Rye, Ale & Oat Bread

Flavour of the moment: Ale. I do love ale, on the extremely rare occasions I drink I’ve been known to have a good old fashioned ale. It’s even better in bread though.

Rye flour makes for a dense bread, which is by no means a bad thing. Some days call for a big hunk of bread with a nice warm soup to sooth the soul. This is perfect bread for that. In fact this is my favourite bread, my secret indulgence with its rich, earthy flavours and outer oaty crust. Boy oh boy, I love this bread.

rye and aleThis recipe is courtesy of the master baker himself, the king of bread, Mr Paul Hollywood. It features in his bread bible of a book ‘Bread‘, a great place to start your bread making journey. Its where I learned all I know in the bread making world (admittedly not much yet). This bread is almost like a savoury cake in its delicousness and the satisfaction it provides.

rye and ale 2Ingredients:


  • 350g rye flour
  • 150g of strong white bread flour
  • 10g of salt
  • 10g of fast-action dried yeast
  • 50ml of black treacle
  • 140ml of cool water
  • 250ml of full-flavoured ale
  • Olive oil for oiling
  • Flour for dusting

Beer batter topping:

  • 150ml of ale
  • 100g of rye flour
  • A pinch of caster sugar
  • 50-75g of jumbo oats


  1. Mix the flours, salt, yeast (make sure the salt and yeast are at opposite sides of the bowl), treacle, 100ml of water and 200ml of ale in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine the mixture into a sticky dough, adding water and ale bit by bit (you may not need it all) until all the flour is combined and you have a soft, sticky dough.
  2. Knead the dough on a oiled surface for 10 minutes, this makes a sticky dough but try to knead until the dough is far less sticky and much more elastic.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl in clingfilm.
  4. Leave the dough to rise, until doubled in size. About 4 hours.
  5. Make the beer batter topping by combining the ale, flour and sugar in a small bowl. Leave to one side.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock it back. Do this by folding it in on itself gently, this pushes the air out.
  7. Roll the flattened dough into an oblong and tuck the shorted ends under it. Shape the dough into a ball, keeping the joins tucked underneath. Place the dough on a lined baking tray.
  8. Spoon the beer batter onto the ball of dough, ensuring a thick and complete covering. Cover the batter with the oats, try to get an even coverage.
  9. Leave the bread to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Once completely preheated place the dough in the oven. Bake at 220°C for 25 minutes and then lower the temperature to 200°C and cook for another 10 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when you tap the bottom of it.
  11. Remove the bread from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Enjoy!

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