#baking #fall #beer #bread #cookslife #kitchengirl #fallfavourites #foodie
The last warm days of summer are gone, and winter in slowly encroaching on all the hopeful souls that still believe in a sunny day. As of October 1st I finally handed in my well worn leather sandals and traded them for a pair of lace up leather ankle boots in chestnut red. Realizing I am now going to have to occupy myself with indoor activities, I decided to make a goal this fall to become a better baker. Every holiday celebration this season I am going to try a different type of bread. So, here is a recap of my Thanksgiving Honey Lager French Bread. The French Bread recipe simply calls for yeast, flour, water and salt, rise time 1-2 hrs. Having made this bread before, I was comfortable playing around with the ingredients and added a table spoon of honey and replaced the water with a bottle of Bear Paw Honey Lager. Here is the Recipe:
Honey Lager French Bread
- -2 tsp dried yeast
- -1 Tbs Honey
- – 2 cups warm beer (Bear Paw Honey Lager)
- -1.5 tsp salt
- -5.5 cups flour
Warm beer & honey to 55 C, if it goes above 60 C it will kill the yeast. Pour Mixture over yeast and let stand in a warm place for about 10 min, Yeast should look like little mushroom clouds going off, “Blooming”. While yeast is blooming, sift salt and flour, and add it all to the liquid, use a dough hook on a stand up mixer ( I used Kitchen Aide) on a low speed, mix until a dough forms, At this stage you can either continue using the dough hook and mix for 10 mins at 4 speed, or remove and kneed by hand 15 min. If I used a mixer, I always finish it by hand and test the dough by stretching it. It should stretch until it is translucent, with out tearing. This is called the “Window Test”
Preheat Oven To 400 F. After all that kneeding, oil a metal bowl and place your dough inside, cover with a damp rag and allow to rise 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. After rising, punch down and shape into your loaf. For this loaf I punched it out into a rectangle and rolled a corner in, pinching it all the way down the seam, repeat, fold in the end pieces and roll it up again until the seam is on the bottom. Pinch it shut. It should look like a standard French loaf. Now you can slash the top, and dust with flour. Allow to rise another 30 Mins. Place a small loaf pan full of water in the ovenabout 10 mins before you plan to bake the loaf, this will create steam and will give your bread a crisp crust. Place the risen bread in the oven and leave the pan of water inside for the first 10 mins, then remove and turn the oven down to 375F and continue cooking another 10-15 mins. Remove from oven and allow to rest 15 mins before serving.
Some observations from this recipe:
Bread was very flavourful, crisp crust, and very soft in the middle. Shelf life also seemed to be improved from the standard French Loaf from the substitution of beer and added honey. I had a loaf for thanksgiving, and the left over portion was still very soft the next day. Deffinatly a win. My next baking adventure will be experimenting with stouts, an ode to a winter favourite.
Keep on Cooking!