I’m a relatively recent convert to the craft beer revolution, and to beer in general. I’ve always been an ‘all beer tastes the same’ kind of girl, but I learned a bit about the different styles to make buying beer for my husband less stressful and that led to trying them out for myself. More recently, I’ve been doing a little bit of cooking with beer. Last year I made chocolate stout truffles, and last week we tried out Simon Delaney’s tasty chicken wings recipe – the sauce is made with Guinness but we used Galway Hooker Irish Stout. (The recipe was in Easy Food magazine – it’s always full of deliciously interesting recipes and tips.)
Beer really comes into its own though when you add it to pizza dough. It helps create a yeasty, malty dough that forms crisp airy domes in the oven. I figured that if beer the best pizza dough, it follows that it should also make amazing bread, right? I gave it a try and came up with a recipe that’s just perfect for sandwiches. It has a softish crust and it cuts beautifully. It also makes the best toast.
I tried it with beer and no water and it had a very distinctive (but not unpleasant) beer flavour. Half beer, half water also gives fantastic results with less of a yeasty kick – perfect if you want the benefits of adding the beer without too much of the flavour. I used Brooklyn Lager, but a pale ale would work pretty well too.
One last thing: My photos are crap. Our kitchen is a mess. Always. (Time to do a clear out!) But the bread is delicious, so I don’t care.
Makes 1 loaf
500g strong white flour
1tsp Maldon salt
1 can beer (330ml-355ml depending on the can), or half water and half beer for a more mellow flavour
Put the flour in the bowl of your mixer (or a large bowl if doing it by hand) and add the yeast and salt.
Add the lard in small pieces and give it a quick mix.
Warm the beer and water until it’s lukewarm. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the beer/water mix. Knead in a stand mixer for 5 minutes, or by hand on a floured surface for 10 minutes.
Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel or cling film and leave it in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Knock the dough back and knead it for a minute on a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a loaf and place it in a greased loaf tin lined with parchment on the bottom.
Cover the loaf tin with a damp towel, or put it in a large food-safe plastic bag and leave it to rise for 30 minutes or until the dough is peeking over the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 230ºc.
Put the bread dough in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180ºc and bake for a further 20 minutes. Tip the loaf out of the tin and tap the underside – if it sounds hollow, it’s ready.
Cool on a wire rack for as long as you can resist it, then cut a slice and slather it with butter.
This bread freezes really well. I slice it and wrap it in twos in cling film. Then just pop a couple of slices in the toaster when you fancy a snack.