This recipe for “Pain a la Biere” is my attempt to re-create an extremely popular French beer bread. The french are passionate about their food and extremely proud of their “Boulangerie” and baked goods, and rightly so, because traditional french breads are simply wonderful. Baguette, Pain de Campagne, la Miche….etc.etc.. are typical french breads and each one has unique flavours and textures. This french beer bread is really easy to make, looks beautifully rustic and has a lovely subtle malty sweetness. Perfect with your favourite french (or any) cheese.
French beer bread recipe
Ingredients and method for 2 medium sized loaves
600g strong bread flour (in Germany 550 flour)
150g whole wheat flour
250 ml Pale beer (whatever you have)
200 ml dark malt beer
18g sea salt
15g instant dried yeast
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon oil
To make the dough mix all the ingredients by hand until well incorporated. If you are using a mixer, knead using the dough hook for 5 minutes and then knead and really stretch the dough for a further 5 minutes by hand. Alternatively, knead by hand for 10 minutes. Since this is a rather stiff dough I recommend that you lift up and slap down (rather violently!) the dough onto your work surface, then give it some good stretches, this really develops good strength in the dough. Then form into a tight ball and place in a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to rest and rise for 1 hour, until at least doubled in size.
Turn your risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently deflate and divide into two roughly equal pieces. Shape into ovals and place, seam side down onto a floured baking sheet (or if you are using a baking stone, then place onto your bakers peel). Allow plenty of space inbetween your loaves for expansion otherwise they may meet and join during baking (which is not such a bad thing, see the picture)
Leave to proof and re-rise at room temperature for 45 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 250degrees, at least 30 minutes before your loaves are ready to bake. Place a roasting tray of water in onto the floor of the oven for steam.
When your loaves are re-risen and ready to bake, make a 1cm deep lengthwise cut into the surface of your loaves. Bake at 250degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 and bake for a further 45-50 minutes. Enjoy with strong cheese and a small french beer.