4.9 from 10 reviews
Sourdough-like Beer Bread
Here is a bread that tastes like sourdough but doesn’t require a starter.
Yield: 1 loaf
Small loaf (1 lb bread machine)
  • ⅔ cup beer
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 tsp oil
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
Medium loaf (1½ lb bread machine)
  • 1 cup beer
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1 /2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
Large loaf (2 lb bread machine)
  • 1⅓ cups beer
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 TBSP plus 2 tsp oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2¼ tsp (one package) RED STAR Active Dry Yeast
  1. Have liquid ingredients at 80º F and all others at room temperature. Place into the pan in the order listed. Select a basic cycle and medium/normal crust. Check dough consistency after 5 minutes of kneading. The dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add beer, ½ to 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet and sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time. Remove bread when cycle is finished; cool. See our Bread Machine section for more helpful tips and information.

  1. Using ingredient amounts listed for the medium loaf, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Combine beer, water and oil; heat to 120 to 130ºF.

  2. Hand-Held Mixer Method
  3. Combine dry mixture and liquid ingredients in mixing bowl on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead on floured surface 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary.

  4. Stand Mixer Method
  5. Combine dry mixture and liquid ingredients in mixing bowl with paddle or beaters for 4 minutes on medium speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes. Using dough hook(s), gradually add enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Use additional flour if necessary. Knead 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  1. Have all ingredients at room temperature. Put dry mixture in processing bowl with steel blade. While motor is running, add liquid ingredients. Process until mixed. Continue processing, adding remaining flour until dough forms a ball.
  1. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Roll or pat into a 14- x 7-inch rectangle. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly pressing dough into roll. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place seam-side down on large greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. With very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes across top of loaf. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after lightly touching with the index finger. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet; cool.

  2. *You can substitute Instant (fast-rising) yeast in place of Active Dry yeast. When using Instant yeast, expect your dough to rise faster. Always let your dough rise until ripe. Traditional methods: use equal amounts; Bread Machines: use ½ tsp Instant yeast OR ¾ tsp Active Dry yeast per cup of flour in your recipe. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking for more information on baking.

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  1. Great Recipe been using it since the 1970s.

  2. This has been one of my favorite breads – IF I can get ahold of Mississippi Mud black & tan ale. Mississippi Mud DEFINITELY makes the bread taste like sourdough!!! Since I can’t find it here in OK, I will try another beer but use the new Red Star Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast instead. For this bread, it really depends on the beer, and the blend of black and pale ale in Mississippi Mud makes the bread perfect.

    • Hi Julie,
      Be sure to use one full packet of Platinum Instant Sourdough (use the large loaf).
      Happy baking!

  3. Looked very sticky in the machine, I let it stay that way and it came out amazing. Fluffy like anything. Bookmarked.

    One objection. Very impractical to make. If you need it for dinner and it’s ready before then, no way is it lasting that extra minute.

  4. I love home-made bread. My husband’s favorite is sweet cinnamon raisin and I have a wonderful recipe for that, but I love robust artisan and hearty grain seed breads too. It’s finding the right recipes. That’s the key. And good luck to anyone trying to find a yeast bread recipe using beer as the liquid. This was the only recipe I found online. All the rest were quick breads – cakes, really.

    So, I just made the 1 1/2 pound loaf of this Sourdough-like Beer Bread, all by hand… no stand mixer, no machine kneading and no bread machine. I added 1 Tb dough enhancer, 1 tsp onion powder and 1 Tb of Wheatena to add a little texture and a bit more flavor. Don’t be fooled by the name, because it’s not at all sourdough-like… a great disappointment to me, because I love sourdough bread, but that’s not a detriment to this bread.

    I hand kneaded for almost 10 minutes, because it wasn’t resisting me. I wanted a good formation of gluten for pull in the texture (I hate cakey yeast breads. If I want a cake-like texture, I’ll make a quick bread.) It took all of the 2 cups extra of flour and it was still very soft and tacky and adhering to my palm heels, so one tablespoon more of flour at a time while kneading…. and I finally got the resistance I wanted. The dough was still just a bit sticky but NOT coming off on my palm heels. So I knew it was perfect for rising.

    The beer I chose was Guinness Extra Stout thinking the hearty flavor would permeate the bread, but not much of the flavor came through, however it was so moist and tender and it rose so high in the oven. This is a great yeast bread that stays in my recipe keeper for sure. And I may play a bit more with the recipe next time.

  5. Awesome looking bread & easy! Oh ya tastes great too!

  6. I make the dough with whatever beer we have in the growler and then after it has risen, roll it out in a big rectangle, brush with soft butter, sprinkle with a mixture if finely shredded cheeses(whatever you like it have or fits your menu) a bit if garlic, herbs if desired. Roll it up tightly jelly roll style, fold ends under and place in greased Loaf pan. Let rise again and bake. This makes a beautiful Loaf when sliced and my teenage boy thinks it rocks for sandwiches.

  7. I made the smallest loaf size and followed the recipe exactly as written. It was a perfect small loaf for just the two of us. I recommend this if you want a small amount of bread and don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.

  8. The amount of flour needed is off. I made the medium loaf and added 4.5 c of flour but could have easily added more because after the first rise the dough was super sticky.
    Also, the first rise took a long time, should have used more yeast to compensate for the increased flour amount.
    Finally, I used a home-brewed very happy IPA and the bread came out tasting nice but with a slightly bigger aftertaste.
    A very interesting recipe!

    • Thanks for your feedback, Lucie! Flour absorption can vary between brands and types of flour, so it is always important to add in enough flour to make a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky. I’m glad you enjoyed the bread!
      Happy baking!

  9. I tried this recipe but used half rye flour and half unbleached flour, added caraway seeds. It Was wonderful !

  10. This is delicious bread. I use an entire can of beer – 12oz, which is a little more than the recipe calls for, but I put in more flour to make up for it and end up with 2 loaves. I just keep adding flour till the dough is slightly tacky without being sticky. Very nice yeasty bread.

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