I’m continuing with Sourdough September this week and making a sourdough beer loaf using a dark, delicious porter from Acorn Brewery in Barnsley.
I’ve been baking with sourdough – on and off – for a few years now and it can be hit & miss with the temperature of our house. This recipe that I’ve used talks about room temperature being 22ºC; we have a thermometer in our kitchen that never gets past 15ºC at the peak of summer! I’ve picked up a couple of tricks to improve the ambient environment for bread baking. In the winter, I simply put the proofing bowl/banneton near the wood-burner. In the summer I boil a mug of water in the microwave, remove it, put the bowl/banneton in and close the door. It usually works quite well.
The web page where I found this recipe has lots of photos of the finished loaf uploaded by all the people that tried it. Lots of lovely, round boules and shapely batards. As you can tell from my photos, mine was a bit of a ‘nailed it’ attempt! It wasn’t the temperature but the consistency of my dough that was to blame.
Starter hydration is described as a percentage – e.g. 100% hydration or 75% hydration. I wasn’t at school on the day percentages were taught and I’ve still not mastered them… maths was always my worst subject too! My starter is kept at the former percentage i.e. equal weight (not volume) of flour & water at each feeding. I don’t know where it went wrong to be honest. I should have gone with my instinct and added more flour – I could tell that I would have to pour my dough out of the banneton, almost as if it was a batter. Even so, it still managed something of a rise and tastes great! I will revisit this sourdough beer loaf recipe very soon and post the results below.
- 400g/14oz strong white flour
- 100g/3½oz wholemeal flour
- 345g/12oz bottle of beer (I used most of a 500ml bottle of Old Moor porter brewed by Acorn Brewery of Barnsley here in Yorkshire)
- 75g/2⅔oz water
- 80g/2¾oz sourdough starter
- 12g/½oz salt
- Pour 345g/12oz of room temperature beer into a bowl and mix thoroughly to release the carbonation
- Add the 500g/17⅔oz flour mixture to the beer and mix until thoroughly incorporated into a shaggy mass
- Cover and set aside (autolyse) at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for 2-3 hours
- Combine the salt, water and starter and mix thoroughly before adding to the dough
- Fold repeatedly until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the dough begins to feel smooth
- Cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about an hour
- Fold the dough 8 times (8 single folds)
- Re-cover the mixing bowl and allow to sit for about 12 hours at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) or until the volume of dough doubles (optionally stretch and fold periodically)
- Turn out the fermented dough on a lightly-floured work surface and shape into your preferred loaf (boule, batard, etc.) and then place dough into a well-floured (rice flour is preferred) proofing basket/banneton; cover and allow to sit at room temperature (22ºC/72ºF) for about an hour
- After 30 minutes or so, place your preferred baking vessel, stone or tray (I used my pizza steel) in the oven and preheat to 260ºC/500ºF (or your vessel's maximum safe temperature).
- With the dough fully risen and oven pre-heated, gently transfer the dough from the proofing basket to the baking vessel, score the top of the loaf, and then bake at 260ºC/500ºF with top on (if using) for 20 minutes
- Turn the oven temperature down to 230ºC/450ºF and bake for another 10 minutes
- Remove the top of the baking vessel (if using) and bake for 20 minutes or until the colour of the crust is as desired and the internal loaf temperature is at least 90ºC/200ºF
- Remove the loaf from the oven and place it on a wire rack and allow it to cool for at least an hour before slicing