Well, I am chuffed. I've been working on version of 'beer' bread that has all kinds of good things in it. I've been inspired by several people (Cedar Mountain, danni3ll3, dabrownman among others) and was also spurred to action by a happy little relationship. My regular beer bread is mostly white flour with a poolish starter made from my husband's pilsner-style beer. The place where he gets his beer making supplies (has been for about 30 years) asked if he could bring in some bread to see if they could sell it, and that worked out well. I wanted to make something a bit more multigrain using the dark beer (stout) that he also makes from one of their kits, plus they gave me a bag of lovely crystal malt and some dried malt extract which I wanted to incorporate.
I put together a recipe a couple of weeks ago and tested it out. It was good, but a bit gummy and dense. I changed up the recipe a bit and made version two. this was way better but the crust was quite tough (very tasty though). This week I made a few more changes and voila - one of the best breads I've made. The crust is crisp and shatters when cut; the crumb is moist and just open enough, and the flavour is awesome!
The recipe is a bit difficult to recount, as there are so many things in it! But here's the synopsis:
- 200 grams bread flour
- 50 grams Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal
- 250 grams stout
- 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
Mix and let ferment until bubbly (overnight if you like)
- Bread flour - 350 grams
- Organic AP flour - 350 grams
- Mixed stone-ground whole organic flours (spelt, khorasan, Red Fife, rye) - 200 grams
- Water - 600 grams
- Cracked crystal malt - 25 grams
- Cooked, toasted grains (spelt, khorasan, Red Fife, rye) - 125 grams
- Active dry yeast - 1/4 teaspoon per loaf
- Dried malt extract - about a tablespoon per loaf
- Olive oil - about half a tablespoon per loaf
- Salt - 20 grams
So, first toast and cook the grains:
Next, soak the crystal malt in the dough water:
That smelled sooooo amazing!
I then mixed all the cooked, cooled grain into the soaker water as well, than added all the flours and let autolyse for about 45 minutes.
I spread out the resulting 'dough' and sprinkled it with the salt, then topped with the starter, dried malt extract and the dough yeast. I folded this in well and then mixed it in the stand mixer until smooth and consistent. I let it sit for probably four or five hours, folding four times over the first couple of hours and it ended up very nice and stretchy.
And into the fridge to proof overnight. It actually was a bit longer as I didn't get around to baking this one until the following afternoon (too busy baking the light beer bread for the beer supplier!). The dough was beautiful - nicely risen and domed with one huge gas bubble just under the top skin. That was some windowpane! I scaled the loaves to 600 grams, preshaped then shaped into tight(ish) balls and into floured baskets.
I didn't let them proof for too long with all that good stuff in them - maybe an hour while I pre-heated the oven and the cast iron pots to 475F. I cut squares of parchment paper and turned the dough out onto the paper, slashed, then lifted each and dropped it into a hot pot. 30 minutes at 450F, then remove lids and another 20 minutes at 425F. Interior temperature was about 205F.
I was so happy with this bread. Even with all that stuff in it, it was not dense. The crust was amazing, and so was the crumb. The things that contributed were:
- Using half AP flour and half bread flour made the crust so much more tender and crispy
- Adding a bit of dried malt extract and olive oil reduced any bitterness from the whole grains (as was evident in the first iteration of this bread)
- Toasting the grains added to the flavour; cooking them reduced the hardness
- Cracking the malt and soaking it in the dough water added an amazing amount of flavour and colour
This is my new favourite bread... :)