the banneton.



































The crumb came out super moist, tender, and was absolutely delicious!! You could totally smell and taste the stout. Especially when it came right out of the oven. OMG!! Some larger holes than I might have wanted but pretty happy over all.



































This was my first attempt at using a preferment, like a levain build. But after this I'm definitely hooked even more on sourdough and the endless possibilities.

My starter is a 50% Stone Ground Whole Grain Rye Flour, 50% bread flour set at 100% hydration.


Levain Build                  Build 1              Build 2              Total            %

Rye Starter                    30g                     0g                    30g             4

Red Fife                         30g                    60g                  90g             12

Water                             30g                    60g                  90g             12

                                      90g                    120g                210g           28%


Levain Totals

Flour                                         105g            14%

Water                                        105g            14%

Levain Hydration                      100%

Levain % of total flour               14%


Dough Flour

Red Fife                                     45g              6%

Bread Flour                               600g            80%

Total dough flour                       645g            86%


Salt                                             15g              2%

Black Creek Stout                     420g            56%


Dough Hydration                                           65%

Total flour w/starter                                      750g

Stout & water w/flour                                   525g


Hydration w/starter                                      70%

Total weight                                                1290g

% of Red Fife                                               20%

% of bread flour                                           80%


Build 1- 24 hours retard in fridge. First hour was room temp.

Build 2- 24 hours retard in fridge. Take out of fridge 2 hours before, to warm up. First hour after mix was room temp.

Mix dough flour and stout. Autolyse for 2 hours.

Mix levain, salt and dough together. Autolyse for 20 minutes.

Slap and fold for 3 minutes, and shape. Then perform 3 stretch and folds/shape with 20 minutes bench rests, covering with plastic wrap.

Place in glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap. 1st hour at room temp. Retard in fridge for 24 hrs. Take out of fridge 2 hours before, to warm up.

Perform 1 stretch and fold and shape. Cover with plastic wrap and bench rest for 20 minutes.

Perform 3 tension pulls and shape, with 10 minute bench rests covering with plastic wrap.

Place in banneton and proof for 1.5 hrs, or until dough is ready. I usually don't go with times anymore. Instead I go by amount of spring back. Checking every 15 minutes.

Place in pre-heated dutch oven. Bake at 500 for 20 minutes, then 425 for 20-30 minutes.

My partner Alexi says that this was the best SD loaf I had ever baked. The flavor profile, crumb and crust were so tasty. This recipe is definitely a keeper.



nmygarden's picture

And the bold flavors in stout make it just that much more so. Yours turned out very, well, Dave! Love the color and bet it tastes terrific! Looking to see more posts from you...


Dave's picture

Is definitely true. Thanks so much Cathy. It was really tasty! I wonder if the stout had anything to do with it being so tender.


Floydm's picture

Really nice, Dave, and kudos as well to dabrownman for sharing his knowledge.

Would you mind if I featured it on the homepage for a bit?

Dave's picture

Of course Floyd! I would be totally honoured! Thanks so much.

I really owe it to TFL though. So many people have taught me so much.


a_warming_trend's picture

Beautiful bread. I've only worked with beer once (a Scotch ale), and I loved it...I should probably try it again!

Dave's picture

Sounds amazing too! Thanks for commenting a_warming! I'm for sure going to try different beers.

dabrownman's picture

An unusual, in a good way, 2 stage levain build with (2) 24 hour retards in the process is a new ne for me.  You've taken levain builds to whole new level!  I usually can't tell much taste due to the beer but, the darker the beer, the more taste that comes though.  Love Young's double chocolate stout in bread too but that makes for a very expensive bread!  Exploring all the facets of bread making with all the variables of dry, liquid add ins, starters and levain builds is what makes for tasty home crafted bread you can't buy anywhere.  The particular bread you used as a jumping off point was a very good too.  Glad you could craft you own version from it.  Well done and

Happy SD baking in 2015

Dave's picture

is a great way to put it, since this was my first levain build. Fill me in dabrowman, on levain builds. I would love to learn a whole lot more.

I saw from your recipe that you did a 3 stage build in a day, using a warm area. Is this the usual for levain builds?

I figured from what I've been learning that delayed fermentation is one way to bring out more flavor from the grain. So I thought that the (2) 24 hour retards with the Red Fife would accomplish that. The 2 builds was just a number I pulled out. Originally I was going to do a (3) 24 hour levain build, but went with 2.

Also have a question about your levain build. I see that you doubled your flour/water for each build. 8-16-32. I think I know why, but you could you please explain.

I was also wondering if the stout had anything to do with the tender crumb. I've never had one come out like this before.

I'm thinking a coffee porter next time!

Cheers and thanks again for your insight.

Happy SD baking in 2015 to you too!

dabrownman's picture

because my starter can be in the fridge un-maintained  for over 12 weeks.  To make sure the levain is ready to lift a loaf of bread.  Increasing the build each rime tries to take intoa ccount the more wee beasties to feed after each build.  I do the 3 stage build over 12 hours to make sure the levain is at its peak before hitting the mix.  I like to retard the levain for 1 to 2 days too - to increase the sour but do so only after the levain build has completed the 3 stage process.  I will have to try and see if my retarded starter can do it like you did. 

I'm guessing that the soft crumb comes from the retards and the autolyse more then the beer.  Beer is great color and taste.  The color of your crumb is near chocolate - just beautiful.

Dave's picture

OK. So that's why you do a 3 stage build. Where as my starter is refreshed once for about 12-15 hours, when it's at it's peak, before I make the levain.

I wonder if you mix your retarded starter into the 1st build and let it sit at room temp for a couple of hours to activate. That might work. Or it might need more of a boost, like you are already doing with the 3 stage build.

Yours makes sense, cause with your 12 week starter, your not throwing any away. Your just maintaining it when it's almost gone.

I read your 12 week starter recipe and like it. But have yet to figure out the calculations. I would like to try it someday.


a_warming_trend's picture

Inspired by your post, I tried my hand at loaf featuring one of my brother-in-law's all-time favorite beers: Founders Breakfast Stout. This was really a last minute and truly improvised thing, full of experimentation with fermentation times. But it went something like this:

50 g 100% hydration starter

400 g AP fl

75 g whole rye fl

340 g Founders Breakfast Stout (One full bottle! It felt weirdly satisfying to pour a full bottle of beer into my bowl...)

35 g water 

11g salt 

I mixed the flours with water and beer and autolysed for 1 hour. I mixed in starter and salt and slapped/folded for 5 minutes. I stretched and folded for 4 quarter turns every 30 minutes for two hours. I let the dough rest on the counter for 6 hours, then retarded for 30 hours. I shaped and proofed at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, then baked seam-side up for 30 minutes with steam, 20 minutes without. 

This loaf actually went in to work with my husband, and he forgot to save me a piece! But he reported: "Very malty, with a deep, lasting sour flavor that keeps going long after the sweetness on top has gone. Really crispy crust." 

Next time I'm getting a slice. And I'm going to have it with a slice of Dubliner cheddar cheese!


I predict more beer breads in the very near future...hopefully next time with a little more forethought!


Dave's picture

Nice loaf! Love the dark color on the outside. Looks yummy!

You gotta love those last minute. improvised bakes.

Hilarious! I had the same satisfying feeling when I poured the stout into the flour and mixed it around. It had a really great smell and feel to it.

Interesting how you baked it seam side up. I've never done that before. So I take it that you didn't score the loaf.

Hopefully next time you will actually get to try a piece! Sound like it went pretty fast at his work.




mc_janine's picture

To die for. Congrats.  Nothing in nature is straight.

MonkeyDaddy's picture

in pizza dough.  I just replaced all the water called for with beer, but it was a lager not a stout. Made the pizza taste terrific, but I've never tried it with sourdough.  I'll have to give it a shot.  Thanks for the inspiration.


Dave's picture

Always a great combination! I'll have to try that sometime. Sounds really good.

Glad you like the post Mike! Let us know how it goes with your sourdough.




108 breads's picture
108 breads

This conversation is inspiring. If we can motivate ourselves to leave the house (it's 10 degrees here), I will buy some beer and use it in the next bread. Can't wait for the satisfying sensation described by all of you of pouring the beer into the bowl. Might not be as satisfying for our resident beer drinker.

Dave's picture

Hey 108. Well it's been -30 C here for the past week. So in other words go out and grab some beer.

Let us know your results!



Wartface's picture

Great cook man! I tip my hat to you. Jacob from Stella's posted a link to this page for us to come look. You should be very proud. Funny how baking a killer loaf can be such a rush huh...

Dave's picture

It's quite a privilege to have my bread featured.

And yes dude! It definitely is a rush when you bake a killer loaf!!


Bisnilo's picture

Here in the south of Brazil conditions are quite different.  High temperature and a very slim selection of flours both present plenty of challenges however I have twice baked a "southern hemisphere" version of this bread and they have been a big hit.  Thanks very much Dave for the original formula.

Dave's picture

Glad you like the formula!

Brazil eh!! I would love to visit Brazil.

I can imagine the challenge with the high temperature.

I find that here in Ontario, I actually bake some of my best loaves when it's winter. No humidity to deal with.


Bisnilo's picture

Actually I shouldn't complain as the ambient temperature for a large part of the year is ideal proofing temperature (75 - 80 C) and the humidity is generally not too high in São Paulo where I live.  My biggest problem is really the lack of flour options so I get the best bread flour I can find from Argentina and mill my own grains when I want whole wheat, rye, barley, etc..  Tapioca is prevalent in Brazil and so I have played around with tapioca flour with some interesting results.  It is used in the famous Brazilian cheese bread (which I´m not a big fan of) but by substituting part of the whole wheat flour in a whole wheat loaf you can develop some interesting tastes and texture.

fmlyhntr's picture

I am unfamiliar with Red Fife--is it a wheat flour? Where do you get it? Can you sub another wheat flour?


Thanks, I'm looking forward to making this,


Dave's picture

Red Fife has some cool history to it. Check it out

It is labelled as a Stone Ground Whole Grain Flour. It doesn't actually say "wheat" on the label. Like another brand that would say "whole wheat".

The flour is produced by CIPM Farms, just north of Sterling, ON. I purchase my product here in Toronto at Fiesta Farms and St. Johns bakery. I do believe that The Healthy Butcher sells it as well.

I'm sure you could sub another wheat flour for this recipe. Depending on what it is you would have make your baking adjustments along the way. I have not used another flour for this recipe yet.