Fall has fallen here; everything is gray, wet and windy, perfect weather for homemade soup and bread. I started a batch of split pea and ham soup in the slow cooker this morning and realized how good that will taste with some freshly baked bread. Flipping through the cookbook, I came across this recipe and think it will be an ideal November supper.
Now, if you are an aficionado of beer, you can choose anything, dark or light, domestic or imported, and know that it will uniquely change the flavor of your bread. I am not, however, a beer aficionado, I am not even a beer fan. That said, I had an old can of Budweiser in my fridge left over from “heaven knows when” and that is what I am using. (Hipsters and beer-snobs, scoff if you must.)
First step was opening the 12- oz. can of beer and pouring it into a bowl for a couple hours to go flat.
After the beer was sufficiently “flattened,” I poured it into the bread machine pan. To that, I added 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of SAF yeast.
This loaf used the basic cycle and the dark crust setting.
Unlike most recipes in Ms. Hensperger’s book, this one doesn’t call for the addition of gluten. My assumption is that the beer makes up for any deficiency.
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence.” — M.F.K. Fisher
The yeasty beer smell while this was mixing, kneading and baking was really mouth-watering. I tried a little slice warm with butter and it is a tasty loaf, slightly sweet with great crumb and crust. I didn’t really get a flavor that screamed “beer” to me, but that could change with a different, more flavorful brew.
As you can see from the photo, this loaf definitely did NOT crater, which is nice, after the last several fails. I’m not sure to call what did happen here, but it isn’t a crater.
All in all, this tastes incredible and went so well with the homemade soup. I will make this one again. I might even buy a bottle of beer specially for it, instead of using some ancient can from the back of my fridge.