More than any other dish I know, baking bread is all about understanding what’s going on and finding the technique and bread that works for you. Aka playing with food. Will this trub bread be just one fun experiment or become my new favorite way of baking bread?
“Hey Edie, could you use this?” A sour, hoppy aroma derives from the metal vessel Mr. Eats is holding up to me. The leftover yeast from beer brewing, he explains.
“Ehm .. yes. I guess” I said hesitantly.
Hating to throw things away that might still have a life in it (pun intended), I accepted the vessel and poured the slurry mash into a canning jar. I wondered if someone already put some tips online how to replace the yeast with this ‘trub’ in the yeast bread recipe I always use.
Long rabbit hole story short; no.
Impossible, the yeast will be dead, said one camp. “Never again! The bread becomes out too bitter”, said another group. And the third posse gave tips to use it as you would do with sourdough: create a starter with it and have the natural yeast in the air help out.
I could easily counteract camp 1: after a night in the fridge, the canning jar popped when I opened it. The yeast sludge definitely was alive! Also, the beer Mr. Eats was making is a light style, not too bitter, not too hoppy beer. I just would not use all 240 ml (about 1 cup, see introduction of recipe below) for 1 bread. And sourdough, nah, I was not looking for that.
But that made me think. With sourdough, you also don’t have a real measure of how strong it is. Baking sourdough bread teaches you how to use your senses and instincts.
And that’s what I have been doing as well with the yeast bread recipe I always use. It uses a sourdough style of preparing the dough. I learned about it in “How to make bread” by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou and for some reason it works as a charm for me.
I had to give trub bread a go. You’ll never know if you don’t try, right? More than any other cooking technique, baking bread is all about finding out what works best for you. Even if you’re only baking yeast breads like I do.
I found that the Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s technique of folding and resting the dough instead of a full knead just works best for me. It takes more time, overall, but I’ve learned that the time is an indication, not a strict prescription (see tip 4 below). Also, the effort is less and the dough seems to be more forgiving when it comes to the kneading part.
And now you want to know; how did that trub bread turn out? I know I say this almost every time I bake a bread, but this really was the best bread I ever baked. Check learning curve!
Mr. Eats, please get ready to brew some more beer!
If you let the leftover yeasty slug (aka trub) sit for a while, it separates into a dark ochre colored yeast liquid on the bottom and the lighter colored top liquid was beer. Un-carbonated, but definitely beer. For this recipe I used 4 tablespoons of the dark yeast part.
4 T trub (yeasty part only, see above)
1 T sugar
345 ml hand warm water
300 gr whole wheat flour
150 gr bread flour
9 gr salt
Tip 1: If you want to give this bread a try without the trub, just use 3 grams of bread yeast (the one you can find in the supermarket) and skip the sugar and the testing part. Mix the yeast with the water and then add in the flour-salt-mixture.
Test the trub. Put trub with sugar and about 4 tablespoons of the water into a large measuring jug. If bubbles start to appear, your yeast is alive and you can use it.
Tip 2: I kept the trub for 12 days in my fridge before using it for this recipe and put the mixture above my cup of tea to create a warm environment for the yeast to get active. See also my Instagram Highlight “Testing trub”.
Mix all. Add water to the yeast mixture till you’ll have about 350 ml filled. In a large bowl, mix both flours and the salt. Pour in the liquid and quickly bring it all together with a spoon or spatula. Cover the bowl, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou and I are simply putting a smaller bowl on top of the dough, and let sit for about 10 minutes. A bit longer is fine too.
Fold 4 times. Now, grab a the side of your dough and pull it outwards and fold it to the center. Move the bowl as you do this 10 times going around the ball of dough. Stop when the dough becomes stiff. Cover and wait another 10 minutes.
Repeat this another 3 times. You’ll notice the dough becomes less sticky and more of a real dough every time you fold it.
First rise. Let the dough rise till it’s doubled in size.
Fold the bread. Now, gently press most air out it and fold it into the shape you want. I have oval proofing baskets (bannetons) so I shape in into a long thick sausage.
Second rise. Heavily coat your proofing basket (or a colander covered with a clean dish towel) with flour and let the bread rise while covered. I simply put the big bowl on top of the basket, but a clean towel works well too.
Heat the oven to 500 F | 250 C. If you have a pizza stone, use it. Else you can preheat a sheet pan in your oven. Carefully dump the bread on top of a sheet of parchment paper. With a razor sharp knife, score the bread lengthwise, about 1/2 inch | 1 cm deep. I also made a few smaller incisions diagonal to this line for a pattern you see on plant leaves.
Tip 3: This website gives some nice tips and background information on scoring your bread.
Bake the bread. Carefully transfer the bread with parchment paper onto the pizza stone and pour a small cup of water on the floor of your oven. This creates steam and helps getting a nice crust. Lower the temperature to 400 F | 200 C after 5 minutes, and bake the bread at least another 30 minutes.
Tip 4: Over time, I’ve learned that the recipe is quite forgiving when it comes to time. On some days I only fold it 3 times within a 2-hour period, let it rise in the fridge for the entire day only to bake the bread in the evening.
You even can let the second rise go on for a much longer time, as long as you have the dough rise in the loaf pan you’re using to bake the bread in. You’ll get the fluffiest bread.