Rheinbrot – A Winey Bread

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Rheinbrot - A Winey Bread

This bread is called Rheinbrot because it contains Riesling in the sponge/starter. I’ve made bread with beer, but never with wine. This was going to be an adventure.

Rheinbrot - A Winey Bread

As I often do, I jumped into the recipe without reading it all the way through, and didn’t realize that the sponge needs about 14 to 16 hours of fermentation. Starting at noon (which I did) meant that I would have to mix up the final dough around two in the morning. I love baking bread, but I love sleep too.

I figured out I should have started around 6pm and then let the starter ferment overnight. Fortunately, I was able to slow down the fermentation by putting the starter in the refrigerator after about ten hours and leave it there until the next evening. While the original recipe does not call for a cold fermentation, I am including it in my directions.

What else did I do differently? Instead of baking the loaf in a steam oven, I baked it in a preheated cast iron Dutch oven. While the dough was very loose, the oven spring in the cast iron pot was amazing. Other than the timing and the cast iron pot, I followed the recipe as written.

Rheinbrot - A Winey Bread

How was the bread? Soft, moist, and chewy with a fairly thin crispy crust. The flavor was wonderful, perfect with the rest of the bottle of Riesling.

This recipe was introduced to the Bread Baking Babes by Astrid of Paul Chen’s Food Blog?!  She found the original recipe on this forum and translated it. I’m so glad she did.

Rheinbrot - A Winey Bread

Rheinbrot Recipe



50 grams of semisweet Riesling

50 grams bottled water

100 grams unbleached all purpose flour

50 grams of 100% sourdough starter


All of the sponge

250 grams unbleached all purpose flour

135 grams water

6 grams of salt


  1. Whisk the wine, water, and sourdough starter together in a 1 quart bowl.
  2. Mix in the 100 grams of flour. 
  3. Cover and ferment the sponge for four hours at about 80 degrees F. I usually heat up a cup of water in the microwave and then put the dough in there. 
  4. After four hours, stir the sponge and recover with plastic wrap. Let it ferment at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours. Alternatively, after a few hours, move the bowl to the refrigerator and let it ferment for 18 to 24 hours. 
  5. Remove the sponge from the refrigerator about 1 1/2 hours prior to mixing the dough. 
  6. Add the flour and water, mix until you get a shaggy ball, cover, and let sit for about 45 minutes, covered. 
  7. Add the salt and pinch the dough with your fingers to fully incorporate it. Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Fold the dough over itself at 60 minutes and 90 minutes. 
  8. Form the dough into a boule and place it into a floured bowl or basket (I used a plastic brotform sprayed with oil and sprinkled with rice flour). Cover with plastic wrap. Let it proof until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes. Meanwhile, place a cast iron Dutch oven in the oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  9. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid, and dump the dough into the pot. Slash the dough, cover, and place in the oven. 
  10. Bake for 10 minutes, and then remove the lid. Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes more. 
  11. Cool on a wire rack. 

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