The Fresh Loaf

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Liquor in Bread

dsendros's picture

Liquor in Bread

I replaced some (about 10%/31 grams) of the water in my white bread recipe with rye whiskey this weekend. It went ok, but I was hoping for a little more flavor, so I'll probably bump it to 20-25% next time I make it.

I'm wondering if I also need to adjust the sugar or any other part of the recipe? I didn't notice anything this time around, but as the ratio goes up, I wonder if it will cause issues.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

Just don't kill the yeast! I think you will be venturing into the dangerous zone which might slow them down (probably not kill...)

dsendros's picture

Good point!

Quick research is telling me most yeast can tolerate between 10-15% alcohol before dying. Taking the lower bound of that, and assuming my whiskey is 40% abv, that means the recipe can be up to 25% whiskey before it's 10% alcohol.

Of course, the yeast is going to produce alcohol on its own. Any sense of how much alcohol it will produce through fermentation?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I don't know, sorry. But the tolerance will depend on the strain, and you don't know with your particular yeast... And if they die at 10%, they might slow down at lower percentage.

I would think though that you need to calculate the % taking into account all other ingredients, so not just the liquid. So you probably have a bigger margin there.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and then dilute it with the rest f the recipe water.  You can also leave the glass of whisky open overnight and let some of the alcohol evaporate before diluting with the recipe liquids.   Whisky is one of my secret additions to a Sunday sweet type braid (and a great way to use up anything "left over" from Sat. Night.)  If you no sugar in the dough, a little bit might help and/or get some raisins sloshed.  :)

Booda's picture

Soaking raisons in bourbon overnight adds a wonderful flavor to Danni's Cinnamon Raison Sourdough, and I replace over half of the water with a stout hard cider in a bread with apple inclusions. I have some rye groats that I've been wanting to use, perhaps I'll try using them in a soaker with a little rye whiskey overnight for a rye bread recipe. 


Colin2's picture

What kind of flavor are you aiming for?  This seems like a waste of good whiskey.  Or maybe it's not good whiskey.

clazar123's picture

Remember, alcohol does not dissolve other things (like flour) in the same way that water does. The water is still very important to hydrate the starches so you can get that nice window pane and crumb.  Vodka is the secret to making great,workable pie crust that remains ultra-flaky. The alcohol suspends the flour particle, but doesn't dissolve the starch so the fat can still coat the flour particles and evaporate as it cooks to produce a flaky pe crust. So it is not the alcohol flavor you really want-it is the whiskey flavor. So as MiniOven suggested, evaporate the alcohol and add. You may find that distilled spirits have remarkably little flavor. Beers offer a more noticeable flavor profile. The best fermented flavor comes from the yeast and flour itself-a long,slow,cool fermentation offers the best.

Off course, sloshed raisins offer a hit of the booze soaked up.It's like mini-shots when well soaked. That is a different mechanism-alcohols easily dissolve sugars.