Cherry Ale Pecan Rye Bread

21 Mar

I stopped off at Whole Foods over the weekend and couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of Cherry Ale to try in a bread recipe.  I also picked up some coconut flour which I will have to try at some later point when I figure out the best use for it.

I have yet to include any nuts in any of my breads since my wife doesn’t really like them, but I figured it was time to try a recipe with my favorite pecans.  Cherry Ale, pecans…..what goes together with these 2 ingredients, but some roasted garlic and rye.

I included some first clear flour to give the dough some structure and added some barley flour to make it even more interesting.  The final result was a bread with an excellent crunch, moist crumb and sour/cherry ale flavor.  This bread goes perfect with a nice bowl of soup or stew or some good cheese.


15.5 ounces 65% Hydration Starter Refreshed (I used my existing starter which is uses AP flour)

16 oz. Cherry Ale (room temperature)

9 ounces First Clear Flour (or strong bread flour)

4 ounces White Rye Flour

4 ounces Medium Rye Flour

2 ounces Barley Flour

6 ounces  Roasted Garlic (chopped)

2 ounces Chopped Pecans

2 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon Pistachio Oil


Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the cherry ale with the starter to break up the starter.

Add the flours, and oil, and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes

Add the salt Mix for 4 minutes more on medium speed, adding more flour if necessary to produce a slightly sticky ball of dough.  Now add the garlic and nuts and mix until incorporated.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form a ball.

Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Leave the covered dough in your bowl at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours and then put it in your refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.

When ready to bake the bread, take the bowl out of your refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.  After 2 hours shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don’t de-gas it.  Place it in your bowl,banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 – 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Let cool on cooling rack and enjoy!

Please visit the Yeast Spotting Site here: for lots of cool recipes

5 Responses to “Cherry Ale Pecan Rye Bread”

  1. Veronika March 30, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Hey there!

    Was just looking through the recent posts and saw that you are using a pretty liquid dough in a bucket for your breads (or at least this one), which made me wonder – do you perhaps have more experience (than me) with long-fermenting breads and whole wheat flour?

    I’ve recently received a couple of bags of the fancy American hard white wheat whole wheat flour, and the first two breads did turn out gorgeous, but I think that the dough made with half bread flour (12% protein) and half high-protein (12% also) whole wheat flour needs more hydration than my usual (more than rye actually), and I was curious if you would have a recommendation – poking around online comes up with vastly different advice.

    • mookielovesbread March 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      Hi Veronika,
      I tend to follow Peter Reinhart’s basic method for most of my sourdough baking. I find the large amount of starter coupled with 3-4 stretch and folds done every 10-15 minutes along with an overnight retardation helps build enough gluten strength and develops an excellent crumb and flavor. I highly recommend you give one of my formulas a go. I usually start out with a 65% hydration starter which I refresh 1-2 days before baking and let it sit out overnight before refrigerating the next morning. When I’m ready to bake I add the cold starter with some 90 degree F. water in my mixer to break it up. I then add the flours, mix on low or by hand if so inclined for 1-2 minutes. I recently started to add the salt after a 10-15 minute rest, but I’m not sure in this procedure if it reallly makes that much of a difference. This is one of those things that everyone has a different opinion about.
      After the initial rest I add the salt, mix for 4 minutes on medium low. I try not to add too much flour unless I feel the dough is way too moist. As you know the long retardation in the fridge tends to help develop the gluten very nicely. If your dough is too slack you can also add a few more stretch and folds before letting it rest for around hours and throwing it in the fridge.

      I hope this helps and I hope I answered your question. If not, feel free to ask away and I will be very happy and honored to try and help you any way I can.

      One important note is to make sure your starter is active or you could end up with a brick….I just tried making a multi-grain bread using a new starter I made from my AP flour mother starter. I added rye and whole wheat, but I think I added too much and the starter never really behaved the way one would want it to. The end result was a brick I ended up tossing out. I had my blog all written up too, but sadly that will remain in the “Draft Mode” until I give it another try!


      • Veronika March 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm #


        Thanks for the long and detailed reply! First of all, I will definitely give your blog history another look and see what I can find.

        I don’t have a stand mixer, so my modus operandi when working with starter is refresh, let it sit 12-48 hours, and use it when active (never had problems with that since it matured, really). Then I mix up the dough using a hand mixer with dough hooks (they do a lovely job of getting the gluten developed initially), and leave it out overnight to ferment, then do a stretch and fold or a few, shape it into a proofing basket, proof and bake. With levain, I mix up levain, ferment that overnight and then mix the dough and proceed with much shorter bulk proof and final proof from there.

        I’ve used Jan Hedh’s formulas for kneaded bread baking with multigrains,and whole grains, and those work pretty well. The trouble I ran into is when I tried to use the no-knead 5-min-a-day method (refrigerated very high-hydration dough) with half whole wheat flour and half bread flour. Even adding a quarter more water did not seem to do the trick of getting the dough wet enough (though it did make lovely bread), and what I was really trying to figure out is the proportion of water that needs to be added to the dough in order to get it the same or similar wetness level as it would be for bread flour. I hope that makes sense.

        Right now, my idea of how to handle it involves mixing up the dough and just adding water till I think it’s wet enough by eye and feel and then back-calculating how much water I have used, but I was wondering if you knew approximately what the conversion is.

        I hope you don’t mind the essay here!

        • mookielovesbread March 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

          Ok, now I know what you are getting at. I don’t use a specific conversion but I do recall seeing something in one of my bread books about whole grains. I will find the reference and get back to you shortly. If you look at some of my posts you could easily use the liquid amount as a basis but your starter needs to be at a similar hydration or you have to adjust accordingly.

        • mookielovesbread March 31, 2012 at 9:17 am #

          I’m not sure if you saw my reply from last night, but maybe it didn’t post since I dd it from my phone.
          Accordng to Peter Reinhart’s book Artisan Breads Every Day, you can substitute whole wheat or whole grain flour for bread flour by weight and increase the water by 1/2 tablespoon, .25 oz/7 grams for every 3 1/2 tbs, 1 oz/28.5 g of whole grain flour. I started out using this basic formula when creating some of my recipes and also experimented with purposely making the dough more hydrated to see how far I could go. I hope this helps. Let me know if you try it and you are sucessful.

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