Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cooking with Beer - No-knead Crusty Beer Bread

This is a beerific spin on my favorite bread recipe.  This bread is super easy to make, almost no work at all, you just need to plan a day ahead to get it started before you bake it; about 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours for rising

The bread comes out super crusty on the outside and moist in side.  Perfect for serving with something saucy to sop up juices with, or an oil dip it in, or slathered with butter. 

And it's made with beer.  It's practically perfect!

I made this loaf with Apollo from Six Point, I figured using a wheat beer to make bread was sort of appropriate, but you can use any beer you like.

No-knead Crusty Beer Bread

3 Cups All-Purpose Or Bread Flour, More For Dusting
¼ Teaspoon Instant Yeast
1¼ Teaspoons Salt
Cornmeal Or Wheat Bran As Needed
1 Can Or Bottle Beer

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups beer, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but it will be okay. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. 

Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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