Beer Bread Boules

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I just put an oatmeal stout on tap and seem to be working beer into all my cooking these days (hefeweizen crepes seem to be a weekly occurrence), so I thought it might be nice to put together a stout based beer bread. Beer bread is relatively simple in that you can really make any bread recipe into a beer bread recipe by substituting the water 1:1 for whatever beer you like, usually something more malty and not so hoppy. I have heard that some people do like IPA bread – but I have yet to try to make that. Oatmeal stout, on the other hand, sounds like the perfect match for a bread.

Either way, this is what I have spent the past couple of days making and optimizing. This is a poolish based bread, so planning ahead is a must! Prep the poolish in the AM for bread in the evening. Scroll past the pictures for the recipe!

Poolish at 10am (that is a mug of coffee, not beer):

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And at 5pm:

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Finished dough, proofing in the baking vessel:

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And, one of two finished loaves (the other is in the intro picture to this post):

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Beer Bread Boules

Note: I like a chewier bread, so I used ~2/3 high protein flour (King Arthur Sir Lancelot) and ~1/3 medium protein flour (King Arthur All Purpose). King Arthur All Purpose would also make a great loaf by itself, but using that (or another flour) will reduce the required liquid a bit.

Poolish

  • 320g King Arthur Sir Lancelot Flour
  • 415g oatmeal stout – this probably brought a bit of beer yeast with it, which may add some nice character! You could easily substitute any malty beer here.
  • 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast

Bread

  • all of poolish
  • 320g King Arthur Sir Lancelot Flour
  • 370g King Arthur AP Flour
  • 320g oatmeal stout
  • 18g salt
  • 5g instant dry yeast
  1. Prepare the poolish in the morning by mixing the flour and beer. Cover and sit in a warmish spot for several hours – I let it sit for about 7.
  2. Mix the poolish and all other ingredients, and stir for 5 minutes to mix.
  3. Knead on a stand mixer (setting 2) for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover and bulk ferment for 2 hours, folding at the 1h mark.
  5. Separate the dough into two (make sure your hands are well floured – this is a wet dough!) and shape into boules. Place into whatever you are baking them in (I’ve been using a dutch oven with great results) and proof 20-30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 500F.
  7. Dust with flour, score the loaf with 1/4 inch deep slashes using whatever pattern you think is neatest.
  8. Place bread in oven, bake 40-50 minutes. Both loaves came out great for me when I baked them for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool.

The resulting bread is super nutty, somewhat chocolatey, and very satisfying! Cheers!

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Baking in the Emile Henry Flame Series Dutch Oven

I have been in the market for a nice enameled dutch oven for a while now, but until recently I’ve only been looking around casually. Last week, I stumbled upon the Emile Henry Flame Series Dutch Oven at King Arthur Flour and was instantly smitten. It’s a stoneware dutch oven that has been made with a special process that allows it to be oven safe, electric or gas range safe, microwave safe, freezer safe, dishwasher safe, etc. They say that it can be taken from the freezer and put into a hot oven without any issues. At $100, I won’t be testing that particular claim any time soon.

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Wanting to try it out ASAP, I whipped up a quick and easy dough that can be found here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2009/12/01/the-crunchiest-crackliest-chewiest-lightest-easiest-bread-youll-ever-bake/

I had an abridged time scale, with a 3hr fermentation and then shaping followed by a 20 minute rest before throwing it in the oven (450F). According to KAF, you get equally good results if you proof in the pot, and put the whole thing in the oven rather than preheating the pot and having to deal with a scorching hot pot in one hand and a lump of dough in the other. Being happy to prevent burns, I followed that suggestion. I shaped and threw the loaf into the cold pot:

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And then after 20 minutes of rest I threw it in the oven. The one downside to not preheating the pot means that it doesn’t cook quite as quickly, but otherwise it works quite well! The lid seals in the water, effectively simulating a steam-injected oven without dealing with hot pans of boiling water and all that jazz.

I pulled the loaf out ~35-40 minutes later (I did check it a few times). Note that the pot changes color when hot:

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Pretty nice crumb too, for such a lazy loaf:

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Overall, my initial impressions of this as a baking vessel are great. I have heard that they sometimes crack or craze but they do have a 10-year warranty, so presumably I could get it replaced if that happened. I’m very happy to have such a multipurpose cooking implement around the kitchen and I’m looking forward to using it frequently!

NY-Style Pizza Dough – a work in progress

I’ve been fine-tuning my pizza dough for the past several months, but I recently decided to throw a wrench in all that and try out a high protein flour instead of my usual King Arthur All Purpose flour. 30 bucks and 50 pounds of flour later, I left the KA factory store with a bag of their high-gluten Sir Lancelot flour, purported to be best for artisan breads, bagels and pizza. I’ve made a couple of batches of dough at this point and am still working on dialing in the recipe but it’s already been giving me great results. I used Peter Reinhart’s recipe at FornoBravo.com as a basis, modifying it a bit for my own needs and preferred ingredients. I also found that recipe to be just a touch too sticky, so I altered the flour:water ratio a bit. This dough has a lot of body to it and can be used to produce a thin NY style pizza, but I’ve also enjoyed it as a somewhat thicker crust. I’ll probably update this as I optimize the recipe.

NY-Style Pizza Dough (~3 16-inch pizzas)

  • 34.25 oz King Arthur Sir Lancelot Flour
  • 1 tbs King Arthur Diastatic Malt Powder
  • 0.75 oz salt
  • 0.3 oz instant dry yeast (Saf-Instant)
  • 2.25 oz vegetable oil/olive oil
  • 21 oz warm water

Mix dry ingredients briefly to distribute evenly. Add olive oil, water, knead on setting 2 until all of the flour is worked in and it’s a cohesive ball (about 6-7 minutes). Rest 5-10 minutes, knead on setting 2 for another 3-4 minutes. Cover and cold-ferment 1-3 days in the refrigerator. Tastes great after 1 day but even better on days 2-3. Stretch out 1/3 of dough into a 16-inch circle dusting with flour if needed. Either bake with toppings added at 500+ degrees F or par-bake 5 minutes at 450F, add toppings, return to 450F oven.