Ale bread

This is a simple variation on the basic recipe.

The day before you bake, take out most of your leaven but leave some in the jar.

To the bulk of your leaven, when you add your 200 g of flour, instead of adding 200 g of water, add the same weight of really good ale. I’m not talking about a can of anything, but a bottle of an artisan ale like Chimay or something else Belgian. English Spitfire is good, Black sheep, Whatever you want – choose one which is in its natural state though.

Then proceed with the recipe as normal the following day.

If you want to be more adventurous, forget the tins and shape your dough  into loaves to prove on your board. Make sure you place them seam side UP for the proving stage. The tricky  bit then comes when you want to get them into the oven, in which, you  need either a baking stone, or a robust solid metal tray without a lip at the front (you can just turn a normal tray upside down if you need to). Make sure the tray is at temperature before you put the bread in as you want a big blast of heat to go straight up from the base the minute they go in.

So, to get the loaves into the oven you need a “peel” – its a piece of equipment which bakers use. Alternatively, like me, you are lazy and tight, use a piece of stiff cardboard with some fine semolina sprinkled on it. The semonlina allows the dough to slide off easily.  You take the cardboard peel with your loaf on it (remember to put the loaf seam side down on the cardboard), open the oven door, and sort of whoosh the dough in, pulling out the cardboard. A bit like when a magician yanks a tablecloth from under plates and glasses and they all stay put on the table.  I’ll post up a video of this when I can be bothered.

This is fantastic with a really rich beef casserole, or anything sausage related.


3 responses to “Ale bread

  1. Just made pizza – fabulous even though I didn’t get the stretch quite right this time.

    Wasn’t sure about freezing the left over dough so rather than throw away I’ve made into partbaked dough balls for freezing. Apologies if Pizza Express is a dirty word but they look really good!

  2. Am thinking ahead here and thinking about trying a chocolate ale when making this bread just to see how it works.

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