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Bread in Under Two Minutes

Feb 9, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

After the presentation demo in January we invited Woody to come with us to Hope for the weekend. We spent the whole weekend cooking and baking. I made him roast duck (he only had it once before in his life), wild Concord grape pie with grapes stored in the freezer since Summer of 1994 (you do the math!) that tasted as fresh as the day they were picked by me, blueberry pancakes with Seville orange curd, and beer bread for his ham sandwich to take on the plane.

I've decided that the time has come to label the sugar and salt antique glass canisters which are so close to identical that I ended up putting sugar in the bread instead of salt. I knew for sure I had put in what I thought to be salt but was puzzled why it rose faster than usual and also had a flat taste. It took several days for it to come to me--it was sugar not salt! This was not a total disaster as the ham was salty and it also led me to reinvestigate the recipe that is in The Bread Bible. It is for a free-form loaf made in the food processor. I thought it would make a great sandwich bread baked in a loaf pan but needed to have a softer crust so I added oil and also my beloved stiff starter for extra moistness and flavor.

This is my personal contribution to the "no knead bread" category. It is both faster and easier to handle and has more depth of flavor from the beer and the starter. If you prefer the same technique can be used replacing the beer with water. I'm not a beer drinker but I enjoy the slight bitterness of the stout. Elliott does not.

It is a fabulous bread with ham, cheddar cheese, and even orange marmalade which I made last week. Call it fighting bitter with bitter!

Edit: A correction has been made to the ingredients for this recipe because oil was missing from the original list.

Oven Temperature: 375°F.

Baking Time:  30 to 35 minutes

Beer Bread Loaf

Makes: An 8 inch by 4 inch by 4 5/8 inch high loaf








instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons


4 grams

malt powder or
barley malt syrup, or

1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon

0.3 ounce
0.7 ounce
0.5 ounce

9.3 grams
21 grams
12.5 grams

bread flour, preferably Harvest King

2 1/3 cups + 2 tablespoons

12.3    ounces

351 grams

whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon

about 1 ounce

30 grams

old starter



65 to 80 grams

porter or guinness stout
(room temperature,
or refrigerated if using
food processor)

1 liquid cup plus 2 tablespoons
(9 fluid ounces)

9 ounces

255 grams


3 tablespoons

1.5 ounces

40 grams


1 1/2 teaspoons


9 grams

Equipment: A 6 cup loaf pan, lightly coated with cookie spray. A baking stone

NOTE: If you are not weighing the beer you will need to allow it to sit until the head subsides to get an accurate measure.

1) Mix the dough
In a food processor bowl with metal blades add the yeast, malt, or sugar, the bread flour, and the whole wheat flour. Process 30 seconds to mix. Pulse in the salt. Add the starter and process for a about 15 seconds until combined. With the motor on the dough cycle, add the beer and oil, and after it comes together, process 45 seconds. (The dough will weigh about 1 pound, 11.3 ounces/ 775 grams with the starter.)  If the dough doesn’t clean the bowl add about 2 tablespoons/0.7 ounce/20 grams of flour and process for a few seconds to incorporate. The dough should be tacky.

2) Let the dough rise
Place the dough into a 2 quart dough rising container or bowl, coated lightly with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape mark on the side of the container approximately where double the height would be. Allow the dough to rise (ideally at 75°F to 80°F) until doubled, 2 to 2  1/2 hours.

3) Shape the dough and let it rise or for extra flavor refrigerate overnight
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press down on it gently to flatten it into a rectange. Dimple it with your finger tips to elminate any large air bubbles and let it rest covered for 15 minutes. Shape it into a loaf and set it in the prepared loaf pan. With starter, when pressed down it will be 3/4 inch from the top of the pan. Cover it with a large container or oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until almost doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours and when pressed gently with a finger the depression very slowly fills in. It should be about 1 1/2 inches above the sides of the pan at the highest center point.

4) Preheat the oven
1 hour  before baking preheat the oven to 375°F.  Have the oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it and a cast iron pan or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.

5) Bake the bread
Quickly but gently set the loaf pan on the hot stone or hot baking sheet and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the pan and continue baking 15 to 25 or until the bread is golden brown a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F.If the sides are pale bake the bread for the last 5 minutes directly on the stone.

6) Cool the bread
Remove the bread from the oven, unmold it from the pan, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely, top-side up. It keeps well for 2 days at room temperature, wrapped airtight.

Pointers for Success
Avoid using honey for this bread because the beer darkens the crust so honey would make it too brown and have a tendency to burn.

“Peculiar Ale” made a delicious bread and you can also try your favorite beer to vary the flavor.

If not using starter decrease the salt by 1/8 teaspoon

Note: the little white specks on the crust are due to the overnight shaped rise.


Hi Kathy,
Rose's preference is to bake breads in the oven. However, Rose will use a bread machine for mixing the dough, which she describes on page 48 in The Bread Bible. We suggest you also check with your bread machine's manual for adapting oven bread recipes for your machine.
Rose & Woody


Kathy Scott
Kathy Scott
09/ 4/2013 05:20 PM

I just wondered if you have bread maker recipes?


The bread just came out of the oven, I want to thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe my house smell so good. nothing like Home made bread.

Just want to note that I did not add the starter, I follow your instruction regard the salt. the height came 3 1/4 inches.
again thank you and have a great weekend.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from bindhya
08/13/2012 01:51 PM

Hi bindhya,
Old starter is the starter left over from feeding your starter. Since starters are generally refreshened every week or other week, you will easily have plenty of old starter for any recipe asking for it. The old starter can also be frozen for months. Rose has several starter recipes in The Bread Bible; and there are many on the web. There is an article posting on the blog, Adding Old Starter to Bread Dough, that can give you some additional information.
You want to check a bakery supply store or a bakery in your area for cream of tartar. We do not know the german name for it.
Rose & Woody


Hello Rose,
Recently i brought yout christmas cookies and cake bible books. i am so thrilled in baking..thank you so much.. u r such a great teacher also.!! i have one doubt. what is this old starter.?how i i can make that and one more is pls name one substitute for cream of tartar. here in switzerland i can not find that.or can u please tell its name in german..?


that was me marilyn--from my iphone in the car--i always forget i have to put in name and email for it to have my gravatar and rose color.


Marilyn the malt is plain!


Marilyn Daly
Marilyn Daly
01/13/2012 01:12 PM

Dear Rose,
Is the malt powder in the beer bread plain malt powder or diastatic malt powder? I love your Bread Bible. Thanks,


Frank Metzger
Frank Metzger
08/ 4/2011 09:18 PM

Dear Rose, (or Woody)

i have made the Stud Muffin several times to great success - tastes wonderful and keeps very well.

BUT: The shape is never like yours in the picture in the bread bible. If i let it rise to an inch above the souffle dish, it turns out mushroom shaped during baking. That is, the top rolls down a bit over the outside of the dish.

Any suggestions that will help keep it straight-sided?

Thanks a lot!



I purchased my baking stone from Pampered Chef and have been using it for years. I just wash it off with water and never use soap. I am thinking about buying another one since, Ive been making so much bread. Love your site. Don't have your Bread book yet, but do have the Cake Bible.


I have tried more starters than I care to recount and find the one in The Bread Bible cannot be beat. It is simple to make, forgiving of long periods of in attention and tasty. Since all starters revert to local flora, why bother with buying any.


I have read that it is possible to dry sourdough starter and then keep it for ages in this dry state. To restart it, take a piece, add water, and then allow it to awaken from it's dormant state. Then begin feeding it until it reaches the necessary strength to use. I imagine that it is worth a try.


Nancy Howard
Nancy Howard
08/ 3/2011 12:27 AM

Rose, where can I find a sure-fire recipe for sour-dough starter? Mine died this summer...I'd had it for years but this summer I didn't care for it.
This beer bread sounds fabulous.


When i make pizza I use a baking stone in the oven but to get the dough in neatly i use parchment paper to use as a slide. The trick I use is to sprinkle fine polenta or semolina on to the parchment first, place the dough on this and then put this onto the oven. Sometimes I manage to pull the parchment away as I place it in the oven but most times I give it a couple of minutes and then with a sharp tug it comes away cleanly. It's rather like that trick you see on stage where they pull a cloth from under a set teatable!!!


using parchment paper to bake on baking stone: recently, i've been preheating oven with a baking stone and then slide the bread with a parchment paper - i find that the parchment paper baked into the bread. Should I be greasing the parchment paper first?

different scenario: in the case of a wet dough - i lined the pan with parchment paper and then baked the dough (same pan used for proofing). Same result, again I didn't grease the parchment paper first.

Pls advise. Thanks.


Rose, I have been looking for a good baking stone, and I would like to know where did you purchase the baking stone pictured above.


03/ 5/2008 03:45 PM

Hi Rose,
I love The Bread Bible (third edition) and appreciate your attention to detail. For months, I've been experimenting with recipes for Panettone and my husband and four children agree with me that yours is the closest to the best Italian brands that we've grown up with as full-blooded Italians.
We prefer the traditional fruit mix to the chestnuts and we also prefer a sweeter bread.
My question: I read in the Bible that I may substitute other dried fruit for the chestnuts, but can I replace sugar for the syrup? I used light corn syrup (Karo) in your recipe because I cannot find the one you suggest. In your similar Basic Brioche recipe you do use sugar, but I'm afraid that amount would still be a little less sweet than we would like. I use "SAF" Gold Yeast which will help boost the rise with the extra sugar. Do I add the sugar as I would the syrup in the starter? Do I add the sugar along with the flour and yeast in the dough?


Time to bake some quick baking bread! Yum.


Thanks, Rose!


it's really interesting--mixing in the food processor quickly develops the gluten but the blades cut it. then when it rests it quickly repairs itself the way a broken limb would, i.e. if you tear the gluten (or a ligament) it's never the same but cutting it it repairs even stronger!


This no-knead bread looks and sounds good. I tried the no-knead bread recipe that was in the Washington Post last fall, and found it lacking in both texture and structure. Rose, (gosh I feel so strange writing you as if you are a close friend), your bread appears to have a good structure. Is that because you mix it in a processor? There must be some development of the gluten by the mixing, although there is no kneading.

The recipe in the Post had virtually no mixing, other than what you have to do to blend the ingredients, and suffered for it, IMO.

I feel compelled to buy the Bread Bible, now. Not a bad thing. :)


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
02/14/2008 12:52 PM

Thanks for the extra advice, I appreciate it. I haven't tried to maintain a starter in a few years, I just don't bake bread often enough in summer to justify the effort involved. Guess I'll just have to experiment someday, though.


Probably at least two weeks, but it is not some much aging, because you have to keep feeding it periodically. The biga could be the first step towards a starter, but you would have to actively work with it and not just let it sit around for a couple of weeks (I'm guessing it would die for lack of food or turn into something nasty).

When you have an active starter, if you let it sit out a day or two, the acidity developed "melts" (destroys) the gluten--it kind of turns into a puddle or hockey puck. That wouldn't happen with a biga if you left it out for a day or two--it would probably just deflate a little.


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
02/13/2008 04:15 PM

So how long would a starter have to age before it's sour enough to be something more than a biga? Guess I don't understand the subtleties. :)


Sounds like you actually made a biga, which adds great flavor to bread, but lacking the acid content of old starter, won't have the same effect, such as preserving or making the bread easier to shape.


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
02/13/2008 12:57 PM

I made some of this bread dough yesterday, let it rest in the fridge overnight, and shaped it into two-ounce blobs for rolls. Seemed to work fine, FWIW.

(Oh, and as for the 'old starter', the day before, I just measured out roughly 40g of flour (some whole wheat, some bread flour) and the same amount of water, added a tiny bit of yeast and stirred it together. I let it sit out, covered, at room temperature overnight. By the next day it had a slightly sour fragrance, and seemed okay, so I blended it in to my dough, as directed. Not sure it was essential, but I was curious, just to see what would happen.)


fay--that was so REAL!!!


excellent advice matthew. i've found that moister breads stay pinched together better as well! and be sure to let the dough rest on the counter, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes to relax before shaping.


Cors, when you are shaping your loaf, make sure you pinch the seam together well so that it doesn't separate and place it on the bottom of the pan. Also, it is helpful to rock the loaf back and forth gently on the counter after shaping to develop some tension on the surface of the bread to contain the rise and make a beautiful shape. I recommend you read the shaping section in chapter 1 of the bread bible for more information.


Hi Rose,
I love your blog, and have been a fan of yours since my first marriage (many years ago). I especially liked the comment--I like the..stout. Elliot does not. I am fascinated by food in marriage and I have just started a video series with the same title. Have a look for laughs: http://blip.tv/file/655736/



Hi Rose,
All your breads really look good and some of the ones I tried really tastes superb. My problem with my bread is when it's in the loaf pan and is already baking, one side always seem to open. Could you give me some pointers on shaping loaf breads and batard. Many thanks and more power to you!!!


Hi Rose,
All your breads really look good and some of the ones I tried really tastes superb. My problem with my bread is when it's in the loaf pan and is already baking, one side always seem to open. Could you give me some pointers on shaping loaf breads and batard. Many thanks and more power to you!!!


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
02/11/2008 09:37 PM

Thanks for the extra input, Rose. I'll make a note about the oil, too. :)

I can't ever seem to keep a starter going all year, my baking efforts tend to die off in summer when things get so hot, and then I forget to start a new one in winter.


What a fun-tastic bread. Once I added salt instead of sugar when doing a Peruvian purple corn fruit punch demo at a friends house!

Cooks Illustrated recently had an article on improving the taste of NK breads, mentioning beer.

Last week, I made Alton Brown's basic white bread. The rise was nice and the crumb feathery and beautiful, but I just find basic bread tasting too plain! The taste goes stale in a day or so, and even toasting it after doesn't make the bread much better.

Perhaps, I am so used to the complex flavor of sourdough starter?


joel, when i made a bread friday night and smelled it baking as i was working on my manuscript several rooms away i found just breathing it in was the greatest pleasure imaginable and found myself hoping that many people around the world were experiencing the same!


yikes--i left out the oil!!! it's 3 tablespoons/40 grams/ 1.5 ounces

also, if your food processor should stall, just let it rest a few minutes before continuing.


Rose, I am really anxious to make this bread, but I cannot find the amount of oil to add. You mention it in the instructions, but there is no amount listed in the ingredients. Could it possibly be the 2 Tablespoons listed with the beer in order to make up 9 ounces?


Rose, I just baked the ciabatta from the BB, my first attempt at bread, and I am in heaven! Thank you! I've already polished off half the loaf all by myself, but I've got another biga sitting in my room for tomorrow!


Eileen Weiss
Eileen Weiss
02/ 9/2008 05:59 PM

I have made the Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe from the Cake Bible many times. It is my favorite chocolate cake. When we were visiting our kids in Nevada, at 6500 feet above sea level I made the cake with the adjustments you list in the Cake Bible. The cake was dry, lacked flavor and was very crumbly. Since I visit there often (three little grandchildren) please help me to understand what might have gone wrong


no but of course it will not be quite as high in the pan!


Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
02/ 9/2008 01:16 PM

Rose, If not using old starter, do I need to add anything else at all to the recipe?? Seems kind of odd to just leave out so much. :)



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