Two round, crusty loaves of bread cooling on a wire rack with a background of kitchen countertop items.

Step-by-Step: How to Make Beer Bread at Home

You can use all kinds of beer for your bread, but using a dark, malty brew gives your loaf a beautiful colour and malty taste.
Two round, crusty loaves of bread cooling on a wire rack with a background of kitchen countertop items.
A bearded man with glasses wearing a checkered shirt smiles and holds up a glass of beer while sitting at a wooden table in front of a rustic wooden wall, perhaps ready to share his secret on how to make beer bread.

It may be because of my German background or because I like well-crafted food, but I like hearty bread and craft beer. I had tried using beer in my sourdough bread before and liked it, but when I came across this beautiful Oatmeal Stout from our local brewery, Giants Head Brewing, I knew I had to develop a beer bread recipe for it.

You can use any kind of beer to make bread and it also fits since both beer and bread go through a fermentation process. Both the alcohol and the carbonation in the beer disappear in the baking process, but the malty smell and taste of a dark beer add a wonderful layer of experience during the baking as well as while you enjoy your beer bread.

The use of dark rye and whole wheat flour makes this hearty bread a great feature of any charcuterie board or simply the perfect bread to enjoy with a good cheese.

Like most of my breads, this one has a hydration of under 80% which means that the crumb is not as open and the oven spring is not as high as white-high hydration breads. I think it suits the type of loaf.

Baking sourdough is at least a two-day process*

(*in general)

While we want to be as exact as we can with ingredients, there are a lot of factors that will determine the timing of your baking process and things like the amount of liquid you need. Here are some examples:

  • The flour you use
  • The temperature in your house
  • The humidity in the air
  • Your oven

With this in mind, here is my usual schedule – things go much faster in the summer.

An infographic titled "Sourdough Baking Schedule" with steps including feeding the starter, mixing dough, and baking, broken down by day and time from Thursday evening to Sunday lunch. Ideal for home baking enthusiasts keen on mastering sourdough or exploring new recipes like Beer Bread.
Two round, crusty loaves of bread cooling on a wire rack with a background of kitchen countertop items.

Oatmeal Stout Beer Bread

You can use all kinds of beer for your bread, but using a dark, malty brew gives your loaf a beautiful colour and malty taste.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Fermentation Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 2 days
Course: Bread
Hydration: 72%
Keywords: Beer, Bread, Sourdough, Whole wheat
Servings: 1 loaf

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 60 grams starter fed, bubbly active starter
  • 366 grams beer at least room temperature
  • 100 grams dark rye flour
  • 150 grams whole wheat four
  • 250 grams bread flour
  • 9 grams salt

Instructions

  • Mix the sourdough starter and beer in a large bowl.
  • Add flour
    A mixing bowl contains partially mixed dry and wet ingredients, with the dry ingredients on top and wet ingredients visible beneath.
  • Roughly mix the liquid and the flour. Do not add the salt yet.
    Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
    A lump of brown dough with a rough texture sits in a white bowl, with some residue on the sides.
  • If you haven't already, now is a good time to feed your starter and store it according to your preference.
  • Add the salt and mix well. This stage is as close to kneading as it gets.
    If you think the dough is too dry, you can add some water now or wait a little.
  • Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and place it in a warm location. After about one hour, stretch and pull the dough. Repeat twice more.
  • When the dough has about doubled in size you can shape it with your hands into a round shape.
    It mainly depends on room temperature and how active your starter as to how long it will take to get to this stage. The rule of thumb is about seven hours.
  • Place your bread into a banneton and cover it with a shower cap. Place it in the fridge for at least six hours. I usually leave it over night.
    A round ball of dough rests in a ridged, floured bowl, ready for further preparation.
  • Heat your oven to 450 degrees Farenheit (200 C).
    Score the loaf with at least one large slash so it rises in a controlled manner.
    I like simple scoring. Place it in the heated Dutch oven and place two ice cubes beside it to create steam.
    A round loaf of bread dough with a spiraled top, dusted with flour, sitting on a floured surface before baking.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the lid.
  • Take the lid off and bake for another 20 minutes
  • Let your bread cool for at least two hours before cutting! The baking process continues.
    A round loaf of dark brown bread with one slice cut and resting on top, showing the interior texture. The bread is on a wooden surface.

Notes

If you don’t have a sourdough starter, I invite you to make your own, using my free step-by-step course.
We have a convection oven that works very well for baking bread in a Dutch oven. Depending on your oven, you may have to take the bread out of your vessel and bake it for another 10 minutes.
You can use any beer for bread, but a dark, malty beer gives you a nice result.
The alcohol in the beer dissipates out of the bread.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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