Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yeasted Beer Bread

Who ever said 'man cannot live by bread alone' was surely mistaken. Cuz, yeah...I'm pretty sure I could live by bread alone.  GOOD bread.  Then again, I'm not a man.  I'm a woman.  Oh wait...that was somewhere in the bible, wasn't it?  Hold the sermons.  I'm just sayin'.  I think it's the whole process, though.  That gets me.  From the initial kneading...where you can get in a groove and push and pull your frustrations away.  To the satisfaction of seeing the dough rise and knowing the yeasties are happy.  To the smell...oh, the smell...the magical, inviting scent of bread baking.  Then there's the breaking of the bread.  Sharing it with others.  Ripping it off...chewing...savoring...pleasing your belly.   Seeing the wonder spread across the face of those who see a loaf of freshly baked bread.  Hearing the comfort of those who are well-fed.  Rolled all into one...this satisfies me on a deeper level...satisfies my soul. 

Good Bread.  
Really, REALLY Good Bread.
or Yeasted Beer Bread
recipe found at meandering wildly

1# unbleached AP flour
12 oz. beer, at room temp.
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. yeast (regular or instant)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the beer with a wooden spoon.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead...adding a bit more flour as needed...for ~8 minutes.  Bread should be pretty elastic...but will still be a bit tacky to the touch.

Place in lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel.  Let rise until doubled, usually a couple of hours.  Punch it down and let it rise another time, until doubled.  At this point, cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, take out and let it come back to room temperature and rise until doubled again.

Punch down dough again, then form into a loaf...any shape you desire...on a piece of parchment paper.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size, ~1½ hours.  Preheat oven to 450° F, with a stone on the middle rack during last ½ hour of rising.  Slash the top of the loaf and sprinkle with a bit of flour, for a rustic look.

Slide the loaf (parchment and all) onto the baking stone.  Throw two ice cubes* somewhere into the oven not on the bread itself, just onto the bottom and shut door.  Five minutes into cooking, quickly throw a couple more ice cubes into the oven.  Bake for ~25 minutes, or until loaf is golden and cooked through.

*The ice cubes will form steam which will condense on the dough...which is gonna give you a killer crust!  Seriously...I impressed myself with this loaf.

It's good just ripped off and eaten slathered with a bit of homemade butter...or sliced for sammies...or eaten alongside a bowl of soup...or alongside a comforting plate of roasted meat & veg and used to sop up the juices.  This is so simple...and the flavors that were developed by letting it rise and punching it down and repeating over the course of two days were so worth it.  Deep, yeasty, beery, earthy...perfection.




*This post is linked to:
BBD33 BYOB YeastSpotting
TwoforTuesdays@girlichef
*Enter your Two for Tuesdays links here

Give me a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, a hunk of cheese...and possibly some fruit or meat to go with it, and I'm a happy girl!