Ever wanted a sourdough beer bread recipe? It is a very good combination and one worth exploring.
The yeast contained in the beer marries well with the yeast in your sourdough starter and produces a rich and complex sourdough flavor.
Why Use Beer In Sourdough Bread?
My husband loves to brew beer. We have all sorts of beer in our cellar – lager, pale ale, Mexican beer – it’s a treasure trove of yeasty goodness. So I thought I would marry our hobbies together – sourdough and beer – a match made in heaven, right?
Well, did you know that sourdough and beer actually have almost the same ingredients?
And if you were really clever, you could actually brew beer from a sourdough starter? Not sure what the flavors would be like, but anything is possible!
Sourdough Beer Bread Recipe: How To Add Beer To Sourdough Bread
I adapted my Simple Sourdough Recipe and replaced the water for beer.
I used 350g of Pale Ale (just because that is what came to hand first when I opened the cellar).
I didn’t make any other changes for my Sourdough Beer Bread Recipe – just a straight swap with beer instead of water. So easy!
You’ll find my Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe here – just substitute the 350g of water for beer!
Sometimes you might. notice the bulk fermentation will be a little faster, but as always this is dependent of how much starter you use and the temperature you’re fermenting at.
In my straight swap with beer for water I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with the bulk fermentation.
Except for the smell! It was a yeast explosion – sweet, earthy and well, beery.
One thing I did notice about using beer in sourdough bread was the smell while the bread was baking. It honestly smelled like a brewery in my kitchen!
When I took the lid off the Dutch Oven to finish the bake – wow! It was so strong. But I found that once the bread was baked, the smell toned down quite a bit.
You could definitely tell there was beer in the bread upon tasting, but it was a very pleasant flavor (I actually don’t like beer, but I loved the bread!).
The beer added a richness and complexity to the sourdough. The crust was also quite light which was nice.
We now love to make beer sourdough bread for Sunday night grilled cheese – the flavor works so well with cheese!
Changing The Flavor Of Sourdough Bread Made With Beer
Obviously the flavor of your sourdough beer bread will depend on which kind of beer you choose to use.
A lighter beer will give you a lighter flavor, while a darker, stronger tasting beer will come through differently.
The great thing about sourdough is that it’s so much fun to experiment. And most of the time, your experiments are completely edible!
You could even have a go at brewing your own beer!
Additions to Sourdough Beer Bread Recipe
While you can literally just replace the water in your sourdough bread with beer, there are also a few other things you can add in to take the flavor profiles to the next level.
Honey – Honey adds a delicious sweetness to the sourdough beer bread. It marries well with the yeasty goodness and will provide a balance to the sometimes bitterness of the beer. Honey is particularly important if you add rye flour to your loaf, it will balance out the bitterness that can come through.
Rye Flour – Rye is such an earthy, rich flour. I just had to try it with beer! I wouldn’t recommend substituting more than 20% of Rye Flour (so 100g if you’re using my recipe). 20% is enough to give you good flavor, but not sacrifice gluten development or oven spring.
Oats – adding oats along with your flour can make a hearty addition to sourdough beer bread. I like to add 50g into my bread mix and then dust the banneton with oats before I place the dough into it so that the oats stick to the top. They give such a nice finish to the beer sourdough bread.
Strong Cheddar Cheese – Beer Sourdough Bread pairs so well with a strong, crumbly cheddar. Adding 100g of an aged cheddar cheese during your second set of stretch and folds will take your bread to the next level. You could even add some shredded parmesan to the banneton before placing your dough on top. Seriously it is a stellar flavor combo!
Try adding beer to this easy whole wheat rye sourdough recipe.
Beer and Sourdough Starters
A few people have asked whether it would be ok to add beer to their sourdough starter or even start a sourdough starter with beer instead of water.
My advice is not to add beer to your sourdough starter. Just keep it to flour and water – and keep the beer for your actual sourdough bread. If you want to start your own sourdough starter, you’ll find full instructions on how to do it here.
If you are wanting to boost your sourdough starter – beer isn’t the best way to do it. You’ll find my best tips for boosting your sourdough starter here.
Have you ever thought about baking sourdough bread with whey? I’ve put together an info packed guide on how to here.
Looking for other flavor ideas for your next sourdough bake? Check out these ideas!