This is a little trick I developed for getting deep flavor from bread that's only risen for an hour or so. The yeastiness of the beer and the depth of the malt imparts a wonderful flavor that doesn't take overnight to achieve. I use this technique a lot when I make pizza dough, so I thought I'd give this a shot. It's super-easy -- you don't even have to knead it!
Use this Beer Bread Baguette to slice and serve with a cheese plate or grill it to make smoky grilled pimento cheese sandwiches. We even cubed some up after a couple of days, tossed it with a little olive oil, and served it atop broccoli-cheddar soup. The possibilities are endless, and it's so nice to have fresh-baked bread around the house.
Beer Bread Baguette
1 cup beer*
1 cup all-purpose flour (more for dusting)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 envelope rapid rise (1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
(*The best beer for this is one that is quite robust like a winter ale or an IPA. You want something with some character.)
Pour a cup of beer into a microwave-safe cup and microwave for one minute. Place the two flours, yeast, and salt into the work bowl of your food processor, turn it on, and drizzle in the warm beer until the mixture turns into a ball and rolls around the outside of the bowl. (You will likely need just shy of a full cup of beer for this to happen.) The resulting dough ball should not be too dry and just slightly tacky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Dust your work surface with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Turn the rested dough onto the surface. Press the dough into a 9x6 inch rectangle -- it needn't be perfect, though. Gently roll the long side up onto itself to form a tube. Place dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Tuck the very ends of the dough under if you want the ends to be smooth. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut a 2-inch slit in the top of the dough and repeat the same slit every inch. This allows the dough to expand and become soft.
Place a large mixing bowl upside down over the dough and allow it to rise for an hour or until it has nearly doubled in size. With your pizza stone in place, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slide the risen dough and the parchment onto the hot stone. Cook seven minutes, open the oven door, and toss 1/4 cup of water into the oven, but try not to hit the bread directly. Doing this will crisp the outside of your bread. Cook another 7 minutes for a total of 14 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.