Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade No-Knead Beer Bread

So I didn't anticipate my first time making this bread loaf to be successful so I actually didn't take photographs of the process. As it was my first time making any bread recipe from scratch, I figured that I would have to make it a few times before I got it right for the pictures to be pretty enough to showcase. To my surprise, the loaf you see above was as pretty in person and tasted just how it was supposed to.
Original No-Knead Bread smothered in Brie and Jam
My friend Hannah (who inspired the Lentil-Kale-Chorizo Stew recipe here) gave me the recipe last time I visited her up North (I like pretending she lives in Winterfell) which I believe she got from her mom (who I can say with certainty that Hannah got her skillz from). Hannah bakes it a few times a month as I understand it, and that's because it takes almost no effort, and is a great go-to for fresh bread. Last time, we ate the entire loaf between the 5 of us and it was smeared with baked brie and raspberry jam (heaven!). I don't live near any bakeries unfortunately, well at least any worth their weight in dough, so I am always at a loss when I want to find a fresh baguette or the like for an indulgent moment. I ended up eating a few slices and freezing the rest for a rainy day.  For the first time since Lent started, I am glad I gave up cheese or I would have had a hard time resisting the urge to spread brie all over the warm fresh bread.
Just out of the oven
 The reason I have the word 'beer' in the title is because it will pop-up more on google searches (alcohol is a motivator for people) but also because there is beer in the recipe. I used Yuengling beer (always a classic) and Hannah uses Rolling Rock. The recipe calls for a mild-lager but I am going to try experimenting the next few times I make it with other styles of beer- particularly wheat beer since that is usually what I have in my fridge. 
My two indulgent sample pieces
When I said this recipe requires very little effort- I wasn't joking. It only requires planning and time. The night before you want the bread, just prepare it and let it sit overnight. When you wake up, do the next step, and then 3 hours later, the actual baking process starts. Without all the waiting time, the process is only 45 minutes.
The Single Serving~
Homemade No-Knead Beer Bread Recipe: (Courtesy of Hannah F. )
     Ingredients- (Normally I don't include cookware but this is unusual recipe)
     Parchment Paper
     Plastic Wrap
     Non-stick cooking spray
     Dutch Oven (pot) - (make sure the handle on the lid is metal, not plastic, as it’s put in a very hot oven and handles will otherwise melt!) I use a Lodge Dutch Oven with metal loop handles (amazing!)
     10" skillet
     3 cups, unbleached all purpose white flour (plus additional for dusting work surface)
     1/2 tsp, instant yeast
     1 1/2 tsp, salt
     3/4 cup + 2 tbs, water
     1/4 cup + 2 tbs, mild-flavored lager (feel free to try others and tell me)
     1 tbs, white vinegar

How To-

NIGHT before you want Bread
In big bowl, whisk flour, salt & yeast. Add water, beer and vinegar.  Don't continue using the whisk but switch to a rubber spatula. Use the spatula to fold in the mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of the bowl until a shaggy ball forms. You might need a bit more beer at this stage to incorporate all the dry flour into the shaggy ball (so hopefully you didn't drink the rest of the bottle yet). 
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store at a warm room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. I put mine in bowl when I got home from work and let it sit overnight.

3 Hours before you want bread

Lay a roughly 12 - 18 inch sheet of parchment inside 10" (or so) skillet and spray parchment with non-stick cooking spray.  

Transfer the dough to lightly floured kitchen surface and knead about 15 times. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer into the middle of the parchment paper in the skillet.  Quickly spritz the top of the dough with non-stick cooking spray and use plastic that covered the bowl overnight to loosely cover the dough on the parchment paper.  Set in quiet place, room temperature, to rise for another 2 hours.

Set the timer for 90 minutes. Adjust oven rack to second lowest position.  When timer goes off, put covered dutch oven (pot) into the oven and turn the oven on, set to 465 degrees. Reset second timer for another 30 minutes.

When 30 minute timer goes off (will have been two hours), uncover the dough ball (it should have risen) and lightly dust the top with flour. With a sharp knife, make a long slit along the top of the dough (and any other designs you may fancy).
Take the pot out of the hot oven (super hot-be careful!) and remove lid somewhere it won't burn anything. Pick up dough by lifting the parchment overhang from skillet and lower into hot pot.  Cover pot with lid. Parchment will hang out sides.

REDUCE OVEN TEMP TO 425 DEGREES and put covered pot back in oven. Set timer for another 30 minutes.

When timer goes off, open oven and remove lid.  Bake another 10 - 15 minutes without lid.
Take a look at the dough when you remove the lid. If it already looks brown, it might only need another 8 - 10 minutes.  if it's still quite pale it might need another 15 minutes.  Best to set timer for 10 minutes and check it can always leave it in for another 4 or 5 minutes.  If you think it's done, use your oven gloves to lift it out of the pot and check the bottom.  The bottom can burn'll know it’s done by checking the bottom.  
Leave on rack to cool and enjoy!

No need to eat the whole loaf all at once, although you might be tempted. There is nothing like the warm scent of fresh bread that brings me back to a Parisian boulangerie.  Once the bread has cooled, wrap individual slices or two at a time, in wax paper and aluminum foil and place them in a freezer bag. I have several recipes in mind for using the remaining bread slices that I froze. One of them includes a decadent breakfast with Nutella smear and a hot cup of tea. Yum.

1 comment:

  1. Your little round loaf is almost too pretty to eat! Here's another to try that is actually super easy! 1.5 cups self rising flour; 1.5 tablespoons sugar and 5 to 6 ounces of room temp beer. I like Shiner. Mix, pour into greased mini loaf pan (5x3) and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. You can melt 1/4 stick of butter and pour over the top then return to oven for a few minutes it you like. Try it!