Beer bread…minus the beer

Baking your own bread is all the rage at the mo. This is more than just a fad though and the results though are worth it. I gave it a go about 12 months ago and since then we’ve eaten mainly home made bread. As well as tasting amazing it makes the best toast.

This was supposed to have been a recipe for beer bread. Unfortunately, the fantastic Harbour Brewing Company Amber Ale that was intended for the loaf was just too good not to drink! So this then is a not so beery bread. Still delicious though and easy to make. It uses spelt flour which makes it even tastier and apparently more digestible. You can use any strong white flour though.

The Ingredients

  • 500g of white spelt flour (strong white flour will do too)
  • 300 ml of warm water
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 sachet of quick acting yeast

Making The Loaf

Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl (image 1 below). Add the warm water and mix with a wooden spoon (2) until you get a too much resistance (3). At this stage, use your hands to continuing mixing the dough into a sticky lump.


Next rub some oil onto a your work surface and tip the contents of the bowl onto this. Don’t use flour for this as it will alter the balance between the flour/water. Using your hands start to knead the dough. Starting working the dough (4) by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand and then pulling it back on itself (5). Turn the dough around and keep doing this for 10 minutes until its elastic and soft. At this stage roll it into a ball (6).


The dough needs to needs to be left to prove. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl (7) and cover with clingfilm. You’ll know it’s working within 5 – 10 minutes when you see condensation on the clingfilm (8). Leave for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size (9).


The next step is to knock back the dough. Simply press down with your knuckle a couple of times. This takes the air our of the dough. Turn out of the bowl onto your work surface and then press down with your fingers to flatten the dough (10) into a square (or not). Place your hands at the back of this and roll forward into a tube (11). Then stretch the dough lengthways and folder over (12).


Flatten the dough with your fingertips again until you get a square (13) then roll it into a cylinder (14). This needs to be left to prove again prior to baking. You can put the dough into a loaf tin or a proving basket dusted with flour (14). Preheat your own to 220C whilst the bread proves. This should take 40 – 60 minutes.

To bake, turn the loaf out onto a baking tray covered with greaseproof baker. You can dust flour onto the dough or brush the top of the loaf with milk then sprinkle over poppy seeds. The final step is to score the bread diagonally in 3 – 4 places. This helps control the direction of the rise as it cooks.

Pop the loaf into middle of the oven with another baking tray at the bottom. Pour a cup of boiling water onto this and close the oven door (the steam helps with the colour of the bread and the crust). Bake for 30 minutes and then remove from the tray. Put it directly onto the oven shelf for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and put the bread onto a cooling wire.


Then when it’s cooled tuck in! This will keep for a few days and freezes well too. If it lasts that long…Our next challenge is to get to grips with sourdough inspired by our visit to Loaf in Stirchley.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Beer and ale, Bread

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