Did you know you can make a crusty loaf of artisan bread in just a few hours? Read on to see how to make no-knead beer bread in under four hours!
5:11 am is the time that my darling angels woke up yesterday morning. They like to get their day started because who knows what they might be missing in the wee hours before sunrise? After recovering from the shock of beginning my day before dawn, I was ready to put on a happy face and make good use of my time.
First I made muffins, which I will feature next week. Then, after getting The Tall One off to school, I started bread dough. I am a big fan of no knead bread, having first tried the recipe that was popularized in the NY Times. I also tried “Almost No Knead Bread” from America’s Test Kitchen, which I liked even more, although it is a fussier recipe. Most recently, I found a recipe for Beer Bread that is the quickest and easiest method yet, and the bread is chewy, moist, and flavorful. I tweaked the recipe to shave 30 minutes off the prep time, and now I will share my version with you.
First, put your choice of 12-oz. beer on the counter to start warming up (assuming it was in the refrigerator). On this occasion, I used Double Take Belgian White. It was our last one, and I was sad to use it for bread. Then I reminded myself that they do sell more at the store and felt OK about it. When you are ready to make bread, place the beer bottle or can in a measuring cup of hot water to warm it to a yeast-friendly temperature.
While your beer is warming, you can mix your dry ingredients. Stir together 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups bread flour, 1 tsp. highly active yeast, and 2 tsp. kosher salt. Now, pour in your warm beer and 1/4 cup of warm water (about 100 degrees F). Stir together until all flour is incorporated and you’ve made a lumpy, bumpy ball of dough as seen here:
Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for two hours, or until about doubled in size. I put mine on the dining table near a sunny window. (I like the way this Mommy figurine is holding a pacifier and ice cream cone. These are valuable tools in my parenting arsenal too.)
OK, so two hours have passed, and now your dough looks about like this. Bigger, right? I never know exactly how to be sure that it’s twice as big, but let’s just say it is.
Turn your dough out onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle enough flour (about 1 tbsp.) over the top of the dough to lightly coat the surface.
Now, shape the dough into a loaf shape. Cover with a towel again and let rise 30-60 minutes more (I usually go for longer). Before this resting period is over, place a pie dish filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
After resting, cut a slash in the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife or razor blade. (I did not have a very sharp knife available, so my slash is a little janky. That’s OK. It still gets the job done.)
Finally, bake your loaf in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting. Just look at that. Yum.
I will recommend this bread any time I write a recipe for soup or salad. It makes a pretty large loaf, so I also recommend having some buttery, soft brie available to spread on the leftovers.