Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Three Types of Guinness Rye Bread

Guinness and rye bread go together as well as shamrocks and the color green or leprechauns, gold and rainbows.

OK, enough with the St. Patrick’s Day cliches. Here’s how I ended up baking four loaves of rye bread (yes, one more than pictured).

I wanted to make bread using Guinness instead of water. I also wanted to see how different “speeds” of breads compared when tasted back-to-back.

My base recipe was a sandwich rye bread from King Arthur Flour. I made one loaf with just the addition of the Guinness, and one with the addition of Guinness and a cup of cheddar cheese. This takes about five elapsed hours to prepare.

For the quick bread, I stuck to pretty much the same ingredients and ratios as the sandwich bread, but simply used baking powder instead of yeast. This bread only takes one hour to finish.

The sourdough rye is a recipe from Jeffry Hamelman’s book Bread. It requires an overnight starter to ferment, so the elapsed time is about 20 hours.

The differences in taste and texture were dramatic. If I had to rank the breads they would go:

  1. sourdough rye
  2. sandwich rye
  3. cheesy sandwich rye
  4. quick rye

The sourdough loaf was tangy, chewy and just slightly sour. I preferred the plain sandwich rye to the one with cheese because the plain loaf was lighter, and the cheddar was only a background flavor. The quick bread wasn’t nearly as dense as I was expecting, and sampled on its own, it is a good bread. It can’t hold a candle to the yeasted breads when it comes to flavor, however.

Sampling these breads together and it’s really striking how just a few recipe tweaks can make a big difference in the final product. There’s a bread recipe for any time demand. Get the starter for the sourdough going tonight and you can have an amazing crunchy loaf on the table for tomorrow night’s St. Patty’s Day dinner.

Quick Guinness Rye Bread




Guinness Rye Sandwich Loaf




Sourdough Guinness Rye Batard




  • Jen

    Hmm, where to start! They all sound good.

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