Archive for May 6th, 2010

Beer Bread Recipe

Hey guys-Here’s the beer bread recipe I wrote about.  Yes, it is complicated.  Yes, it is worth it.  It has a lovely deep flavor from the beer.  All the ingredients can be found at the Sac. Co-op and kind of nowhere else.  The barley malt syrup is a pretty specialized ingredient but you will probably want to make many loaves of this bread.

Jill Simmon’s Beer Bread Recipe

1 ½ teaspoons and a pinch more of Red Star active dry yeast
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, room temperature
2 ½ cups less 1 tablespoon King Arthur unbleached bread flour (13.5 ounces), reserve ¼ cup
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon King Arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour (1 ounce)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) dark beer (stout works well), lukewarm, 105 degrees
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the beer with the barley malt.  Let stand until slightly foamy on top, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour (reserving ¼ of a cup), whole wheat flour, and the salt.  With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir in the beer/yeast mixture until the flour is moistened.  Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together.
  3. Scrape the dough onto the lightly floured counter or cutting board.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes, just enough to develop the gluten, adding as little of the reserved ¼ cup of flour as possible to keep it from sticking.  Use a board scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together when kneading.  At this point it will be very sticky.  Cover it with an inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.  Knead the dough for another 5 minutes until it is very elastic, soft, and smooth.  If the dough is sticky, add some of the reserved flour, or a little extra.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl lightly greased with cooking spray or oil.  Lightly spray or oil the top of the dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise in a warm place, ideally 75 to 80 degrees, until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and press down to flatten slightly.  Round the dough into a ball and set on a half sheet pan lined with nonstick liner.  Cover with a large container or loosely with oiled plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise until almost double, 1 to ½ hours.  It should be almost 7 inches in diameter and 3 inches high, and when pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression will slowly fill in.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees one hour before baking.  Have the oven shelf in the lower third of the oven and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.  Place a cast iron skillet or aluminum sheet pan on the floor of the oven to preheat.
  7. With a sharp knife, scissors, or a razor, make ¼ inch, to ½ inch deep cross-shaped slashes in the top of the dough.  Mist the dough with water, and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet.  Toss ½ cup of the ice cubes into the pan beneath and then immediately shut the door.  Lower the temp. to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.  Rotate the pan for even baking and bake for 20 minutes more or until the bread is golden brown (an instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200 degrees)
  8. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make ahead: you may refrigerate the proofed or shaped dough overnight.  This will make it even more flavorful.