I’ll be telling you tomorrow all about my personal favourite snack for accompanying beer — something I prefer even to pork scratchings, and which is even filthier — but, to make the most of it, I’ll need some special bread. So, today, I’m sharing the recipe for a dark rye bread with a couple of extra beer-geek tweaks.
- 250g strong white bread flour
- 200g rye flour
- a large handful of malted barley (I used pilsner malt)
- 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (for colour)
- 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (or 1 sachet) of fast acting dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 330ml of slightly warmed beer (I used Cooper’s Stout).
- Put all the dry ingredient (flour, sugar, malt, cocoa powder, caraway, salt and yeast) into a big pile on your work surface.
- Make a well in the middle.
- Add the beer bit by bit, mixing between each addition, until you have a big, slightly wet, shaggy ball of dough. (Your hands will be a mess but one of these might help.)
- Knead it until it becomes smooth and pliable (10-15 minutes). Something I learned about bread making recently: if the dough isn’t soggy and horrible to work with for the first five minutes, it’s too dry.
- Put a drop of oil in a bowl. Put the dough in and turn it round in the oil until it’s lightly coated. Cover with a carrier bag.
- Leave somewhere warmish (the kitchen is usually fine) for one or two hours or until doubled in size.
- Knock it back down to size and then push it into a small cane basket coated with rye flour. If you don’t have one of those, just shape it on a floured baking sheet. Cover it with the carrier bag again and leave for another hour or two.
- About 30 mins before you’re ready to bake it, if you’ve got one, put a pizza stone in the oven to heat at the maximum temperature.
- When the loaf is ready, turn it out onto a floured baking sheet (or a peel). Be careful — you want it to retain it’s shape. Then, with a really sharp knife, cut three or four slashes across the top.
- Put it on the pizza stone to cook.
- After 20 mins, turn the oven down to about 180 degrees centigrade.
- After another 20 minutes, check if it’s cooked. It should be dark and sound hollow when tapped.
- Leave it to cool completely on a rack before slicing.