Intro: Irish Stout Cast Iron Beer Bread
I've been home brewing for years now, and most of the time I take my specialty grains and put them in my compost. They are full of nutrients and work wonders in the garden. Recently I made a Irish stout beer and the grains smelled to good to throw in the compost. Now historicaly, I would wash my beer yeast and use some of that to bake wonderful bread, but I've never used my grains. This time, with the smell of the Irish stout grains, it hit me to throw them in my rustic cast iron bread recipe. To my surprise, this took my already tried and true bread to a whole new level of goodness. I was absolutely amazed at how well this bread turned out (and there isn't an easier recipe to follow) The icing on the cake was the fact I get to brew a very great beer and bake an amazing loaf of bread.
Step 1: Brew the Beer
If you're a home brewer, you know this step already. If you are not, there are endless guides on the interwebs on how to get started. Here is my Irish stout in the primary fermenter.
But I'm not writing a instructable on brewing beer. This is a guide to take the specialty grains from an extract kit, and turn it into bread.
Step 2: Gather the Ingredients
- 3 cups unbleached bread flour (you can use all purpose, but make sure it's unbleached) why unbleached? I don't know, every artesian bread book I've bought says to use unbleached.
- 1.5 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 packet active dry yeast (or if you are like me, you can use some washed yeast from a different beer brewing day. If you go that route, 1 tablespoons washed beer yeast
- 1.5 cups of water
- 1 cup specialty grains (still wet, they don't need to be dried) I just freeze mine in 1 cup batches.
That's it, that's all you need.
Step 3: Just... Mix It All Together
No need to be fancy here. Throw it all in a bowl and mix it all up. I use a spatula. Mix until it's nice and blended and all the flour is absorbed. This is going to be a sticky mess, so it's advised not to use your hands. Once mixed together, that's it. No need to knead (pun intended). This is a very active mixture, and the yeast will do all the work for you.
Now, cover it with plastic wrap and place it somewhere in ambient temperature (anything between 60-85 is good)
Let it sit from 8-18 hours. The longer it sits, the more sourdough flavor it will have. I usually make this up before I go to work at 5am and bake the bread when I get home from work. So about 10 hours I would guess. Try different times, see what you like best.
Step 4: Baking the Loaf
After the dough has sat for some time, it will be about double in size. It should look sloppy, not like regular dough.
Preheat your over to 450* with the 2qt cast iron pot in the oven. Once the oven is preheated, take the pot out and set it near your working surface. This is the tricky part.
Put a liberal amount of flour in the counter. And dust your hands pretty good. Use a spatula to scrap the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. Be gentle with it, you don't want to degas the dough to much.
Here you have to be gentle and quick, the dough is a spongy mess. Keeping your hands floured well, form the dough into a ball, pick it up and plop it in the pot quick. (your first time might be a mess, but don't worry, it will still come out excellent) Put the cover on and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.
After the 35 minutes of baking, remove the pot from the oven. Then dump the fresh baked bread onto a cooling rack. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and enjoy.
There you go, fresh baked cast iron beer bread.
I have made many styles of bread in my life, this one is by far the best and easiest.
I hope you enjoy, and don't be afraid to experiment with this recipe.