Caraway and Porter Loaf

This loaf incorporates porter, a dark, flavoursome type of beer somewhat out of vogue these days, and pairs it with the distinctive liquorice notes of caraway seeds. If you can't find a porter, any dark real ale will do. A pre-ferment called a sponge is used in advance to enhance both the flavour and texture.

For the sponge:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 325g porter or other dark ale
  • 1g easy-blend yeast/1g dried yeast, reconstituted

In a bowl, combine the flour, porter and yeast and mix thoroughly to form a batter. This is the sponge. Cover with a teatowel or clingfilm and leave overnight/about 12 hours, at room temperature. It is ready to use once it is frothy and full of bubbles.

Once the sponge is ready, you use it to make the bread dough itself.

  • All of the sponge
  • 125g strong white flour
  • 125g rye flour
  • 8g caraway seeds
  • 5g salt
  1. Combine all the ingredients and knead for 10 minutes by hand or using a food mixer on a low to medium speed. Leave the dough, covered, to rise. This will take longer than usual - 2-3 hours, or until roughly doubled in size.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball or oval and leave to prove, preferably in a banneton or brotform covered by a tea towel. This should take about 2 hours.
  3. Bake in an oven preheated to 240°c for about 30 minutes. Once baked, leave to cool on a rack covered by a tea towel.

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