There’s nothing better than getting lost in the aroma’s that fill the kitchen when you are leavening or baking bread. Its sweet, its yeasty, its nostalgic, its curing and its even meditative for some.
Bread-baking has been one of the oldest culinary skills developed by man and there’s nothing more peaceful than plunging your hands into a bowl of flour with warm water or milk, some yeast, sugar and salt and massaging the flour till it starts to come together and then start to develop that gluten and the beautiful bubbles and skin over it.
For all practical purposes, bread needs about four to five ingredients. But it’s the time that you spend with these ingredients that creates the various textures in bread–you can get anything from a fluffy pillow to a crusty top by changing the time you spend kneading and leavening the flour.
Yup bread needs yeast to rise and in this case the rising agent comes from the beer we add. I’ve tried both strong and pale beer’s and personally prefer the taste rendered by a stronger beer. The first time I baked this specific bread, I added pepper corns, fresh dill and cheese but thereafter I experimented with the additions depending on the entrée I was pairing it with. I’ve tried everything from sausages to fresh corn to cottage cheese and the bread was perfect. But then I got a little too experimental and tried stuffing my no-knead bread with barbecued chicken–that was a disaster! Here’s another recipe to try.
Lesson to be learnt: Stay clear of wet ingredients, dry ones and dried herbs add to the texture and flavour.
Here’s the basic recipe, you can alter it to suit your needs.
Baking Time: 45 minutes
- 330 ml beer (the stronger, the more intense are the flavours)
- 3 cups flour (I used a combination of oats, wheat flour and all purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 100 grams cheddar cheese
- 10-12 sprigs of fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground coarse pepper corn
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pre heat the oven to 220 degree C.
- Grease the loaf pan with butter.
- When the temperature comes up to 200 degree C, mix all the ingredients together. The mixture will be dry, but that’s what creates the crust.
- Pour all the combined ingredients into the greased loaf and bake till the top is crusty and golden, about 45 minutes.
- Let the bread stand for 10 minutes before you start slicing it.
- Serve with cheese platter, fruits and bacon jam.