Sourdough Guinness Rye Batard

This is an incredible loaf of bread, engineered by Jeffrey Hamelman in his book, Bread. The only change I made to it was using Guinness in place of water, and cutting the ratios down to make one loaf. It is chewy without being dense, with a fantastically crunchy crust.

Although it requires a starter to sit overnight, the production of the bread the next day takes no more time than a typical sandwich loaf. This is rye bread at its essence.

My sourdough starter had been in the fridge for a while. I was worried it would take too long to wake up, so I added a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to the starter. That did the trick.

(See the rest of the Guinness rye breads I baked for St. Patrick’s Day here.)

Starter ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (6.4 ounces) whole dark rye flour
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (5.3 ounces) water
  • 1 tablespoon mature sourdough starter
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Remaining dough ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups (9.5 ounces) bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • half bottle (5.5 ounces) Guinness draught
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds (optional)

Step 1. Combine the rye flour, water, sourdough starter and instant yeast (if using). The mixture will be a dense dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight, and up to 16 hours if possible. The next day the starter will have risen considerably.

Step 2. Combine the starter with the remaining ingredients – the bread flour, yeast, Guinness, salt and seeds. Knead together for 7-8 minutes; first on low speed, then medium-low.




Step 3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise for at least 90 minutes. It won’t rise as dramatically as the rye sandwich loaf but it will definitely grow.








Step 4. Form the final loaf shape by turning the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then tucking the sides of the dough under until a tight skin forms.



Step 5. Let the dough rise again for 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, preferably with a baking stone inside. Right before baking, mist the bread with water from a spray bottle and sprinkle coarse cornmeal on top. Score the bread with a razor blade or bread knife.

Step 6. Bake for 40 minutes, spraying the sides of the oven with water during the first 10 minutes.

The oven spring on this bread is great; it grows dramatically. Best of all is the crisp crust and delightfully chewy center.

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