I was tidying up last week in the pantry and came across a forgotten litre of home brew, it was from a well hopped batch of beer and i figured that it would add good character to a batch of bread.
This type of beer crust, is made by applying a paste of whole rye flour, beer and yeast, at the start of the final proof. I believe the tradition stems out of Alsace France. I've seen it there in triangle hat shaped loaves and have also come across it eons ago in a trade magazine.
To make the topping, i've dissolved a chick pea sized piece of fresh yeast into 300ml of beer and then whisked 300g of freshly ground whole rye flour, to form a soft paste consistency. This was just enough for 7 -650g loaves. It is good to make this up about 30 minutes before giving the loaves their final molding.
I prepare the topping in a stainless steel bowl, this makes it easy to apply the paste with the palm of the hand. I've finished off with a dusting of light spelt flour, dropped through a fine sieve.
The hop bitterness was evident in the chew of the crust, that's for sure not to everyones taste.It's not my favourite bread by far, normally I prefere to simply drink the beer, but this bread does add a little variety to bake days, a couple times per year.