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Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

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Beer Bread with Roasted Barley is one of the breads the Mellow Bakers made in June.  I've been really mellow about baking bread recently because it's so hot here.  I didn't get around to this one in June but I really wanted to try it so I added it to my list for July.

I made my beer bread with some IPA beer my boyfriend made a few weeks ago.  That was another reason I didn't get to this one in June.  I was waiting for the beer to be ready.  I don't particularly care for IPA beer because it has a lot of bitter hops in it, which of course, makes it bitter.  For that reason, I wasn't sure how it would taste in this bread, but I decided to give it a try. 

I also used Organic Montana Purple Barley grains that I found at the farmer's market.  I loved the purple color of these grains so I thought it would be neat to use them in this bread. 

Making Barley Malt

The process of malting barley begins by soaking the grains in water until the grains sprout.  Soaking the barley grains makes them sweet tasting.

To sprout the grains, I put about 1/4 cup of grains in a pint-size mason jar, covered it with cheesecloth and secured it with a rubber band.  Then I poured water over the grains, drained them and put the jar in a dark cabinet for a couple of days.

I rinsed and drained the grains a couple of times a day for about 2 days.  It's very hot here so it didn't take long at all for the grains to sprout.  As you can see by the photo below, these grains have really sprouted. If I was going to use these sprouts for regular flour, it would make the bread gummy, but for malted barley you want the grains to turn to starch so I thought this would work just fine.

The next step is to dry the grains.  If you don't dry them before you try to grind them, it will clog your grinder.
To dry them, I placed the barley grains on a sheet pan and roasted them at 350 degrees for about 4 to 5 minutes.

According to Jeffrey Hamelman, this step does two things: It brings out the full nutty flavor of the barley, and it deactivates any enzymes that might otherwise interfere with dough fermentation.  However, if you roast the grains too long, this will impart a bitter flavor.  I definitely wanted to avoid that since I needed the barley to offset the bitter beer flavor.

After the barley had cooled, it was time to grind the grains into flour.  I ground the grains using the bread flour setting on my WonderMill.  This setting grinds it pretty fine.  It almost looks like cocoa, but not quite as dark.

Beer Bread with Roasted Barley

The formula for the Beer Bread can be found on pages 141 - 142 of the book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

Making the Poolish

The next step is to make the poolish.  You actually make this the night before you bake the bread. You can either time the grains so that you grind them the day you want to bake the bread or grind them and put them in a container to keep until your ready to use them.  I keep my malted barley in the freezer.

The poolish is made by adding the yeast to the water, then adding the flour and mixing until smooth. 

Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70 degrees. 

These days, it's hotter than 70 degrees in my house even with the air on so I was concerned about how the poolish would perform, but it seemed to be very happy.  It rested on the counter for about 14 hours.

Making the Dough

Place all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, including the ground barley and the poolish.  I mixed the beer with the water and warmed it up a bit so that the temperature of the dough would reach the desired 75 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients together.  Add flour or water until the dough reaches a moderately loose hydration. I started out using my danish dough whisk for this step, then finished it using wet hands.

Let the dough bulk ferment for 2 hours.

Fold the dough after 1 hour of the bulk fermentation to help develop the gluten.

This is the dough after 2 hours of bulk fermentation.

Shaping the Dough

I shaped the first loaf as a round and placed it in my La Cloche to rise for an hour.

I formed the other loaf as a batard (torpedo shape) and placed it on parchment paper to proof for an hour or so. 

After the batard had proofed, I scored it using my serrated knife. 

Then baked it on a baking stone that had been preheated at 450 degrees. The loaf baked for about 40 minutes until it was golden brown.  Then I removed it to a cooling rack to cool.

While the first loaf was baking, I soaked the La Cloche lid in water for about 15 minutes.  Once the loaf in the la cloche had risen sufficiently.

I scored it into the pound pattern using a serrated knife.

Then I placed the loaf in the preheated 450 degrees oven. And put the lid on the la cloche.

I baked the loaf with the lid on for about 25 minutes, then removed the lid and baked it another 15 minutes without the lid so that the loaf would be crispy on the outside.  I baked the loaf until it was golden brown and crispy.

Here is a picture of the crumb.  It tasted pretty good especially toasted with cheese.  I didn't take a picture of the toast, but we sure enjoyed it. 

It also tastes good with peanut butter and homemade Rhubarb Orange Jam.  I didn't take a picture of that either but my boyfriend enjoyed it.  I sent the rest of this loaf home with him and froze the other one.  We'll see how well it does in the freezer.

This Beer Bread has been YeastSpotted. Please visit Wild Yeast to view all of the lovely breads in the roundup.

Happy Baking!

The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.


  1. I never realized how many different types of bread there were until I started baking my own. And reading your blog. And Sandy's. And all the other bread baker's out there. I bet this smelled wonderful baking. It looks enticing.

  2. What a great post - I loved seeing your barley malt process like that :)

    We don't have la cloches here. Do they make a big difference to the final bread do you think?

  3. I like using the la cloche because it simulates a brick oven and makes the bread crispy on the outside. You can get a similar effect by using a baking stone and a steam pan underneath, but I enjoy using the la cloche to add some variety. Plus, the dough can rise and bake in the la cloche so you don't have to mess up another bowl.

  4. Great post, I enjoyed seeing the sprouted barley. This was an unusual bread.


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