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Sourdough Beer Rye

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Loaded with rye, oats, beer and a sourdough smack, it’s no wonder the Cheese Board Collective—a Berkeley bakery co-op—has to bake these loaves three times a week. There, the bakers pour in a local Trumer Pils, but a fall porter works just as well. The rye makes for savory bookends to a ham sandwich; or, do as the shop’s customers do and snack on it with a bowl of borscht.

Makes: 2 loaves

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 14 cup water, warm
  • 1 12 cups bread flour
  • 34 cup medium or dark rye flour
  • 14 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 14 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 14 cup cracked rye
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sourdough starter
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 14 cup polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal


• In a small bowl, whisk the yeast into the warm water. Let the mixture rest 5 minutes.

• In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, oats, cornmeal, cracked rye, salt and caraway seeds. Add the yeast, sourdough starter and beer; affix the dough hook and mix on low speed 5 minutes or until the ingredients bind into a rough ball.

• Increase the speed to medium; continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and begins to lose its rough texture, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand until the dough is smooth and a bit shiny, about 3 minutes.

• Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large, oiled bowl, flipping the dough once to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

• Place the polenta or cornmeal in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the cornmeal. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into 2 round loaves. Fill a spray bottle with water and mist the loaves well, then roll each loaf in the bowl of cornmeal to coat.

• Place the loaves on the baking sheet and use a knife to slash the tops of the loaves. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot at least 11/4 hours until the loaves have expanded slightly and the slashes have opened more fully.

• Remove all but the middle rack from the oven; 15 minutes before baking, place a metal roasting pan on the floor of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

• Mist the tops and sides of the loaves again. Place the baking sheet with the loaves in the oven. Pour 1 cup ice water into the roasting pan below, and immediately close the oven door. Bake 5 minutes, then add 1 additional cup ice water to the roasting pan.

• Bake 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, then bake another 20 to 25 minutes for a total baking time of 40 to 45 minutes.

• When the bread develops a deep brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped, mist the loaves once more, and bake 1 minute more. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool.


Choose a American Pilsner for this recipe

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