Sunday, September 13, 2009

dark beer bread

I made this bread when I bought a case of Imperial chocolate stout beer at the Rogue Brewery's garage sale in downtown Portland:
As R.L. Beranbaum says, dark beer gives bread an incredibly soft texture, subtle mellow flavor, beautiful mahogany crust, and dark golden crumb.

1 1/4 tsp Instant yeast
1 Tbsp malt powder or sugar
2 1/2 cups less 1 Tbsp bread flour
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp whole weat flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp dark beer at room temperature
1 1/4 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yeast, malt or sugar, all but 1/4 cup of the bread flour, and the whole wheat flour. Then whisk in the salt (this keeps the yeast from coming in direct contact with the salt, which would kill it).

With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually stir in the beer until the flour is moistened. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, enough to develop the gluten structure a little, adding as little of the reserved 1/4 cub of flour as possible to keep it from sticking. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as your knead it. At this point, it will be very sticky. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. (This resting time will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)

Knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until it is very elastic, soft, and smooth. Shape the dough by rounding it into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and let it rise until almost doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When it is pressed gently with a fingertip, the depression will very slowly fill in.

Preheat the oven to 450 F, one hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it before preheating.

With a sharp knife or razor blade, make 1/4-inch-deep slashes in the top of the dough. Mist the dough with water and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone. Toss 1/2 cup of water into the oven and immediately shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400 F and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible: my favorite bread book.

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