Beer has been used in baking from early Egyptian times, as its natural yeasts work as a raising agent or leaven.
Put the stout in a pan with the muscovado sugar, butter and salt. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and allow to cool to hand-warm.
Pour into the mixing bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. Switch on at the lowest speed and pour in the flours and yeast. Work for 10 minutes, remove to a floured surface and knead briefly, shaping into a ball. Put this in large oiled bowl and cover the top with ding-film. Leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.
Take out, knock down and divide into 2. Put each half into a
Preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F/ gas 9. Spray the hot oven with water and mist the tops of the loaves. Close the door and allow steam to generate for 60 seconds. Put the bread into the oven on a rack and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 200°C/ 400°F/gas 6 and cook for a further 15 minutes, when the bread should be well risen and brown on top. Turn out and rap the bottoms, which should sound hollow. Put on a rack and resist the temptation to slice until cooled to room temperature.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.