Brewing and bread are great partners. Allow me to explain. Brewing takes a little bit of water, grains, yeast, and patience. Bread is similar. In fact, very similar. Add a little water, yeast, grains, and some patience, and in the end.. we come up with something deliciously awesome. “The knob to awesomeness” was definitely on high today. We brewed a fantastical Cascadian Dark Ale, which dubbed POW, and baked delicious bread with POW’s dreamy leftovers.
You may be wondering, ‘how did the recipe turn out and where did it come from’? I found and adapted this fine recipe via the World Wide Web and am happy to share it with each of you. I decided to go with a ‘free-form’ loaf rather than with something in some sort of fancy or funny-shaped pan — what I discovered: a loaf of bread not only delicious, but unique and beautiful.
So… I began with a bowl and:
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups spent grain
1/4 sea salt
1 tbsp yeast
Put that all in the bowl. Then, add 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water and mix it. There you have it. Bread. As simple as that. Be sure to switch arms if you don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer — this will help alleviate Popeye arm. Finally, let sit and rise for two or more hours. Have a few beers while waiting. During this time, grease and lightly flour a cookie sheet, take fistfuls of flour and the sticky mess of a dough in your hands, and shape it like a loaf; round, oval, square, however you’d like. I chose round. Once I shaped the dough the way I wanted it, I cut two slashes on the top of the loaf and slid it carefully into the oven on my already prepared cookie sheet. Before you close up shop, pour a cup or more of water in an oven-safe pan or dish, place on the lower rack (under the cookie sheet with the bread dough), and close the door. This will help steam and caramelize the outside surface of the bread. Yummmm. At this point, your kitchen quarters should be smelling of yeasty dough and beer grains. Mmmmmm.
Let it bake for 37 to 40 minutes. The top should be golden-to-dark brown, and if you tap the bread, it should sound hollow. Once the timer sounds, remove the bread from the oven and to enjoy at its maximum deliciousness, let cool for 15 minutes prior to serving.
While patiently waiting for our bread to rise and bake, we went for a mini cross country ski around 10 mile. A foot of fresh pow nicely covered the trail and made for a bit more trail-breaking and exercise. The sun peeped through the trees and felt warm against our faces. The snow glistened and the light breeze tickled our noses.
We toured around the river, in through the trees, and over many mini mountains and creek crossings before making our way back to the house, just in time to throw the beer bread in the oven, pour ourselves a frosty beverage, and greet Pete at the door with a fine glass of whiskey. What a great day — fresh brew, fresh bread, a light ski, and great company. To top the marvelous and extremely relaxing evening off, I whipped up a delicious vegetable curry and potato soup. The tasty homemade bread and curry soup were magical together. What a mouthwatering treat. I definitely look forward to making many more breads with our beer’s spent grains. Maybe the next recipe I try will be a little sweeter: honey, oats, or a little molasses, perhaps?