Ale Bread

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Introduction: Ale Bread

it took me several tries to perfect this recipe, but I've finally got it right where I wanted it. The best Ale Bread I've ever had the pleasure of noshing.

Step 1: Overview

It took me 133 days to get up the nerve to face the dough, which had failed so completely to be dough-like on my last attempt that I described it at the time by saying:

"...And still the dough stuck to hands, mixer parts and floured counter tops like a living thing fighting for its life..."

But in the end, I beat the bloody thing!

In the days since June, I've occasionally searched for other recipes. For the most part, I found the same recipe repeated, but then I came across this post at Farmgirl Fare , and when I compared it to a comment left on my original post, I realized where everything had gone wrong!

For one thing, the recipe I had didn't call for enough flour. The ones I was finding now called for an additional cup. Secondly the first recipe we'd tried didn't call for any sugar, which meant the yeast in the beer didn't have anything to munch on. No yeast growth, no rise, I had to try this again!

And it was good.

Ale Bread Adapted from a recipe at Farmgirl Fare and a recipe I've made before, with a twist of inspiration and a pint of stout

Step 2: Ingredients

Bread mix:

  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp.sugar
  • 1 good pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 bunch finely chopped scallions
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. beer (I used Shiner bock, a dark German beer)

Glaze (optional):

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. water

Step 3: Method

Glaze:

Whisk egg and water until frothy in a small mixing bowl.

Bread:

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, scallions and cheese in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Slowly mix in beer and mix until just combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased 8" loaf pan, brush with glaze if desired. Sprinkle with a bit of shredded cheese.

Bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. turn out onto rack, place top side up and allow to cool completely. Reheat if desired before serving.

(I don't recommend serving this straight from the oven, or even for the first hour, as the crust is unbelievably tough, but softens as it cools.)

Step 4: What I Would Have Done Differently Had I Thought of It at the Time

This post is dedicated to Lis, at la Mia Cucina , who prodded me into baking in the first place. The bread was fabulous, and will be my first choice whenever I make soups or stews from now on. It's dense, flavorful and oh-so-yummy that it nearly made me want to cry.

See this recipe and many more at Cooking... by the seat of my Pants!

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    30 Comments

    Your photo makes this look incredible. I do have a question though, It appears you allow no time for the yeast to do its thing. You bake it without letting it rise and the soda acts as the leavening. At least it appears that way. Have you tried letting it sit for awhile and letting the yeast in the beer start working on the sugar and starch? I'm going to bake some tomorrow, and I'm going to let it sit and see if it will rise at all prior to baking. I'll let ya know.

    The recipe does not call for any proofing time, so no, I've nevr let it sit and "do it's thang". It's basically a quickbread, but it might help to let the yeast work for a bit. Let me know what you find out!

    I tried letting proof for an hour or so, and got no noticeable rise from the bread. I wasn't able to let it cool for long, and it it delicious! I used Samuel Adams Lager, and it worked great. I'm going to try making a starter with flour, salt, sugar and beer, just to see if it will rise over the course of several hours, or maybe overnight. I'll let ya know how it works, and if it's good, maybe I'll make it my first 'ible.

    You can do this, but you MUST use a live beer.

    Unless it is an unpasturized beer, the yeast is dead, so unless it is a zombie or vampire beer it cannot rise from the dead.

    I love the looks of this recipe, I do howeer have one question. Could one substitute all purpose flour instead of unbleached flour and achieve basically the same result? I only ask because we mainly use the all purpose variety around my house and I don't want to go buying 5 lbs of flour if I am only going to use it in one recipe. Let me know.

    Unbleached flour usually refers to unbleached, all-purpose flour. Ideally all of your all-purpose flour is unbleached. The bleaching process generally isn't good for you.

    So. Yes. For future reference, you can use any all-purpose flour for this recipe. You could also use bread flour.

    does the beer effect the flavor at all? if so i would like to try it with some of my hard cider i have.

     It seems like people are unclear. This bread doesn't use yeast at all. It isn't about the yeast in the beer (lager), it is about the baking powder. That is why it is a quick bread and no proofing is needed.

    user

    Re: yeast-based rising --

    Beer that crosses state lines (or is imported) is required by law to be pasteurized. Find a local microbrewery or brew your own so that you can do this with "living" beers that still have active yeast. Then you may be able to avoid using baking soda with a little proofing time.