Sunday, December 13, 2009

To knead or not to need beer bread...

What a wonderful surprise to my wondering eyes... a Chocolate Stout Beer Bread recipe posted on Maria's Golden Oven uses Rogue Chocolate Stout inspired by a no-knead method. I may not need bread but I love a loaf with a crunchy crust and lots of flavor and texture inside. Maria writes this bread may be better than the beer itself... I don't know about that, but it is up to you to decide! I'm thinking this would make great French Toast, yummy toasted with Peanut or Almond Butter and Bananas, or toasted for a BLT (bacon is one of my feel good / comfort foods to cook, and eat!)

Photo Caption: I invented this recipe after being inspired by Jim Lahey's no-knead method. It's even better than beer itself! At least I think so.

2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
5/8 cups chocolate stout beer (I used Rogue beer from OR)

1. Whisk all the dry ingredients together. Add the beer and mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. If it's not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place the covered 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution - the pot will be very hot) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to gently lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.