Thursday, March 18, 2010

simple crusty beer bread

I saw this recipe for a partial whole wheat modification of this no-knead simple crusty bread from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. I thought I'd touch it up a bit with some beer and vinegar, along the lines of the Cook's Illustrated almost no-knead modification.

Here are the goods:
  • 1.5 tablespoons Morton kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons active yeast
  • 2.5 cups warm water
  • .5 cup beer (Cerveza Caguama)
  • 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
  • 340 grams white whole wheat flour
  • 635 grams all purpose flour
Stirred the yeast and salt into the liquids in the KitchenAid mixing bowl. Added the flour. Mixed on 1 for about a minute. Left to rise for 2.5 hours, then refrigerated.

Baked a loaf the next day. Let the dough ball rise for a little under an hour, slashed fairly deeply, then baked on a stone at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, with a steam tray.

Wonderful! The oven spring was proportionally greater than I've ever seen. The small loaf remained dense, at nearly 20 ounces, but with a tender crumb and good crust. We had it for dinner while still warm and it was excellent. I would try 35 minutes next time. Should try slashing in a way that lets it open up even more, too. And I'll bet the fraction of whole wheat could be increased.

The presence of beer was more evident than in any bread I've made, contributing a superb yeasty flavor without any of the cloying sweetness that I think I've detected the times I've used Budweiser. The Cerveza Caguama, a light lager from El Salvador, is something I bought for a party where I suspected Corona drinkers to be present. It looks and tastes about the same, although notably skunkier. It is paradoxically tolerable when intolerably cold, but this bread is a much better use for it.

2010-03-19 update: I baked another loaf today and gave it a central slash and about four more curving ones on each side. It worked even better, and looked like an armadillo! I may have to do something with that theme.

1 comment:

Jami@ An Oregon Cottage said...

Fun! I bet the beer added a really interesting flavor. It sure turned out beautiful.