Monday, November 15, 2010
Bread Made with Beer
But, what does bread baking have to do with beer? The Brewing Network's newest show is called The Homebrewed Chef. The show features chef Sean Paxton, know as The Homebrew Chef, and he discusses many aspects of cooking with beer and pairing food with beer. The show offers a nice departure from The Brewing Network's other shows, which are all strictly beer focused, and tries to pull foodies and chefs into the craft beer movement.
At the end of the show entitled Meat The Butcher, Chef Paxton mentions the fantastic idea that bread's flavor can be enhanced by adding beer to the dough. I was dumbfounded - what a great idea! Given that I bake bread often and have access to a constant supply of homebrew, I immediately started planning a baking session to give the idea a try. The bread I selected was a simple white hearth loaf from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, which I modified by switching 15 percent of the bread flour with whole rye flour for increased flavor. I used an Irish red ale to replace all of the water in the dough and just followed the recipe as normal.
I plan on continuing to experiment with beer in bread. In the future, I would likely replace less than 100% of the water with beer, as an attempt to strike a balance between dough rise and beer flavor. This would especially be true when using beer styles with higher IBU levels, like India pale ale (IPA). I will also likely increase the bread's salt content next time I use a malt-forward beer like the Irish red, as it would provide a nice counter balance to the dense malt flavor from the beer.
Have you ever made bread with beer? If so, leave a comment and let our readers know how it turned out.