Yay it’s bread! I love bread and I love baking it even more. You too can bake bread! This recipe is pretty simple as most of the work is done overnight while fermenting.
Sorry for the low quality pictures. Still using a cell phone camera.
Cook’s Illustrated Almost No-Knead Bread is one of my favorite bread recipes and one of the better tasting no-knead breads out there. There are both white flour and wheat flour versions. Here, I’ve used the wheat version.
This recipe stands out because it utilizes beer and vinegar, which gives a bread loaf extra flavor. I love the heartiness and nuttiness of the wheat, the malty caramelization from the beer and slight tang from the vinegar. You get sourdough notes without having to bust out your trusty starter and wait till it is fed and risen.
This is a wheat bread, but looks a bit pale because I used 5 oz white whole wheat flour (available at Trader Joe’s and at grocery stores with King Arthur Flour brand) and 10 oz. white bread flour for some loftiness in the loaf. Usually, if you use just wheat flour, the bread tends to be dense. The beer that I used was Heineken as it was the last bottle in the fridge. I think that this bread does well with lagers and lighter beers instead of the more robust and darker beers such as stouts and porters. Also, instead of using 7 oz. of water and 3 oz. of beer, I just used 10 oz. of lager because I wanted a more pronounced malty beer-y flavor. You can experiment with your own formulations if you wish.
Update: You could even replace the beer with water or any other liquid. Of course, doing so would change the flavor, but experimenting is fun! Let me know if you’ve tried some interesting combinations! I might try this recipe with pumpkin ale and see what happens.
I also topped my bread dough with sesame seeds and it brought “something extra” that toasted sesame tends to do, I guess it is partly the rich nuttiness and the crunch. The sesame seeds with this bread tasted beautifully with the lentil stew we had last night.
I was happy with how the oven-spring and how the crumb turned out for a wheat bread.