About 6 weeks ago I was excited because my first batch of Irish Red ale was almost ready to be consumed. Unfortunately when I cracked open my first bottle and had a taste I was met with a very sour and gross flavour! The beer was wrecked! Instead of drinking a smooth red tinge ale I was met with a punch in the face. What happened was that a wild yeast strand got into the beer and created the off flavour. I believe in the three R's (Reduce, reuse, recycle) and instead of throwing the entire batch I was bound and determined to win the fight and make something out of this awful tasting sludge.
I'll be honest, my knowledge of baked goods is limited, but I knew that this beer had the potential of making a really good sour dough. I had already achieved the sour flavour that is so desirable in sour dough bread, so I went to work. This is what I came up with.
Every good sour dough recipe starts with a good starter. To make your own you can mix 2 cups water with 2 cups flour and mix well. For this recipe I mixed two cups of my sour beer with two cups of flour. The basic idea of sour dough starters is that you allow the wild yeast that already exists in the flour/water/air a place to breed and multiply. This will create the unique sour flavour you are looking for. Since I already had that sour flavour I only needed to develop the yeast that was already in the beer. This took only a few days at room temperature. Here's what it looked like.
The beautiful thing about the starter is that it's forgiving. So long as you keep the yeast alive you could use the same starter for years. I was reading online that one person had the same starter going for over 20 years. You have to keep feeding it with water and flour but it is possible. Keep your yeast alive!
Irish Red Sour Dough Bread
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Beer at room temperature. (Irish Red) Note that if you are using a commercial beer it has been pasteurized and the yeast has been killed. You will need to either add a little bread yeast or let it stand for a few days to let wild strands of yeast to develop and grow.
In a mixing bowl mix together the beer and flour together making sure there are no lumps. Set aside in a warm place (top of a fridge is a good place) and let the yeast GROW!
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Sourdough Starter
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons of Salt
5-7 Cups Floor
1/2 Cup Brewing Grains (optional)
In a small pot scald the milk. Add butter, sugar, and salt and stir until butter is melted and sugar and salt is dissolved. Cool mixture to room temperature. Once the milk mixture is at room temperature stir in the sourdough starter and baking soda. Add the flour one cup at a time mixing until it forms a firm yet slightly tacky dough. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and on a hard clean and floured surface begin to kneed the dough for about five minutes. Once you are done kneading set the dough back in your mixing bowl and set aside in a warm area for about 3 hours to allow the dough to rise, about double in size. Grease 2 bread pans.
When it has risen punch air out of dough and separate into two loafs. Place the two loafs in the bread pans and put aside for another thirty minuets, or until the dough has risen slightly above the bread pans. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the loaves for 30 minutes. Once the bread has finished baking, cool the bread and enjoy!
This is what mine looked like.