To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Bread Baking Day, Zorra, the founder and this month's hostess, challenged all bread bakers to make a bread with beer.
Having recently made a beer bread, I still had several bottles of beer remaining, so the search was on for a new recipe.
I found a rye bread for which I had all the ingredients and for which I made minor substitutions -- medium rye for dark, regular beer for light. The end result was a delicious bread, good toasted or made into sandwiches.
I had hopes of enjoying this bread for several weeks, but due to a recent freezer malfunction, that was not to be. Half a loaf went to my dear neighbor yesterday, and the other half sits on my counter, waiting to be consumed along with other bread products. Bummer. (For the freezer problem, not the bread.)
So, I'm sending this bread over to Zorra for the Bread Baking Day #51 celebration. I'm looking forward to seeing what the other bread bakers submit.
2 cups dark or medium rye flour
2 teaspoons yeast
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
12 ounces beer
15 ounces warm water
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Combine beer and water in a large bowl. Add yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Add rye flour and 3 cups of AP flour in a bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir until thick batter forms. Cover and let rest until mixture begins to bubble, about 2 hours.
Stir in reserved 2-1/2 cups flour, salt and fennel seeds. Mix in the electric mixer or knead on a floured surface. You will probably use about 1/2 cup additional flour for kneading. It's a very sticky dough, but adding too much flour will make your bread more dense.
Return dough to bowl, cover and rest for another 45 minutes to an hour.
Place dough on floured surface and divide into two or three pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Place in forms or shape as desired. Let rise until double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slash loaves with a razor blade. Slide loaves or pans into oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees F after 5 minutes of cooking. Bake for another 25 minutes or until bottom of loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.