Stout Bread

This bread goes well with traditional roast beef dinners and may be used as a sandwich bread with wursts or cured sausages. Try it side by side with a glass of stout. You will be amazed at the similarity.

Ingredients

  • 9 cups unbleached high- gluten flour, bread flour, or all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup wheat bran
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup dark roasted malt crystals or powder1
  • tablespoons instant yeast or 3 tablespoons active dry yeast2
  • 4 teaspoons salt, preferably sea salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice3
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • Approximately cups water

Method

Mixing and Kneading

Mix all dry ingredients, including the proofed yeast and cooked, cooled rice, in a bowl, then add the liquid ingredients, reserving a little water for adjustments during kneading. Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter and knead for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough should be firm yet soft, tacky but not sticky, the rice evenly distributed and with no sign of the consistency of a gruel. The gluten should be providing a stretchable medium in which the dough can sustain its rise and hold its dome.

Proofing

Return the dough to a clean bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap or slip the bowl into a plastic bag and allow the dough to rise in a warm place (an oven with the pilot light on or warm room) or at room temperature. Depending on temperature, allow from 45 minutes to 1½ hours for the dough to rise double in volume. To make loaves, follow the directions. Place the loaves in a 9-inch-by--inch-by-3-inch pan. To make rolls, follow the directions.

Baking

Brush a little egg wash on top (1 egg to 2 cups water). Cover, and set aside to proof for about one hour; rolls will take about the same.

When the dough has doubled in size or is cresting over the pan, bake at 350°F. (300°F. in a convection oven) for about 45 minutes (10 to 15 minutes for rolls). Thwack the bottom to test for doneness.

1 Dark roasted malt can be found in home brewing shops or through catalogues. It is expensive, over $2 per pound, but it is the essence of this bread. If you substitute lighter malts, you will have a lighter and subtler bread, the equivalent of an ale rather than a stout. The choice is yours.

Powdered or malt syrups can be found at health food markets but they are usually made of a lighter roast. You could, of course, try to deepen the roast in your oven but proceed with care lest you burn the malt, which is simply caramelized barley sugar.

2 Proof active dry yeast first in 4 tablespoons lukewarm water.
3 Brown rice is better than white but white will do if it is all you have. Start with two parts water to one part rice and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 35 minutes. Cook the rice ahead and allow it to cool down; warm rice tends to make dough gummy. You can also save rice leftover from meals for breadmaking.