Monday, February 8, 2010

No Knead Beer Bread

I stumbled across this recipe on Mark Bittman’s NY times blog. He made a New York baker named Jim Lahey an internet sensation. I for one am damn glad he did. Making bread from scratch always seemed like a daunting task not worth my time. I’m a much better cook than baker. Plus I don’t have one of those fancy Kitchenaid mixers that I drool over. What Jim is let science do all of the work for you. All you need is 18-24 hours. All you need to do is mix together flour (3 cups all purpose), water (1 5/8th cups), and yeast (1/4 tsp dry instant baking yeast). Let that sit for 10-18 hours in a relatively warm place. 18 hours seems to be better that 10. The dough will rise and become bubbly on top. Flour a work surface and your hands. The dough is really sticky at this point. Fold the dough a few times to create a ball of dough. A bench scraper helps out greatly with this. Place the ball on a tea towel that has been liberally coated with flour, cornmeal, ect. Cover the loaf with the same stuff you used for the bottom and put another towel on top. Set you timer for an hour and half. Once the timer has gone off turn your oven on to 450 and place a dutch oven in the oven to warm up. I use a 4.5 quart enamel cast iron one. This should take about 30 min depending on your oven. Once heated flop the ball o dough in the dutch oven, cover and bake for 30 min. Then bake for another 5-15min without the cover on. The top will turn golden brown during the time with the cover off. Take the bread out of the dutch oven and let cool for around 10 min. After making this a few times, I figured the recipe needed beer. So I just did a straight swap, beer in place of water. This time I used a scotch ale that I had brewed. Poured it into a measuring cup and let it sit for a few hours to let the carbonation go away. Then I mixed (whole wheat flour), waited, and baked as normal. The bread came out good. It was just too much beer. You could really taste the bitterness of the beer. With a little of butter and honey it was perfect. I am going to experiment more over the coming weeks. I’m hoping to come up with a nice whole wheat beer bread. You all need to try making this bread it’s just way too easy and good not to.

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