Beer and bread. They’ve both been with us on the planet for thousands of years and they are both made out of pretty much the same ingredients.
It got me thinking: is it possible to make beer out of bread? Bread beer, if you will.
Doing a bit of internet research it became obvious that bread is a great way of storing the ingredients for making beer. All the beer ingredients are in one place and easy to get hold of.
It turns out that some ancient Sumerian dudes from around 4,000 years ago even wrote a poem about making beer from bread. Yup, they loved the beer bread that much.
A Sumerian clay tablet showing beer drinking, source: lordsofthedrinks.com
I’ve already got my hands on a leather tankard, handmade and crafted exactly like the ones from the Mary Rose and used during the reign of Henry VIII, so I thought it was time to go even further back in time and have a bash at making bread beer.
It turns out that making beer from bread is fairly easy to do. Mix the bread with water and strain the water out, that’s basically it.
This is what you will need to make beer bread:
- Stale bread
- Cotton cloth to use as a filter (I used some old underpants that I boiled)
- Apple peel (optional)
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Dried yeast
- Some kinda fruit tea (optional)
Here are the stages that I went through.
- Gather together a bunch of bread crusts and let them go a bit dry and stale, tear them up and throw them in a bowl. If there are any bits of mould, tear those bits off and throw them away.
I just collected up bread crusts over a period of a few weeks.
I also asked my bro and a few friends to chuck me their bread crusts to speed up the collection process. Yup, they did think I was a hobo. I just needed to strike up a few verses of Big Rock Candy Mountain and the image would have been complete.
- Grab yourself a fruit tea and brew it up nice and strong. Luckily my girlfriend is a sucker for fruit teas, so I was able to use one of her lemon and ginger teas.
- Add the boiling tea into the bread, add some more boiling water and get your hand blender to blend it all up into a smooth paste.
I blended my beer bread paste a bit too smoothly, as it was hard to strain it through the cotton on the next stage. Instead of blending it all, you can just leave it to soak for 24 hours with a cloth over the top of it.
Way too blended
- Filter the mixture through a piece of cotton cloth. I didn’t have any cotton cloth, so I used a pair of old underpants that I cut up and boiled to make sure it was hygienic.
This is where it got difficult. The mixture that I made was like a smoothie, so it took a bit of forcing through the underpants. When I finished I didn’t have a runny liquid, it was more like a blancmange.
Bread stuff separated. Looks nice, yeah?
Next time I make beer bread I’m going to just blend it a little bit and leave it to sit for 24 hrs to stew.
- I then added a bunch of boiling water to turn my bread blancmange to a runny liquid.
- Now pour your liquid into a jar of some kind. Get your orange peel, two or three raisins and maybe a teaspoon of vanilla extract and throw them all on the top.
The apple peel and raisins should have wild yeast on them, which will start your beer bread fermenting. The vanilla is just for flavour.
The raisins also indicate when your beer is ready to drink. Once it becomes alcoholic, the raisins will float to the top.
- Cover the jar or put a lid on it, but make sure the beer bread can still breath. If it’s airtight you could be in for an explosion. Not cool.
- After a day, it should all be bubbling and cresting a froth on the top. If it isn’t, you don’t have enough wild yeast in there. I didn’t. If nothing’s happening, get some dried yeast from a supermarket. I bought some fast action dried yeast sachets which are used for making bread. Chuck one in.
Now things should start to happen!
- Leave it maybe a week, then you should be in for some tasty bread beer. Once it starts to clear and the raisins begin to float, you can go drink that sucker. I filtered mine through the underpants again before drinking it, but you can use beer finings too if you want.
Floating raisins – the bread beer is ready!
What Does Bread Beer Taste Like?
So what does it taste like? My bread beer tasted a bit like a soda, with the vanilla and apple coming through for a kickass, kicked-back kinda easy drinker.
I’ve still got a batch fermenting. That’s been going for two weeks now, so I’ll try that soon and see what sort of kick it has. I’ll let you know.
Give this bread beer thing a go yourself and let me know how you get on!
And while you’re doing it, think about the ancient recipe that you’re following and how it’s connecting you back 4,000 years or more to the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians.