Beer Bread / Pain à la Bière from The Art Of French Pastry

A few years ago I invested in a few professional level courses at French Pastry School Chicago. The extensive workshops were a game changer for me  and my level of confidence  in the kitchen. I had some great instructors who are really pushing the scene the pastry arts .  One of the co founders of the school  Jacquy Pfeiffer just released a wonderful book for serious bakers called The Art Of French Pastry. It’s the definitive book on pastry. You may also remember him form the film Kings Of Pastry. I highly recommend this book. When I first heard of its existence in a press release I snapped it up. This book is percise and demanding . Recipes are given in weights and approxmiate measures, although weights are preferable for this type of baking.  The layout of the recipes is how I remember from my course books at French Pastry Chicago and very exact in order of use. One needs to read and reread each recipe, because you will miss something. Its that precise. He even gives Before You Begin tips. I love how he finishes each recipe with a It’s Done When It’s Done  and few helpful tips to look for. Sweet to Savory, this book has it , with delightful stories of his learning the craft of pastry.


This recipe takes two days. I made my first part  of fermented dough mid morning day one. The next morning  I finished the rest of the steps. The ovens need to preheat at a high temp for an hour with the baking stones. Be careful and have proper ventilation as my oven started to smoke. So make sure your baking stones are clear of any residue, etc and high temperatures are needed to achieve the proper technique.


It’s really important to let the bread in its final rise set and form a tiger crust with the beer mixture. I used a very  dark Köstritzer Schwarzbier. As this is complex recipe with many details , I’m just giving an adaptation with the ingredients and basic techniques. For the wealth of all the other information, you need to get the book. Temperatures of ingredients, kneading techniques,etc are gone into more depth in the actual book.

Beer Bread / Pain à la Bière from The Art Of French Pastry
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: French/ Alsatian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Fermented Dough
  • Water 63 grams or ¼ cup
  • Dry Yeast 0.4 grams or ⅛ tsp
  • Bread Flour 100 grams or ¾ cup plus 1 tsp
  • Sea Salt 2 grams or ¼ tsp
  • Dough
  • 15 grams Potato Flakes or 65 grams Unsalted mashed cooked Potatoes or 2½ tbsp or ⅓ cup
  • Water ( if using potato flakes) 50 grams or Scant ¼ cup
  • Bread Flour 125 grams or 1 cup
  • Rye Flour 60 grams or ½ cup
  • Sea Salt 5 grams or ¾ tsp
  • Dry Yeast 2 grams or ¾ tsp
  • Butter softened for pan( Low moisture, European Style )
  • Beer Mixture
  • Rye Flour 25 grams or 3 tbsp
  • Beer 45 grams or 3 tbsp
  • Sea Salt 1 gram or ⅛ tsp
  • Dry Yeast 0.5 grams or rounded ⅛ tsp
  • Rye Flour for dusting 15 grams or 2 tbsp
  • Water for steam 50 grams or scant ¼ cup
  1. Day 1
  2. Combine warm water and yeast in bowl of stand mixer .
  3. Add flour and sea salt.
  4. Using the paddle attachment mix at first low, then switch to dough hook to medium speed for 5 minutes.
  5. Rev up the speed a bit and continue to mix for 2 minutes.
  6. Scrape down the dough hook and bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball, place in small bowl, and cover with plastic wrap overnight.
  8. Day 2
  9. Remove the fermented dough and bring to room temperature for 30 minutes.
  10. Mix either your potato flakes with water or prep your mashed potato. Set aside.
  11. Combine water , bread flour, rye flour,sea salt,dry yeast, and the fermented dough in the bowl of stand mixer.
  12. Mix for 2 minutes with dough hook.
  13. Add potaot mixture and continue to mix for an additional 2 minutes on medium speed until dough is smooth,
  14. Scrape down dough, mix on medium speed for sevral more minutes until dough forms a smooth look and makes a slapping sound.
  15. Cover dough in bowl with palstic wrap and let rest for 1.5 hour.
  16. Dust surface with flour and turn dough out. Divide in two pieces.
  17. Knead each piece by hand until you ba achieve a smooth round sphere.
  18. Repeat with second piece.
  19. Cover both pieces with plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.
  20. Grease parchment lined sheet pans with softened butter.
  21. Shape each loaf into a triangular shape ( fold the sides into the center and press and pinch the seams).
  22. Place seam side down on parchment lined baking sheet apart from each other.
  23. Prep your beer mixture by mixing all beer mixture ingredients in a small bowl.
  24. Spread the beer mixture on each loaf with a pastry brush.
  25. Sift rye flour over each beer mixture covered loaf .
  26. Leave loaves uncovered now.
  27. Preheat oven to 450 F and place pizza or baking stones in .middle of oven.
  28. Place a small sheet pan on bottom rack of oven.
  29. Preheat oven and stones for 1 hour to insure a crust is created on bread.
  30. Continue to proof the loaves as the oven preheats for at least and hour. The beer mixture will start to crack to create a tiger skin.
  31. Slide an oven peel under the parchment where the loaves are,open oven quickly and and slide onto the stones. Pour the 50 grams of water on lower baking sheet to create steam for crust.
  32. Don't leave the oven door open longer than 30 seconds as you dont want to loose heat.
  33. After 10 minutes open oven quickly and remove the parchment paper from under the loaves. Close door and continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until loaves are dark brown and form a hollow sound when tapped on bottom.
  34. Cool on a wire rack.for at least 1 hour or more.
  35. Pour 50 grams of water


Perspectives and Influences : France

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One thought on “Beer Bread / Pain à la Bière from The Art Of French Pastry

  1. The Duo Dishes

    Happy to see your new posts! And love the return with a revised “global” standpoint. It pays to invest in professional classes if time and funds are available. The takeaway skills are perfect for at home cooking or stepping up your own small business.

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