Guinness Stout Bread

Hearty and rustic, yet surprisingly light (thanks to the addition of a full bottle of Guinness  Draught Stout), this bread will be the ideal accompaniment for your St. Patrick’s Day feast. Oats and whole wheat flour give the loaves a wonderful texture, molasses adds a slightly sweet back note, and the beer adds a rich, yeasty, complex flavor. I added chopped raisins to one loaf and loved the results, especially when the bread was toasted.

You can use any dark beer you want, of course. I just picked this because it screamed “St. Patrick’s Day” to me, and I was won over by the packaging that promised a hint of chocolate and coffee flavor. Sold!

I had to make a second batch to double-check my measurements. I always lose count when it comes to cups of flour and then I try to convince myself that I’m (pretty) sure it was three cups when it actually might have been four. But that would haunt me, so . . . I give in and make it again.

I hate to burst your bubble if you see me as some meticulous baker, but here is my actual plan of action for this recipe. Seriously, this is the way I work!

Obviously, I need someone to follow around after me, taking notes!

Anyhow, I’m glad I had to make another batch because I was inspired to make the dough balls into shamrocks, and . . . aren’t they nice? I also ran out of wheat flour (only had a cup) so used 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour, which made the dough a little darker and—according to my husband—even tastier. If you have some, you might want to try that!

Guinness Stout Bread
  • 1 bottle (11.2 fl oz) dark beer (I used Guinness Draught Stout)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • ½ cup very warm water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package active-rise yeast
  • 1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick)
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2½ - 3 cups white bread flour
  • ½ cup chopped raisins - optional
  • cornmeal - optional
  1. In a small pan, combine the beer, butter, and molasses. Cook over low heat until the mixture is lukewarm and the butter is mostly melted.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Allow it to get bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer with a dough hook is recommended) combine the beer mixture, yeast mixture, oats, wheat flour, and salt.
  4. Slowly add 2 cups of bread flour and mix well. Add as much remaining flour is needed until the dough comes cleanly away from the side of the bowl. Continue to knead by machine for 6 minutes (or drop onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 8 minutes), then place in a greased bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
  5. Move dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 pieces. Form into balls and place on a large baking sheet. If you are adding chopped raisins, knead into the dough before forming the balls. (Optional: sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal for a crunchy bottom crust.)
  6. Cover and allow to rise until double - about 1 hour.
  7. Heat oven to 375 F.
  8. Cut a large "X" in the top of each loaf and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the bread is a rich brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Move to a rack to cool. You can brush the top of each loaf with butter if you want them to have a sheen, and to soften the crust slightly.
  9. TO MAKE SHAMROCKS: Once the balls of dough are shaped, cut four 1½ - 2" slices at (picturing a clock) approximately 10:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 8:00. Make sure to leave the center intact. This creates three petals and a stem. Pull firmly down on the stem to stretch it out into the desired shape. Use your fingers to shape the petals and cut a shallow slice down the center of each to add shape. Bake as directed above.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Divide dough into two pieces. Add chopped raisins if desired. (Totally optional.)

Place on a baking sheet. I like to dust mine with cornmeal for a crunchy bottom crust. (One is plain, one with raisins.) Let ’em rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

After loaves have doubled, cut a large ‘X’ on each and bake.

Baked. Brush the hot loaves with butter if you want them shiny, or prefer a softer crust.


Form the dough into two balls.

Cut 4 slits. (My cuts were a little wonky. Aim for 4:00 and 8:00 on the bottom and then stretch out the stem.)

Mold and shape the petals. Make a cut down the center of each to add shape.

Place on baking sheet and allow to rise until almost doubled, then bake!


Q: Does the house smell amazing while the bread bakes?
A: The house smells like a brewery! A fragrant brewery, but . . . pretty heady.

Q: I don’t like beer. Can I use wine instead?
A: Are you crazy? No! Go home.

Q: Can you give me a gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free version of this recipe?
A: Um. You haven’t been hanging out here very long, have you? I’m a Paula Deen type of baker. This is actually a healthy recipe for me; molasses instead of white sugar, less than a pound of butter, and some oats and wheat flour thrown in to impress you. You’re welcome!

Anyone else? No? Good.

I have a very elaborate recipe in the works. This was easy; the next one will be a lot more challenging. Bwa ha ha. Check back in a few days!


Chocolate-Filled Sweet Rolls


Whether you slowly unwrap this feather-soft sweet roll to reveal the rich chocolate filling or jump right in and take a huge bite, the buttery dark chocolate layer will surprise you with its bold flavor and subtle sweetness, balancing perfectly with the roll.

It’s hard to actually describe the flavor of these pastries. My husband thought I’d added coffee (I didn’t) and the closest thing I could compare it to was brownie batter (my favorite) though not as sweet. And they aren’t gooey!

I made my rolls heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day. If you want to create heart rolls but don’t happen to have 24 mini heart pans (I know, I know) you can put the rounds in one large heart-shaped cake pan. If you don’t have a heart pan, bake them just like cinnamon rolls in a large baking pan, glaze them, and add Valentine sprinkles. Improvise!

And, of course, these are great for other occasions. Who doesn’t like chocolate? A few chocolate jimmies look very nice and kind of advertise what’s inside, so no one is expecting cinnamon.

This roll recipe really is easy. It’s time-consuming because it has to rise twice, but seriously, there’s nothing hard about it at all.

Chocolate-Filled Sweet Rolls
Makes 24 rolls Use small 3½-inch mini pans or one large 11x15-inch pan
  • DOUGH:
  • ¾ cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 5 - 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  1. DOUGH: In a small pan over medium-low heat, combine milk, shortening, and butter. Stir occasionally until shortening and butter are melted. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.
  2. In a small cup, combine warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of the sugar. Let it sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer is best) combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and ⅓ cup sugar. Switch to a dough hook, if you have one.
  4. Slowly add 5 cups of flour and the salt. Mix well. The dough should come cleanly away from the side of the bowl. If it doesn't - or is sticky to the touch - add the remaining ½ cup flour. Continue to use the mixer to knead the dough for 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, place dough on floured surface and knead for 7 minutes.
  5. Place dough in greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise until doubled . . . about an hour.
  6. Prepare pans: If using small mini-pans, spray with an oil/flour baking spray. If using a 11x15-inch baking pan, spray lightly and line the bottom with parchment.
  7. FILLING: In a small saucepan over lowest heat (or in a microwave, in 15-second increments) melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring well.
  8. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out to 9x15 inches on a lightly floured surface, with the long side facing you.
  9. Spread half of the chocolate mixture over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup sugar.
  10. Beginning with the long edge facing you, roll the dough up. Use a sharp knife to cut 12 equal pieces. (They will each be a little more than 1 inch.)
  11. Place in prepared pan(s) and repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Heat oven to 400 F. Bake rolls for approximately 20 minutes, or until rich golden brown. While still warm, glaze with the following:
  13. GLAZE: Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Adjust if necessary, using powdered sugar or milk, to create a fairly thin glaze. Brush over warm rolls and sprinkle with decorations if desired.

Bubbly yeast! If yours doesn’t do this, check the date on the package.

Once kneaded this dough is so silky soft and elastic!

Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Wait for it . . .

Look at this beautiful dough 1 hour later!

Melt very dark chocolate (use the good stuff!) and butter together.

Roll it out, cover with chocolate and sugar (trust me . . . it’s not too sweet) and roll it up.

Place slices of rolled dough into individual mini pans OR in one large baking pan.

Bake, glaze, and gussy them up with some sprinkles!

I loved these so much I’m getting up at 5:00 AM on Valentine’s Day to make them again. I’m taking them to my weekly weight-loss meeting, bwa ha ha. Guess who’s going after the monthly pot for the most weight lost. Oh, sweet sabotage!

You know what’s coming now, right? Green. Lots and lots of GREEN. And probably booze. Stay tuned.