Guinness Sourdough (Part One)

Six months before the pandemic lockdown began, we took one of our last major family vacations. The details of that trip are best left for another day, and another post, but the point is that on a rainy afternoon in August 2019 I found myself touring the Guinness Storehouse brewery tour in Dublin, Ireland.

I’ve got a bit of Irish blood in me, so the trip was one part heritage trip and one part explore Dublin like a tourist trip. The tourist part of me drank a lot of Guinness.

I drank a pint alongside a rich Irish stew and some bread the night before my half marathon and ran one of my best times of the season.

I drank a pint sitting at the bar in Temple Bar Pub, while other tourists stood just outside the door snapping selfies in front of the famous pub.

I drank a pint atop the viewing gallery of the the storehouse tour after learning how to pour, taste, and properly drink a glass of the rich brown stout.

A year and a half later I can confidently claim I don’t go very long without a few cans of the precious brew stocked in my fridge.

So, why not bake a lof of sourdough with it?

As I write this, the following ingredients are hydrating in a bowl on my countertop:

most of 1 can (363g) Guinness Stout
500g white bread flour
12g salt
250g of active sourdough starter

Regular readers will recall that just last weekend I baked an amazing loaf of beer-based sourdough with a can of honey brown lager. The result of this amber ale taking the place of tapwater in my recipe was a rich and flavourful bread that unfortunately seemed to disappear from the counter in less than 24 hours. (I strongly suspect hungry family members.)

A week later, though I’ve only got a regular two-day weekend to work within, I’m repeating my beer bread experimenting with one of my precious cans of Guinness a much darker and richer beer than the honey brown lager from last attempt.

The mixed ingredients are slowly hydrating on the counter as I wait out my gluten-building, hours-long folding efforts, killing the time writing this post.

Compared to the honey brown bread dough last weekend, this batch is considerably darker and smells much more strongly of beer. It gives me hope for a final baked bread that has a more obvious beer flavour.

The next steps will be a long, cool rise in the fridge, a final proof for most of Sunday, and a scruptious bake on Sunday evening … before samples and bedtime.

Tune in Monday for the exciting conclusion!