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Wild Hare Loaf with Bath Ale (by Julio Hevia)

This recipe is a slow fermentation loaf for committed home bread makers looking to advance their bread-making skills and knowledge. It takes commitment to produce beautiful loaves like this!

Inspired by local award-winning brewers Bath Ales, this loaf is wild in more ways than one. A sourdough recipe fermented with wild yeasts it also contains Wild Hare Ale.

Wild Hare Loaf

Whilst this particular loaf is leavened with wild yeasts, the connection between baking and brewing is an ancient tradition. Traditional British bread is characterised by two things: largely it is/was raised or leavened with the top of brewers' yeast, known as "barm" and employed an overnight, long fermentation. The making of barm is one of the most difficult of the culinary arts, particularly making it with a consistency that was reliable. The master bakers of the past were also master brewers, many of them brewed their own barm and the best bakers were the also the best brewers of barm. The brewing process for beer differed in that bakers only wanted the top yeasts off the ale brew.

Bath Ales say "With its fresh citrus, hoppy aroma and a dry, bitter finish, we've crafted Wild Hare into a wonderful, wholesome, golden, organic ale. A tastefully dry, crisp and full-flavoured ale, brewed with skill and passion using the finest organically grown Pale Ale malt and organically farmed English hops. Wild Hare contains wheat and barley malt."

Julio HeviaJulio says of this loaf "If you think that bread is so plain then you need to try this one! You can taste the ale.......the taste is slightly bitter but it's awesome with cheese and quince jelly!"

For those ale lovers amongst you, try substituting any other Bath Ale or Cider for sensational variations in taste and flavour.

Let's get baking!

Sourdough Starter(already on the go, or start a week in advance)

You will need a mature sourdough starter for this recipe. Julio uses an active rye/spelt sourdough starter which has been allowed to develop for at least 5-6 days to begin.

How to Make Rye Starter

How to Make a Wheat/Spelt Starter

Or use any sourdough starter recipe from a good baking book, for those of you who have a copy of “Crust” by Richard Bertinet, he has a recipe on p47.

Day 1: Levain

Early in the day or the day before, we need to prepare the pre-ferment or the levain. Mix the ingredients below and leave them mixed in a bowl cover with a clean film at room temperature for at least 7 hours.


60 gr. organic dark rye flour
50 gr. H2O
30 gr. Starter (rye/spelt)


The preferment should be ready in about 6 - 8 hours. It depends on the room temperature, where the preferment is located.

Bath Ales Wild Hare

Day 1-2: Final dough


450 gr. organic white strong flour*
50 gr. organic dark rye flour
340 gr. Bath Ales Wild Hare (widely available).
140 gr. levain (86% hydration) --> 28% of the total amount of flour.
10 gr. sea salt
20 gr. honey

*Shipton Mill recommends either Finest Bakers White Bread Flour No.1 or Untreated Organic White No.4


  1. Mix very well the water, levain and the flour and leave the dough for 1-hour autolysis.
  2. Once the hour has passed then add the salt and the honey - make a series of turns every 45 minutes during 3 hours.
  3. Once the three hours have passed leave the dough in an oily bowl in the fridge for around 20 hours.
  4. After 20 hours are passed we need to do the bench-rest for about 30 minutes, cover the dough with a linen cloth or other cloth should be fine.
  5. After 30 minutes, form the loaf in a ball and place it on the basket/banneton for 45 minutes covered again.
  6. At the same time start heating the oven at maximum temperature, put a tray on the bottom line in the oven for water and put another tray / stone / bricks for the bread in the middle of the oven.
  7. After the 45 minutes passed, you need to score it. It needs to be done fast and not too deep, you don’t want to destroy the layers of your dough.

    Wild Hare Loaf proved and ready for the oven

  8. Once is scored, you need to put into the hot tray in the middle of the oven. Pour some water in the bottom tray and quickly close the oven door. This will give the steam that your loaf needs to spring.
  9. Leave the loaf with this maximum temperature and the water tray for 15 minutes and then remove the tray from the oven and decrease the temperature to 220C for another 20 minutes.
  10. Then leave it for another 15 to 20 minutes to 190C. After this time take the loaf out of the oven and leave it to cool down.