Still ploughing through the remains of your new-year bash? This loaf neatly absorbs those half-bottles of beer or cider you find hanging around after a party. The brew gives the bread a distinctive, deliciously yeasty character, great with soup or cheese
butter or oil, for greasing
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp light brown sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
dash of rapeseed or olive oil
300ml buttermilk or thin yogurt
200ml beer or cider
1 Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200/425F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and dust with a little flour.
2 In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and quickly stir in the oil, buttermilk or yoghurt and beer or cider with a knife, working just enough to bring the dough together into a rough ball. The quicker you work, the better the texture will be. If it seems dry, add a dash more beer or water – the dough should feel quite soft but not be too sticky.
3 With floured hands, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it very briefly – just enough to bring it together into a rough round, about 7cm high.
4 Transfer to a baking sheet, sprinkle generously with flour and use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross in the middle of the loaf.
5 Bake for 15 mins, then lower the oven setting to 200C/Fan 180/400F and bake the loaf for a further 20–25 mins, until it sounds hollow when tapped on the base. It’s best eaten warm, with plenty of butter, but it’s also good toasted the next day.
Recipe from Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, photography by Simon Wheeler (Bloomsbury Publishing)