Beer bread recipe 

Marcel Paa, a Swiss baker and confectioner has written us a fantastic recipe for beer bread, beer and bread, what could be better? This spicy, strong doughy goodness will get a deliciously crispy crust. It is a great snack but also will go down very well when brought to a dinner or barbecue with friends. Great for toast, sandwhiches or simply with some cheese!

Marcel has a baking video which is linked below; although it is in German, we do suggest watching it. Marcel shows exactly how to prepare the bread so it might help give a visual aid for some of the steps. Below the video you will also find all ingredients and method. At the end of this article you will find the full list of ingredients. We wish you good luck and of course have fun baking your beer bread!

(photo and video by Marcel)

Beer bread prep

Ingredients for starter dough:

  • 70g water (lukewarm)
  • 100g light rye flour (rye flour type 610/815)
  • 2g salt
  • 1g fresh yeast (alternative: 5g basic sour)

Preparation of pre-dough:

The pre-dough for your beer bread needs to be prepared a day before. For this, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to form a dough. Cover the pre-dough with a tea towel or cling film and let it ferment for 24 hours at room temperature.

Why a pre-dough? Marcel Paa explains this very simply in his recipe:
"By using a pre-dough, the main dough and ultimately the bread will get a much more intense, better aroma and, above all, better freshness."

Main dough prep

Ingredients main dough:

  • 70g cold water
  • 200g beer of your choice
  • 420g white flour (wheat flour type 550)
  • 60g light rye flour (rye flour type 610/815)
  • 13g salt
  • 10g fresh yeast
  • 30g wheat basic sour (optional)

Preparation of the main dough:

First put all the liquid ingredients, then all the solid ingredients in the food processor and let them knead on a low level (2-3). Then you can increase the speed and let the dough knead for another 10-12 minutes until it passes the window test. Are you familiar with the window test? If you take a small piece of the dough and pull it apart thinly and are able to read a newspaper through it without it breaking, then the dough is good to go!

Then you grease a large (preferably rectangular and flat) plastic container and put the dough in there. Then cover the dough well with the towel or cling film and let it rest for 60-90 minutes.

When the first half of the proofing time is up, stretch and fold the dough. For this, pull the dough up slightly on one side in the bowl, stretch it a little and pull the dough to the opposite side of the bowl. To do this, dip your hands in some water first, this will avoid sticking. Repeat this process four times to cover all sides of the dough. Then you cover the dough and let it rest again. In the meantime, prepare the beer spread.

Beer spread for bread

Ingredients for beer spreads:

  • 45g beer of your choice
  • 25g light rye flour (rye flour type 610/815)
  • 1g fresh yeast

Preparation of beer spreads:

This is what you will spread over your bread to give it that delicious beery taste. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir them into a lump-free and thick batter. Then cover the beer spread, letting it stand at room temperature until the dough has proofed.


Beer bread shaping

This is where the video comes in handy, these next steps although easy to do can be hard to visualise. Turn the dough out onto a work surface sprinkled with a little flour and shape it as follows:

  1. Pull the dough across the table 2-3 times to get a smooth surface. Pull the dough with your fingers from one side to the middle and press it down gently. Repeat this process all around and keep folding the dough in the middle (the video really helps with this).
  2. Then turn the dough over (smooth side is now on top), place your hands around the dough in a vase shape and rotate the piece of dough with light pressure on the tabletop until it is closed at the bottom with a seam. Try and create some tension here. Tip from Marcel: "So that the piece of dough closes well at the bottom, no or very little flour should be used in this step.’
  3. Place the dough on a baking sheet and spread evenly with the prepared beer spread. To do this, apply 2-3 times with a brush. Then dust the whole thing generously with rye flour and let it rest at room temperature until the beer crust cracks slightly. This can take 30-60 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Depending on what you have at home, you use a bread baking pot, cast iron pot with lid or bread baking stone

Baking the bread

Here it depends on your kitchen utensils:

Bread pan: Take off the glass cover of the bread pan, slide the dough directly onto the hot plate. Then you put on the glass lid and bake the bread for 40 minutes in the bread pan. When the baking time is over, remove the glass lid and let the bread bake golden brown for another 10-15 minutes.

Cast iron pot (approx. 24-28 cm diameter): Take off the lid of the cast iron pot, and carefully place the dough with the seam facing down in the preheated cast iron pot. Then close the lid and put the pot back in the oven. The bread has to bake in the pot for around 40 minutes. Then remove the lid and let the bread bake until golden brown for another 10-15 minutes.

Bread baking stone or baking sheet: Put the dough with the seam facing down on the hot baking stone or directly on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Then you pour approx. 500 ml of water into a fireproof bowl for the steam and close the oven. After 20 minutes you take the tray with the water out of the oven and let the bread bake crispy for another 25-30 minutes.

Let the bread cool on a rack immediately after baking.

banner image

All the ingredients for your beer bread (for shopping and preparation):

70g water (lukewarm)

70g cold water

245g beer of your choice

185g light rye flour (rye flour type 610/815)

420g white flour (wheat flour type 550)

15g salt

12g fresh yeast

Buy some beer to make your bread

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