Darvells Guinness Bread

by Darvells Bakery

Supplied by Darvells Bakery in Chesham, a small market town in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire, England.

The Darvell family have been operating their famous bakery for over 175 years and still bake their bread in the time-honoured method handed down to them through the generations from William & Sarah Darvell.

In 1838, when William & Sarah started the bakery, there were no tins to bake in, bread was baked on the sole of a woodfired oven with flour sprinkled on the shelf and the dough placed on top. All bread was in the shape of either Coburg or cottage, the original loaves were Rye Grass, Mazalin and Wiggs.

Wiggs was the expensive loaf, grey in colour and bought by the rich people. The leftovers of this bread went into the Mazalin bread, bought by the poorer people in the town. Rye Grass was the multi grain of today, it was the first loaf to have rye grain.


chesham 4.jpg

Guinness Bread

Ingredients                       Gram                      Bakers' %

High Protein Flour           3175                      100
Salt                                    60                           2
Bread Improver               30                           1
Yeast                                 140                         4.5

Guinness - 3 can            1680                       53
Cold Water                        320 - 400               10
Caramel/black jack         60                           2
TOTAL                                 5465                      172.50

The Froth

Using a scaled down recipe (1/4 recipe above), minus the caramel, make up some 90 gram white dough balls, pin out to the size of the bottom of the pot shape tin and place in the freezer for 12-24 hours.



The Method

  • Mix as up bread dough in either a spiral or planetary mixer to obtain full development
  • Add caramel at the end of mixing cycle to enhance the colour of the dough
  • Mould dough in to 450 gram rounds and leave on the table to rest/prove
  • Mould the Guinness dough again after 15 minutes
  • Place frozen baps in the bottom of your pot shaped tins or any cylindrical shaped tins e.g. large 1 kg honey can to allow for the expansion of 540 gram of dough.
  • Line tine with silicon paper
  • Place 450 gram of Guinness dough on top of the frozen dough
  • Let the dough prove just over half way up the tin
  • Place lids on the pots (weighed down with weights if possible)
  • Bake at 215-220°C for 22-25 minutes.

Use the frozen baps (pin out white dough disc) because the aesthetic of the loaf looks better if the froth is paler. The Guinness flavour bakes out of the loaf hence adding the caramel gives a rich, bitter flavour and a great colour.

This loaf will have a fair bit of oven spring hence addition of cold water with the Guinness would provide better ‘control’.  If the tin size is right you need not put any weight on the lid.