It’s almost the end of flaming June and I had one bread left to bake for Mellow Bakers. I’ve been baking lots of sourdoughs and pizza this month, but there was this one left to have a go at. Jeffrey Hamelman doesn’t specify the beer, so my fellow bakers have produced very different looking breads, it’s been interesting to see what they have come up with. If you want a peek at what they have been doing in the way of beer breads. Click here.
So what did I do? I had some roasted barley malt flour from Bakery Bits, so I skipped the part about malting my own barley, which is just as well, as it is really hard to get hold of barley that hasn’t been processed in some way that you can sprout. I can get hold of wheat and rye which are viable, barley for some reason not.
What beer? JH says he used a strong south German beer. It didn’t give me enough of a clue, so I went with Guinness, it’s dark, sweet and mild and I thought it might be a good one for this bread.
I’ve never used beer as the straight liquid into a final dough before. I’ve made barm bread and stout hot cross buns, both Dan Lepard recipes; in those formulae the beer is introduced at an earlier stage in the process, either as part of a sourdough starter or a poolish, and the breads don’t smell of beer once baked which I much prefer.
However, Brian said, “Nothing wrong with this bread!” and ate half the loaf. It looks paradoxically like it should taste really strong and dark, but it didn’t. It was just a crusty yeasted loaf in disguise really. Soft crumb, crusty, mild tasting with a hint of sweetness and malt, no bitterness, but then Guinness isn’t a bitter beer. I made it as a long oval shape, proved in a cloth inside a banneton, and that seemed to work out all right. It had a long final prove, about two hours in all. So a perfectly nice loaf, great colour, split verdict on the smell.
Update: the following day the smell of the bread has changed and, well, I don’t really want to use this word, but…. it has mellowed :) not as beery, more of the aroma of the wheat and wholemeal and roast barley coming through – so if you make it, hold off for at least 12 hours before eating it.