No-Knead Beer Bread perfect cold day treat
My daughter Rebecca picked up and delivered an order I had from Fleet Farm today. When she was setting cat food in the kitchen she asked if I had taken up drinking—there was an empty beer can on the counter.
“No, I’m not into beer. I’m making beer bread.” My dough was rising in a bowl in the oven. Keeping it there meant it was out of the way and I could keep it a bit warmer there too so no draft would ruin it.
I love my beer bread. It has a hearty crust which is the best. Here’s how I bake the best bread around.
In the beginning, have your can of beer at room temperature. I buy the cheapest beer I can find. I’ve also used old beer that had been left in the pantry for months to make bread. So there is nothing fancy for this recipe.
No-Knead Beer Bread
1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour (divided)
½ cup warm water (not hot)
1 can of beer (12 ounces) room temperature
1 ½ teaspoon table salt
Extra flour for baking sheet
Use a large mixing bowl. A four or five-quart bowl works.
Start with ½ cup of warm water (not hot), ½ cup all-purpose flour, and 1 ½ teaspoon of yeast. Mix them together and let that sit for 30 minutes. At that point, there should be bubbles in this mixture.
Next, pour in the can of beer and watch it bubble! Add 4 cups of flour, 1 ½ teaspoons table salt. Mix all together until it forms a sticky glob of dough and pulls away from the sides of the bowl—there is no need to knead this dough.
Hold the dough up and spray the bowl with oil. Replace dough in the bowl. The oil helps keep the dough from sticking to the bowl. Later you won’t need to scrape so much when removing dough.
Cover bowl. I use a stretchy plastic bowl cover. Set in a warm place—often I warm the oven a little, turn it off, and then set the bowl inside. There it won’t be susceptible to drafts. Let it rise for 2 hours, or until it has doubled.
Put a bit of flour on a baking sheet. Scrape bread dough onto the floured sheet. Roll the dough a bit so it is covered with flour. Now shape it into a loaf. It could be long or round. That’s your choice. Cover lightly with a dish towel and let it rise 30 to 40 minutes in a warm spot. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place a pan of hot water in the lower rack of the oven to supply humidity. Do not forget this water. If it is missed, the end result will be okay, but your bread won’t have that crunchy crust that is oh so good.
When the loaf has risen, slash the top with a sharp knife about 3/4” deep—I crisscross my cuts. Again, you can decide.
Place the baking sheet on the rack above the water and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the bread will be golden brown and sound hard when you knock on the crust, both top, and bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack—if you leave it on the baking sheet, the bottom may get soggy.
When your bread is completely cool, use a sharp serrated knife to cut through that hard crust. Enjoy!
This recipe is a good excuse to keep some beer around the house. And if you have a spare, you might crack open a can and drink it. Beer is okay as a beverage, but I prefer my beer in bread.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.