Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dark Beer Bread

So the Great Dane Pub in Madison, Wisconsin, has amazing beer, but also amazing beer bread. It's dark, moist and delicious. I've been wanting to figure out how to make something like it for a while, and finally realized it's a bit like a Russian black bread. This was my first attempt to make it. I think what I needed was a different variety of beer (I used Leinie's Oktoberfest, which is all I had around, which was a bit too hoppy/bitter - their menus says they use a stout combined with a light beer, but anything dark with good carmel flavor would be good).

I've adapted the recipe from here.

Ingredients:
1/2 c. water
1 c. dark carmely beer (stouts are probably best here - best if room temp)
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. molasses (you can substitute 1 Tbsp. brown sugar here for crispier crust)
1.5 tsp. yeast

2.5 c. bread flour
1 c. rye flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. butter (room temp)
1 tsp. instant coffee crystals (optional - or use a coffee porter for the beer)
1 Tbsp. caraway seed (optional)
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)

Instructions:
1. Mix 1/2 c. warm water with yeast and 1 Tbsp molasses. Let proof.
2. Mix flour, butter, cocoa powder, salt and seeds together.
3. Add water-yeast mixture, beer, and remaining 2 Tbsp molasses to the flour, combine.
4. Knead bread on floured surface until springy.
5. Rise 1 hour, punch down, rise until doubled, punch down, remove, knead briefly (5-6 kneads), shape into a round then let rise 20 minutes. Cut SMALL slits in the top to allow steam to release. You can reduce the rising as time allows.
6. Bake at 350 for 30-45 min.

You can serve this with just butter, though at the Great Dane they serve it with butter creamed with honey. It is as good as it sounds...

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