We all remember this quote from our childhood. However, the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm did not originate from their own imagination, but rather old, mainly orally transmitted stories were collected, more or less revised, and retold.
In the Middle Ages, almost everyone brewed their own beer. Brewing, especially in the more rural areas, was one of the domestic activities of women while their husbands were out in the fields. Beer, at that time with such a low alcohol content that it was even suitable for children, was as much a staple food as bread. Which, by the way, was also home-baked.
In contrast to today, some of the loaves were not baked all the way through when baking bread. The breads, still liquid inside, were broken open and the inner part dissolved in water. This mash was then seasoned with herbs, the wild yeasts, which in the best case were still hanging in the air from baking, did the rest and fermented the brew into the beer of the time. Taverns soon took over brewing in the urban areas.
Beer and bread
The bakers fetched the yeast, at that time still called Zeug, from the brewers to bake even better bread with it. When the brewers realized that their beer became more durable and tastier due to the hops discovered by Hildegard von Bingen, this triggered uprisings by the bakers. The hops made the stuff too bitter to bake bread with. In some places, therefore, the brewers had to brew some unhopped beer to satisfy the bakers. Fortunately, there is no sign of such discord today, quite the contrary. There are probably few trades that are so closely linked by the same raw materials used as bakers and brewers.
Another possibility to combine beer and bread in a successful and traditional way would be to use Trebern for baking bread. Trebles are the leached malt residues of the brewing process. As they are very rich in protein, they are now mostly used as feed for dairy cows.
If you want to bake bread from trebern yourself – it’s quite simple. The baking process is basically the same as for other types of bread, but in this case up to 1/3 of the flour can be replaced by Trebern. You can also go one step further and use beer instead of water, take for example. a yeast-cloudy wheat beer and also has some time, then with a little luck you can even do without the yeast altogether. The Trebern for such a bread can be obtained from the smaller breweries or pub breweries.
Text: Karin Vouk
Courtesy of The Wine Press