Bradley Benn’s Beer Bread video and the winners of the RED STAR YEAST giveaway!

I met Bradley Benn at a pottery class many years ago. He is a master of his craft and a kind and patient teacher to those of us who dabble in clay. Little did I know that he was also a skilled baker, until he showed up in a classic MG with a loaf of fabulous bread. One of the hazards of this career of mine is that people rarely, if ever, bake for me, so this was an especially cherished loaf. He shared not only the bread, but also the recipe. When I decided to put it into Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I adapted his recipe to 100% whole grains. The dough is made with beer, which gives it a jump start on the sourdough flavors we usually wait for. Then we wrap the dough around sauteed onions, rosemary and walnuts. Together they create a bread with so much character and flavor you can eat it alone, but I love it with sharp cheese, grainy mustard and some sweet ham.

Below you will find my first attempt at a video and the recipe for BBBB. I will show you exactly how to roll the dough and prepare it in the pan so that you get onions in every bite. (This same technique can be used to create the raisin bread from last week’s post)

*at the bottom of the post I will announce the 6 lucky winners of last weeks RED STAR YEAST giveaway.

You will be happy to know that my son’s team won the soccer game. He came home ravenous and we cut into the loaf while it was still just a touch warm.

Bradley Benn’s Beer Bread (page 120 Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Makes enough for at least three 1-pound loaves.

Beer dough:

3/4 cup rye flour

5 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated Yeast (more or less to taste, info here)

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (more or less to taste, info here)

1/4 cup Vital Wheat Gluten

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 1/2 cups beer

1/4 cup neutral flavored oil

1 tablespoon honey

The onion mixture, per loaf

1 medium sweet onion, chopped (this is double what is in the book, both work, but I LOVE onions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons rosemary (this is double what is in the book, both work, but I LOVE rosemary – my husband can live without them, so I make it both ways.)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (in the video I used pecans and it was excellent)

1 teaspoons rosemary for the top of the loaf

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt for top of the loaf

Mix the dough: Dump the dry ingredients into a 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid and stir together. Add the liquid ingredients and mix the dough until all the dry bits of flour are incorporated. (for more thorough mixing and handling instructions see page 120 of HBin5)

Cover with a lid and allow the dough to sit on the counter for about 2 hours. You will have an easier time using the dough if you allow it to chill for several hours before making the bread, but you can go for it after the initial rise. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Prepare the onions: Saute in a skillet over medium low heat with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, until wilted.

On baking day: Cut off a 1-pound piece of dough from the bucket, form it into a ball and roll it out to a 1/4-inch rectangle. Be sure to use lots of flour so it doesn’t stick to the work surface.

From here you can follow my instructions in the video. Enjoy!

The tools I used in the video:

Pastry Scraper (also called a bench knife or dough scraper)

8 1/2 x 4 1/2 Nonstick Loaf Pan

Thank you Bradley, for the wonderful bread, the recipe and the trip around the lake in your MG on a perfect summer day!

* Finally, the 6 lucky winners of the RED STAR YEAST giveaway are: knitwit, Sara (photogazelle), Betsy F, Suzette, mommablogger and Jamie. Congratulations, we will contact you shortly to send you each the following prizes:

2-pound loaf pan (extra-heavy duty aluminum), made by Chicago Metallic

Danish dough whisk (view our post to see how easy these are to use for mixing wet dough)

Three-pack of Red Star Yeast envelopes

Pizza Cutter

BreadIn5 Recipe Booklet

For those of you who didn’t win this time, you can still find all of the RED STAR YEAST products here:

Either by using“Carol’s Club” points from Red Star.


Similar products can be found through Amazon: Red Star Yeast bulk package, the Chicago Metallic Loaf pans:  one-pounder or the one-and-one-half pounder, the Danish dough whisk or a Pizza Wheel.

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52 thoughts on “Bradley Benn’s Beer Bread video and the winners of the RED STAR YEAST giveaway!

    1. Hi WoodsyGirl and Jen C,

      Sorry about the video, my first attempt and I had the wrong setting. It should work now!

      Thanks!!! Zoë

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for coming to the class last weekend, it was such a fun group!

      I’ve just added a link to the bucket I use in this post, within the recipe.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  1. I mentioned about 6 months ago that I had tried using a potato masher to mix my dough. This has continued to be my mixing tool of choice. I think it has all of the benefits of a dough whisk without adding yet another gadget to my kitchen drawers.

  2. Thank you, thank you! What a surprise to learn I’d won the giveaway! I’ll use every piece of equipment 🙂 And congratulations to all the other winners, too!

  3. hi Zoe,
    Is there any recipe in ABin5 will produce a result that will stay soft and tender for days? Im not sure if i am imaging things, i feel like breads that are made with milk instead of water produce a softer loaf? is that true and why or just my imagination?

    1. Hi Lily, welcome to the site. I agree, milk or buttermilk is definitely a tenderizer in breads. In Artisan Bread (, we use milk to tenderize the 100% WW Sandwich Bread, Oatmeal Bread, and in the Buttermilk Bread, well, you know! That dough is also use for a Cinnamon-Raisin bread in the next page.

      In Healthy Bread in Five , there are others, but sounds like you don’t have that one? Jeff

  4. I’m very excited about winning the drawing. Thank you both and Red Star.

    I made this bread this weekend, and while it tasted awesome it had very little gluten structure, tore itself during the counter rest, and rose hardly at all in the oven. :o( It was more like a batter bread.

    I’m not sure what went wrong. My WWW, rye, flour, and gluten might be a tad over the hill as I didn’t bake much this summer (they don’t taste bitter, though), or could something in the beer I chose (Trader Joe’s yummy Dopplebock) have been the problem?

    1. Hi Janknitz,

      Congrats on the baking loot! Have fun with that!

      What brand of www were you using? Some brands are coarser than others and therefore create less of a gluten structure.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. So far I have only made the basic recipe, and a partial whole wheat. I want to try pumpernickel. Can I make the pumpernickel in ABI5 without the caramel color? Thanks

    1. Hi Bill,

      You can make the dough without the caramel color, but it will have a slightly lighter color and the taste will be less intense. You can also add the fruit to the dough as you are mixing, just not so much that it will disrupt the formation of the structure of the dough.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  6. One more question. If you are going to incorporate dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc. into your bread, why can’t you just add them when you make the dough?

  7. Hi, I would like to make this beer bread but I live in Colorado at 7500 ft and with a dry climate. Should I alter this recipe and if so how? Also, should the beer be room temp?

  8. Thanks Zoe. I’ll give it a try. I have one regular batch in the fridge that I made last night. We’ll see what happens when I bake it up. I’ll let you know.

  9. I made a loaf of peasant bread this weekend and used this technique to add garlic. I sauted the minced garlic in a little olive oil and rolled it in like in this recipe, but the bread seperated inside while baking so that the slices had a big air pocket where the ‘rolls’ didn’t stay attached. Is this due to the oil? Is there a way to avoid it? Regardless of how it looked, it was delicious.

  10. It rested for about 90 minutes before baking. I forgot to mention that I also added parmesan to the garlic mixture, but I wouldn’t think that would do it. The way it separated reminded me of the way some cinnamon bread separates inside.

    1. Hi Nathan,

      This typically happens when the dough is rolled out very thin and has a lot of filling. You may want to keep it thicker so the bread has more body and can handle the weight of the fillings. The oil will also prevent the layers from baking together.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Thanks so much for answering my questions! Next time I’ll try not going so thin, and I may oven roast the garlic so I don’t need oil. I’ve found its nice to have a batch of basic dough in the fridge and add different things when each loaf is baked to suit the occaision.

  12. Bob: In general, we go by crust firmness and color. Nice and brown— and quite firm. We find this more reliable than the hollow-thump method for high-moisture dough. Jeff

  13. I need your skilled advice! My last batch of whole wheat dough (as per your recipe) developed an odd metallic taste once baked. I’ve been making your doughs for nearly a year (what a WONDERFUL year of baking it’s been … LOVED it!) with huge success but this has me stumped! The yeast was only recently purchased, the dough was only a couple of days old and refrigerated … any ideas?
    Thank you for your time … and for sharing/ spreading the joy of bread!

  14. Is the vital wheat gluten critical to the success of this bread? I live in a fairly rural area and need to make the bread a few days from now. Not enough time to order any on the internet. Is there another brand that could be substituted or could it be eliminated altogether. If eliminated, how would that affect the end product. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Sue,

      The reason we add the VWG is to add structure to the whole wheat dough in order to prevent it from being too dense. You can make the dough without the vital wheat gluten, but you may need to substitute some of the whole wheat flour with Bread flour and maybe a bit less water. The dough made this way will be tasty, but perhaps a little denser and will not store very well in the refrigerator beyond a couple of days.

      Hope this helps! Zoë

    2. Sue: Doesn’t matter which brand of VWG you use, but it’s going to change the water requirement if you don’t use it– maybe a quarter cup, or even a half-cup less (see what the dough looks like).

      But bottom line is that the dough made this way isn’t storable, which is the benefit of our method, and even if used same-day, it’s going to be a much denser result (though probably still good). Jeff

  15. Thanks Zoe and Jeff – I found some VWG in time to make my bread. I brought it to a party where every course was made with beer and served it with beer cheese soup. The bread was FANTASTIC and I told everyone about your blog and books. Thanks for making it so easy to make yummy bread!

  16. Hi Zoe, I’m a huge fan and have been making my way through the HBI5 book for the past year. And I love that you keep this blog. It’s a great tool whenever I have questions! This video was tremendously helpful! I just formed my first BBBB loaf and it’s resting. I wanted to make a sandwich loaf out of it but it seemed way too small when I folded and put it in the loaf pan. I decided to take it out and leave it as a free form loaf. My question for you is this: When making BBBB in a loaf pan do you use more than 1 pound of dough? Thanks!!!

    1. Note: I measured the inside of my loaf pan and it measures 9×5. I think that’s my problem. Do you think it would be ok for me to use a 1.5 or 2 pound piece of dough and just increase the baking time to an hour or so? Thanks again!!!

      1. Cyndi: It will take 1.5 lbs for a skimpy loaf, 2 pounds for a generous one, and the baking time will increase about 25 to 30% over a 1-lb free-form. Check your oven temp with something like

  17. What kind of beer is best for a beer bread? I was thinking of using Octoberfest because it sounds like it would make a flavorful bread.

    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      I’ve used a Newcastle beer, because that is what I like to drink. I bet some of our readers are also beer makers and may weigh in on others that work well. If you try the Octoberfect let me know how it goes.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Jeffrey,

        The darker, stronger beers will impart more of the beer flavor. The lighter beers will have a more subtle flavor, but will kick start the fermentation flavor.

        Enjoy, Zoë

  18. I mixed the ingredients per the instructions and have an extremely dry batch. What is wrong? The recipe only calls for 3 cups of liquid for 5 3/4 cups of flour. Is this right? Should I add more liquid?

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Yes, that is right and I’ve not had the same issue. What kind of flour are you using? You can add more liquid to create a dough that is easier to work with.

      Thanks, Zoe

    1. We’re not sure that our wet dough will bake through in the closed environment of the bread machine, plus it won’t be large enough for our 4-pound dough batches (four small-ish loaves baked on different days). The machines are designed to mix standard-sized loaves.

      If you try baking a hand-mixed batch in one of these, please let us know how it goes.

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