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Sour Ale Sourdough Bread

Sour Ale Sourdough Bread

YES! Here’s a day we can actually get in to – National Sourdough Bread Day! Some of us around here freakin’ LOVE sourdough bread. Apparently we aren’t alone. According to the National Day Calendar, sourdough’s been around for quite a while.

“San Francisco sourdough is the most famous sourdough bread made in the United States today.  In contrast to sourdough production in other areas of the country, the San Francisco variety has remained in continuous production since 1849, with some bakeries able to trace their starters back to California’s Gold Rush period. Many restaurant chains keep it as a menu staple. Sourdough bread is a great side to your soup or stew or toasted with your morning cereal.”

Making a loaf today – with starter for later!

Sour Ale Sourdough Starter

Step one:

Combine 1 cup flour (whole wheat flour works best to start), and ½ cup sour ale that has both lactobacilli and Brettanomyces (ask at your local bottle shop, a beer like this should be easy to find) in a glass, ceramic, or clay crock. Stir until all the flour has been moistened. Cover loosely with a lid or plastic wrap (not air tight, you want some air going into the crock) and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. (Cover the remaining beer and allow to sit at room temperature for your next two steps).

Step two:

After 24 hours stir the mixture, remove all but ½ cup discarding the rest. Add 1 scant cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup room temperature beer. Stir the 1/2 cup starter, flour, and beer, until well combined, cover and let sit at room temperate.

Step three:

Continue feeding once a day as directed in step two for three days. Once 12 ounces of beer has been used, switch to warm water (filtered water works best). On the fourth day begin feeding twice a day, as directed in step two. One feeding first thing in the morning, second feeding at night.

Step four:

Once your starter doubles in size in less than 2 hours, it’s ready to use. This could take as little as one week and as many as three weeks. Colder environments will take longer, warmer temperatures will be quicker. Once you’re ready to use the starter measure out what you need for your recipe, feed your starter and place in the fridge.

Step five:

Feed your starter once a week. It can live indefinitely, starters have been known to live for decades, and in some communities are passed down through generations. When you want to use your starter, take it out of the fridge, feed it, and allow to come to room temperature before using (about 6 hours, overnight if the room is cold). Feed it again and then put away.

Sour Ale Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1 loaf


Step one:

  • ¼ cup sour ale starter (recipe listed above)
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup water

Step two:

  • 2 cup flour
  • ½ cup room temperature beer (sour ale or wheat beer),
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt


  • Add ¼ cup room temperature starter, ½ cup flour, and ½ warm water to a small bowl. Stir to combine. Cover loosely and leave on the counter for 6 hours or up to overnight.
  • Add the remaining flour, ½ cup room temperature beer, and 1 teaspoon sugar to the bowl. Stir until combined.
  • Add the dough to a well floured surface, kneading until the dough is no longer sticky and very elastic, about 20 minutes (this can be done in phases). Towards the end of kneading, add in the kosher salt (salt is very important for flavor but can impede the yeast so it’s best to add it last).
  • Oil the inside of a large bowl. Add the ball of dough to the bowl, loosely cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 4-6 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Once the dough has risen, it will probably also have spread. Gently tuck the sides under the dough to make a smaller, but higher, ball of dough, transfer to a lightly oiled Dutch oven. Using a sharp knife, slice the top of the bread in an X, sprinkle with coarse salt. Add the lid tightly onto the pot.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until the dough has a hard crust and is dark brown.
  • Slice, serve warm.

Thanks to the Beeroness  for this recipe.


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