Thursday 12 September 2013

Sourdough with Newcastle Brown Ale

Yesterday was the coldest day since before the summer began and it really showed in the making of this batch of bread. I have been producing light puffy sourdough bread all summer; despite reducing the fermentation time, it has been difficult to keep up with just how quickly a batch of dough can be ready for baking. Yesterday was a return to an altogether slower process and I hadn't planned for it to take so long which resulted in less time being given to stretching and folding than was ideal. The bread however is still good, a delicious flavour with a slightly denser textured crumb than I have become used to.
Newcastle brown, is the beer that as a student back in the 60s was for me the beer of choice, the flavour of the beer adds a rich savoury note to this bread.

For this bread you will need;

For the ferment,
1 tablespoon of starter from the fridge
200g of organic strong white bread flour
200ml of cold water.

For the dough,
All of the starter
1,000g to 1,100g of Strong white bread flour
300ml of Newcastle brown ale
400ml of cold water
20g of salt

Begin by putting together the ferment, do this last thing at night before going to bed. Mix the ferment ingredients together and place in a bowl large enough for the mix to more than double in size, cover with clingfilm and leave to ferment.

Make the dough by mixing together all the ingredients apart from the salt. I would suggest the actual amount of flour is up to you as to how comfortable you are with a wet dough. I prefer to use wetter doughs when the ambient temperature is considerably warmer than it is now, so I used 1,100g. Leave to dough for a couple of hours before mixing in the salt. Mix thoroughly enough to fully incorporate. Leave the dough to rise for 3 to 4 hours in a warm place, covered. Stretch and fold the dough every hour to develop the gluten. Yesterday I could have done with an extra hour to do this but the time pressure I was under meant I had to shape the dough into loaves earlier than I would have liked. Shape the dough into 3 loaves, leave for 1 to 2 hours until they have grown by 50% and bake in a hot oven 220C for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. Too much levain. Use half and the leftover is your new starter.

  2. Half might well work for you, this quantity however works ideally for me. I guess you have to work out for yourself what suits you and in particular the temperature in your kitchen. Thank you for your comment, Tôbi.


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