Wholesome Cook
5 Ingredients or less

Guinness bread for St Patty’s Day

♣ Happy St Patrick’s Day! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!

According to Wikipedia, St Patrick’s day, celebrated by the Irish on March 17th, is characterised by attendance at churches, wearing green attire and, what seems to be the reason for most of the celebrations, “the lifting of restrictions on eating and drinking”. The biggest celebrations take place in Dublin, but St Patrick’s Day has also been the day for the Irish in Australia.

On 17 March 1795 there were rowdy festivities among the Irish convicts, and the cells were filled with prisoners.By the early 20th century, parades were held in capital cities and rural centres. These were demonstrations of connections with an Irish Catholic past, or support for Irish political causes. Today, St Patrick’s Day in Australia has evolved into a fun day marked by revelry, green beer and comical hats. On that day, some say, there are only two kinds of people — those who are Irish, and those who wish they were. (Source: National Museum of Australia)

While I’m neither, the notion of “lifting of restrictions on eating and drinking” gets me pretty excited. So much so that I’ve decided to Irish-up my Mum’s version of the humble beer bread with a good splash of Guinness.

Love it or hate it, because the views on the distinctive bitter taste of the dark ale from Dublin are as polarised as day is far from night, I’m totally in love with this simple 4 ingredient bread. It’s crusty where it should be. Deliciously moist on the inside with big air bubbles that make a good bread, well, good. There’s no need to knead either, just fold, bake and be merry!

Makes 1 loaf

Guinness bread for St Pat’s Day

Any full bodied draught beer can be used in this recipe, but I find that Guinness gives the bread a wonderful character that goes well with pickles, salamis or simply, a generous slather of good organic butter. I used a half half ratio of plain and wholemeal flour, but you can increase decrease this as you wish. Spelt flour also works well. Prepare 1 day ahead. You will need a round oven-safe dish with a lid (dutch oven or casserole), heatproof to 240C.

{Printable recipe}

For the Guinness bread:

  • 400g plain flour (see note above)
  • 3/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 300g (yes, grams) Guinness draught beer

To make the starter: sift flour into a large bowl. Add salt, yeast and Guinness. Mix for about 30 seconds, until the flour has been incorporated. Scrape starter into the middle of the bowl, cover with cling wrap and st aside in a warm spot for 12-18 hours, or overnight.

To make the bread: once the starter is ready, it will be wet but pliable, fold it over itself 3 times. Dust a clean kitchen towel with extra flour and transfer the dough, fold-side down onto the towel. Cover up with the edges of the cloth and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1.5 hours, it should roughly double in size.

Prepare to bake: place your baking dish in the oven, on the second rack from the bottom. Heat oven and dish until temperature reaches 240C (220C fan forced, 475F, gas mark 9).

To bake: carefuly remove your baking dish from the oven. Line the bottom of the dish with some non-stick baking paper. Gently lift the bread off the kitchen towel and trasfer into the baking dish. Dust with a little flour, cover with a lid and bake covered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes uncovered to crisp up the crust. Cover the loaf loosely with aluminum foil and bake for a further 5 minutes.

To serve: remove bread from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack before slicing. Serve still warm with some good quality butter, cold cuts and pickles. Oh, and a pint of Guinness if you wish.


Assia March 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

This bread looks amazing! I want a piece!

Courtney March 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

A perfect celebratory bread! And I can’t believe some people don’t enjoy Guiness. :)

Mez March 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

LOVE these photos lady!!!
You’ve made me want Guinness and bread… neither of which I should eat at the moment.

Perhaps I could make it for H!!!


Wholesome Cook March 12, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Perhaps perhaps perhaps – you may not be able to resist the leftover beer or the crusty warm bread. You have been warned, but if you succumb, do enjoy it!

filingawaycupcakes March 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

This looks delicious! What an interesting bread.

Jennifer (Delicieux) March 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Oooh guinness bread sounds fantastic! My Dad’s side of the family is Irish (in fact I have a lovely Irish surname to attest to that) but apart from my long departed Grandfather would love this. He loved St Patricks day so much he was devastated with my Mum when I was born the day before! :D

Wholesome Cook March 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Well, you see for the bread to turn out really good for St Patrcik’s Day you do have to start it a day ahead… so being a day early is actually a good thing! Happy Birthday for Friday Jennifer!

Joanne March 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I can’t believe I’ve never had Guinness bread before. It looks so delicious and I bet the flavor is awesome. Bookmarking this!

Wholesome Cook March 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

It really is Joanne, deep and rich, like Guinness itself. Really good with salami!

rsmacaalay March 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Mmmm, something interesting. Like what Joanne said I can’t I havent tried something like this before

Anna @ the shady pine March 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm

A lovely looking bread and perfect for St Patty’s day!

shez March 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I could definitely devour a piece of that bread and butter right now – whether or not there were any restrictions on eating to lift! It sounds great.

Magda (@MagdasCauldron) March 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm

I love no knead bread, this recipe is on my to-do list for quite some time, but there is never spare can of Guinness available at my home ;)

Wholesome Cook March 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Ha! I’m sure it is in plentiful supply at your corner store :-) Happy St Pat’s Day Magda!

whilehewasout March 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Oh pretty!

frugalfeeding March 13, 2012 at 3:46 am

Truly awesome bread, it looks incredible. Why do people outside of Britain call it St. Patty’s day though? In Ireland the shortened version of Patrick is Paddy – I find it very strange that somehow it’s different elsewhere… Perhaps you could enlighten me?

Wholesome Cook March 13, 2012 at 4:53 am

Oh in Auatralia we’d probably shorten it even further to St Pat’s day, not that we do but that’s just how our English works. I guess Patty has a similar etymology, stemming from localized custom in shortening names. I’d be happy to change it – thanks for picking me up on this!

Nami | Just One Cookbook March 13, 2012 at 5:40 am

I’ve seen and also I made beef stew with Guinness but never seen the Guinness bread! Wow, this really looks delicious. I love that you use Dutch oven for baking the bread. One of my friends (not blogger) make it and had tried the bread before. I was really good. Now I wish I had one piece of your bread with good butter on it. Yum! :-)

Justine | Small Fry41 March 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

Fantastic photos and I’ll be cooking this for my beer loving husband to try on the weekend :) Delicious !

[email protected] March 13, 2012 at 9:12 am

This looks soooo good!

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide March 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

Looks downright amazing!

wholepromise March 14, 2012 at 6:35 am

This sure looks tasty – love the thought of eating this with some butter, pickles and cheese

Bam's Kitchen March 15, 2012 at 12:58 am

Happy St. Pattys day to you Martyna. Fantastic way to celebrate this holiday with some of your Guinness bread.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.