Ale Bread and Potato and Chive Bread

In last night’s Rustic Artisan Bread class we made Ale Bread and Potato and Chive Bread.

Canada has a rich tradition of Ale brewing brought over by British settlers. It was common to use beer as a source of yeast and flavour in breads. Today all the yeast in manufactured beer is filtered out and lager surpassed ale in popularity.

For the Ale Bread, we first made a Poolish in the previous week’s class. We let it ferment to add additional flavour. The Poolish was made of Golden or Dark ale (but do not use Lager), strong baker’s flour, and yeast. The we added additional bread flour, wholewheat flour, yeast, water and salt to the Poolish. While it was bulk fermenting on the table, you could smell the ale in the bread getting stronger, which was very interesting because after the bread was baked, you didn’t really taste the ale at all. After the the bulk ferment, we divided the dough, and let it rest a bit longer before shaping the loaves into batards. We scored the loaves down the center and baked them in the stone oven.  The loaves turned out amazing, and had a really nice flavour to them, but not necessarily like beer as you may think by the name. 😀

Ale Bread.

Potato Bread became an Irish farmhouse staple in the late 19th century. It was a way of using leftover potatoes and “cutting” the bread, reducing the amount of more expensive wheat flour required.

For the Potato and Chive Bread we made a Biga the previous week of strong baker’s flour, water, and yeast and let it ferment. We then added additional water, yeast, strong baker’s flour, mashed potatoes (with or without skins, I left the skins on), salt, chopped fresh chives and the Biga. Separately we roasted a whole head of garlic in olive oil to also add to the mixture. After everything was mixed together, we bulk fermented the dough on the work surface covered with plastic to double in size. We then divided it and shaped boules and proofed to 80%. We then scored a fan pattern on the top of each loaf and baked. The result was a very deliciously flavourful, yet subtle bread. Yummy! 🙂

Potato and Chive Bread.
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