Homemade bread, is there anything like it? I absolutely love tearing off a piece as soon as it’s pulled out of the oven. But, what a pain to make it: kneading and waiting, kneading and waiting, kneading and waiting.
It’s also a bit of a pain in that I currently live at almost 7,000ft. High altitude baking is no joke. Forget the “light as air” madaleine cookies, or the puff pastry. Basically, forget any kind of French baking (even though it’s my favorite) because high altitude simply doesn’t support it. I know there are people out there that can bake well in high altitude, I’m not one of them. And because of my high altitude living, the normal bread baking and cake baking comes with it’s own headaches. Since there is just too much work involved to get that light, fluffy, sandwich bread, I instead opt for a heavier bread most of the time.
There are moments when I take my time and spend hours kneading, prepping and baking sandwich bread. At high altitude, those breads require so much more work and I’m not a big sandwich eater, so this bread is one of my go to’s if I need a quick, easy bread that requires little effort.
No knead beer bread is a slightly heavier bread, very easy to make, and goes with soups, chowders or just some butter and jam. Even your novice baker can handle it. I tried it and haven’t gone back to any other easy bread recipe.
What you’ll need:
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup of Warm Water
4 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour, Divided
1 12oz Bottle of Beer
1 1/2 Teaspoons Fine Salt
A Pinch of Flour for Dusting
1 Tablespoon of Cornmeal
First you’ll get a large mixing bowl and combine your yeast, warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Once combined, cover and let sit for about 30 minutes in someplace warm. If it’s winter (which is the perfect time to make this heavy bread), I turn the oven on early and I leave it on top of the oven.
After about 30 minutes, your mixture will look a little weird and bubbly. Add the remaining flour (4 cups), beer and salt.
When picking out a beer, I try and pick one that’s pretty dark and already kind of smells like bread or hops. I think they give the bread a lot of flavor and also help it to rise a lot better than the lighter beers. Truth be told, I don’t think I have ever tried this recipe with a light beer. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
I then mix with a bread mixing attachment on my stand mixture until the result is a thick, sticky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Just like before, you will then cover and let rise, this time for 2 hours, in a nice warm spot.
After about 2 hours your dough should be about double the size. If for some reason it has not risen like it should, either your location is too cold, or your yeast has gone bad. If your yeast has gone bad, it’s not likely to be salvageable. If your area is just not warm enough, place in a warm area and wait a bit longer (maybe an hour). Check on it here and there until it doubles in size.
Once your dough has doubled, take out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Sprinkle the baking sheet with some cornmeal and then transfer your dough from the mixing bowl to the baking sheet. Make sure to place the dough right in the middle and then sprinkle the top of your bread with a bit of flour.
Cover your dough one more time and wait for about 30 to 40 minutes, again, in a warm spot. It will rise once more.
If your oven has not been turned on yet, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
Fill a loaf pan or some other deep, bake-able dish with water and place it at the bottom rack of your oven. This will make sure that there is enough humidity for your bread. This is a really important step in any dry climate, so make sure not to skip it!
At last, your dough is ready to be baked!!!
Now, slash a long slit on the top of your bread. This will allow it to rise in the oven without cracking and will just make it look pretty once it’s baked.
Place your beautiful dough in the oven and bake for a solid 35 minutes. The loaf will be golden brown when done.
High altitude peeps, there is absolutely no substitution that I have made to this bread to convert it to high altitude. This recipe works both at 7,000ft and at sea level! It’s one of the reason I love this bread so much.
Now, remove the beautifully baked bread and enjoy! I usually let it cool a bit before slicing so that it maintains it’s form. Otherwise, dig right in while it’s still warm.