Weissbier Zwiebel Brot

Beer and Onion bread

For those comfortable with German, the above title will no doubt make complete sense – for non-German speakers, the title is basically ‘Wheat Beer Onion bread’.

This loaf has an interesting aroma and flavour, plus a soft, ‘gummy’ crumb due to the incorporation of rye flour in the leaven.  I was pleased with the overall result and am sure it’s one that I’ll make again.


For the preferment –

  • 150g 50/50 leaven (50% white flour, 50% rye flour) at 100% hydration
  • 100ml de-alcoholised wheat beer
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped and sauteed in veg oil until soft and caramelising

For the dough –

  • 30g oat flakes
  • 75g wholemeal
  • 350g strong white
  • 2 tsp ground salt
  • 3/4 heaped tsp instant yeast
  • 130ml water
  • the preferment


Make the preferment up the night before baking.  Heat up the wheat beer to boiling point then remove from the heat straight away and pour into a bowl to cool.  This drives off the alcohol from the beer.  Saute the finely chopped onion in oil, then add it to the wheat beer.

Once cool, add the leaven and mix in well, cover and fridge overnight.

Next day, take the preferment out of the fridge about an hour before you want to prepare the loaf (in order to let it warm up to room temp).  Measure out the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and combine then together well.  Add the water to your preferment and mix it well, before pouring onto the dry ingredients and beginning to mix together by hand.  Follow the minimal kneading technique, working the dough at intervals of 10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes, at which point it should be shaped and placed in a proofing basket for 90 to 120 minutes.

Before the end of the proofing period, fire up the oven to Gas 9 (260 C) with your baking stone inside.  Once up to temp, get the bread into the oven and bake for 40 minutes, reducing the heat to Gas 7 (230 C) halfway through.  Remember to rotate the loaf if necessary, if your oven (like mine) doesn’t cook evenly front to back.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into it.

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