Every month, there is a very cool online bread baking event, aptly called "Bread Baking Day." Each month, a host chooses a theme, and food bloggers all over the world interpret that theme into a yeasted bread of their choice. And the themes are creative.
But I somehow seem to miss it each month. I have no idea why.
So while I may have only participated once before (with these chocolate brioche buns), I love the creativity I see every month, and couldn't wait to participate this month.
Especially when I saw this month's bread theme, as posted here by our host. Beer. And, as it's the 5th anniversary for BBD, what a better time to jump in?
We are not big drinkers in our house, but I love beer bread. The challenge, however, is that most beer breads are quick breads. Meaning no yeast is involved. And one of the criteria for BBD breads is that yeast has to be involved, whether commercial or wild (sourdough).
So of course I chose to go with sourdough. I found this recipe and was ready to go.
And the recipe is so simple, too. All it takes is some sourdough starter.
And some beer.
Mix those together with a bit of sugar.
Then add flour.
Then knead. And knead. And knead. Until you have a nice ball of dough.
Now, the recipe calls the dough to rise for an hour and a half at this point. But, this being sourdough and, well, me being busy this month, I gave it some extra time. I let it rest for three hours. At which point my ball had lost all form and taken over my bowl.
This dough was then kneaded again, then shaped into a loaf.
As you can see, "shaping" can be taken kind of loosely here...
Then it rises again. The recipe says 45 minutes or until doubled in size. 45 minutes was not nearly enough, so I just let it sit until I was ready. Another three hours.
But it rose really, really nicely.
45 minutes in the oven, and it's finally done! But at that point, it was super late and the lighting was terrible.
So I waited until morning to really dig into it.
And oh my gosh, it was totally worth the wait!
This bread sliced so nicely, had a great crust, a delicious, airy crumb, and a really nice flavor. Daddy described the flavor as "sweet and hoppy," which kind of makes me think more of a bunny than a bread, but he really is right.
The beer and sourdough work together well, but the sugar adds just the right touch of sweetness to the mix.
My favorite way to eat this bread, so far, by the way, is warm, spread with butter and drizzled with honey.
Sourdough Beer Bread
(from About.com's Bread Baking section)
*I am providing here a half recipe, what I used, to make a single loaf
6 ounces (half of a can) of beer at room temperature
1/2 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1/4 cup sugar
about 2 1/2 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, combine the beer and sourdough starter. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Mix in enough flour until a soft dough forms, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then allow the dough to rise for at least an hour and a half (I gave the dough three hours at the point) in a warm, draft free place.
After this rise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it again for about five minutes. Form the dough into a loaf and place it into a greased loaf pan. Cover again and allow to rise for at least 45 minutes, until doubled in size. Again, I gave my loaf three hours for this rise.
Once you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then bake the bread for 45 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap on it. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack.