Since this site is anarchy anyway, I am going to not talk about beer, I’m going to talk about another form of fermentable, BREAD. I am a closet bread baker, I really enjoy kneading with my hands and producing something very natural and chemical free.
Closet bread baker since it just doesn’t have that macho appeal as riding hopped up motorbikes or brewing up kick as brews. I sort of picture an old lady in a kitchen when it comes to home baking, where home brewing conjures up images of wacked out dudes with giant burners and crazy bubbling contraptions verging on steampunk. But Im working on this.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite loaves to pinch. it has a dense crumb and a hearty crust. Pictured here, I have straigned it out into a sort of baguette form, where a rounded loaf or batard (football shape) would be appropriate as well.
I have doubled the original formula to add for extra creativity as it will require cracking two beers and leaves enough for a few sips to get through the kneading process. This formula replaces the water with beer but doesnt leave a bread that tastes like beer. It adds some depth and character.
I typically use a maltier beer and often use a coffee beer, which gives the final loaf a rye like flavor. For the second beer, i have been using a Octoberfest (since its the season and all) or some Hazelnut Brown that I went to heavy on the hazelnut and do not care to drink it. Where I said I would not talk of beer, I lied.
Method: Straight Dough
Min Rising Time 2.5hrs (can be left overnight in fridge, then brought out an hour before forming)
Oven temp 450
Baking time 45-55 min
1.5t/8g instant yeast
2T/.6oz malt powder you can use dme but thats spendy, use the stuff for making malts
27oz Bread Flour
2oz Wheat Flour or any funky flour you want: rye, spelt, oat whatever
18 oz BEER preferably maltier I like to use 2 different ones and drink the reserve
Mix the Dough
Mix the flours, yeast and malt powder together first with a wisk, then add the salt. Then add the beer cold beer will have a slower rise, which is fine (more flavor development)
While you can use a stand mixer for this, it doesn’t fit in mine. You can cut the formula in half if you want and just get one loaf or two baguettes, but that’s your deal.
Since it doesnt fit in my mixer and i dont like to wash it anyway, I use a big bowl. I then mix it with a spoon until it starts to come together and then knead it with my hands for a few minutes.
Either method of mix, the dough should come together into a smooth semi sticky dough.
Greeze up a container and place it in there. Let the dough rise until nearly doubled. (about an hour)
After it has nearly doubled ease the puffy glob onto a greezy or flour dusted counter. Using a greezed up knife or dough knife, divide it into 2 if you are doing the full formula and want 2 rounds or batards. Cut it in 4 if you want 4 baguette style loaves.
I could go into loaf forming here, but thats a whole subject in its own. For simplicity, I’ll mention the rounds here. Take the ends of the dough and wrap them under to form a ball. Then place it on the counter and use your hands to “spin” it into a tighter ball being careful not to expell all that air we have worked hard to get.
Place the formed dough on a cornmeal dusted sheet and allow to raise for another hour. Again they should nearly double in size, so plan for this on your sheet. Use two if you want and are chickenshit.
During this hour hiatus, crank your oven to 450F. Place a pan in the bottom or on the top shelf leaving room to put your pans on another rack. use a junky pan, cause we might wreck it.
Once it has been about an hour and hopefully you are still sober enough for this most important part, make some slashes on the dough top for style points.
Slide those puffy wads of dough on their pans into the oven. Throw a grip of ice cubes onto that junky pan and close the door. Bake for 15mins, then ease the throttle off to 400F. Bake for another 30-40 mins. The beer causes this crust to brown quickly, so you will have to either use your gut feeling or stick a thermometer that should read near 200F after 30-40mins.
Once the loaves meet the thud test, or near 200f mark, remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack. If you want a soggy bottom, and some of you probably do, leave them on the pan. If not, cool on a rack. Let it cool completely before attempting to saw into one with a bread knife. Or have right at it and you’ll see what happens.
Wrap in some paper and place in a bag for storage. Plastic bags tend to rob the crust of its toughness and make it a bit more soft. The bread can also be frozen and brought back to life in a 200F oven.
This is one way to deal with some of that brew that may have not made it just right, or can be an excuse to have a beer in the morning, if you need one.