Monday, February 11, 2013

Irish Brown Bread

Guinness adds barley flavor to the bread
I've been working my way through Jim Lahey's popular no-knead bread cookbook, called My Bread.  Next to his basic bread recipe, this is our favorite.   (We've also made his whole wheat, and rye breads, and they weren't as flavorful as this Irish Brown Bread.) 
His no-knead technique is simple  --- you just need a dutch oven -- and time.  The dough ferments for 12 - 18 hours, then you scrape it down and reform it into a ball for second rise of 1 -2 hours, and then bake in a preheated dutch oven inside a very hot oven.  The result is a rustic bread -- very crispy on the outside but soft and flavorful inside.   
Irish Brown Bread
(Jim Lahey's recipe)
300 grams bread flour (2 1/4 cups)
100 grams whole wheat flour (3/4 cup)
1 t. salt
1 T. wheat bran (not wheat germ)
1/4 t. instant or other active dry yeast
3/4 cup Guinness stout, at room temperature (72 degrees)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk at room temperature
additional wheat bran or flour for dusting
In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, wheat bran, and yeast.  Add the beer and buttermilk, and mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds.   (I had to add 2 more T. because it is so dry this time of year. )  Cover the bowl, and let sit at room temperature fro 12 to 18 hours. 
Generously dust a work surface with wheat bran.  Scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.  Using lightly floured hands or a scraper, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center.  Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran.  Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down.  If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran.  Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to2 hours.  The dough is ready when it is almost doubled.  If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold and impression.  If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 quart heavy pot in the center of the rack. 
Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it.  Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up.  Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes 
Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, about 10 - 20 minutes more.  Use a heatproof spatula to lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this recipe!! It’s an excellent bread I’ve been making since 1973 – when I found Myrtle Allen’s recipe in Beard On Bread. Beard’s version doesn’t have any white flour and more salt(too much salt really). I sometimes use honey instead of molasses if that’s what I have on hand.
    I’m glad more people will be able to try this recipe!

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