Aniseed and guinness bread

Richard Bertinet's dark rye bread is the perfect accompaniment to oysters and other seafood
Aniseed and guinness bread
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 3 loaves
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus resting and proving
  • Effort: medium


  • 25 g yeast, (fresh, if possible)
  • 700 ml Guinness, at room temperature
  • 250 g dark rye flour
  • 750 g strong bread flour
  • 20 g salt
  • 1 tbsp aniseed-flavoured alcohol eg pastis
  • flour, for dusting


1. Whisk the yeast into the Guinness in a large mixing bowl until it has completely dissolved, add the rye flour and 400g of the white flour and whisk to obtain a thick batter. Cover with a tea towel and rest for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 250C/ gas 9. Add the remaining flour, salt and alcohol to the batter and mix well. With the help of a plastic scraper or large spatula, lift the dough onto your work surface. Even though the dough will feel quite soft and moist (and look like thick, sticky porridge) do not add any flour to the work surface - if you work the dough without flour it allows you to keep the dough softer so the finished bread is lighter and more airy.

3. Knead the dough until it is supple, elastic and no longer sticks to your hands. Shape into a ball and put into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for another hour.

4. Turn the dough out again and divide it into the 3 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball again and leave on the work surface covered with a tea towel to rest for a further 5 minutes. Lay a couple of tea towels on a baking tray and lightly flour them. Mould the balls into loaves and place them on the tea towels leaving a good space in between them. Cover with another tea towel, and leave to prove for 1 ½ hours, or until they have nearly doubled in volume.

5. Put the loaves on floured wooden trays or a flat-edged baking tray and make two diagonal cuts on the tops with a sharp knife. Mist the inside of your preheated oven with a water spray and slide the loaves into the oven. Bake them for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 220C/gas 7 and bake for further 25 minutes until they are a rich dark colour. If done, they should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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