Beer and bread have much in common, it’s basic ingredients of water, grain and yeast, bring people together to consume them and the many varieties they come in.
I am actually writing this whilst on the Euro Tunnel on my way back from a mini driving tour of Holland and Belgium. Whilst Holland was lovely and was a very interesting and friendly place, Belgium is the place for a foodie, even a kosher one. Between the beer and the chocolate one can never go hungry. We found kosher symbols on random bars of chocolates and waffles and the chocolate shop Leonidas has a list of kosher products. The sweet assistant in Bruges told us we were her first customers who asked for it.
It’s quite fascinating to go into the incredible number of chocolate shops and see how creative they can get with chocolate, from interesting flavours to unusual shapes and sizes. Our favourite was pure milk chocolate with whole hazelnuts, a marriage made in heaven.
I’m going to confess that I’m not actually a fan of beer but I felt that it would be exceptionally disrespectful to be in Belgium and not try some, especially as I enjoy cooking with it and even make bread with it. In Bruges, which is the most magical and beautiful medieval town in Belgium, was where I decided it was time to drink my first beer. I started with a raspberry flavoured one which I actually quite enjoyed. Then after visiting the only remaining active brewery left in Bruges it was time to try their freshly brewed beer, especially as it came free at the end of the tour. I appreciated why on a hot summers day it’s nice to drink as its cold fizzy texture is very refreshing but it’s not going to be my first choice of drink… I think Pimms will always win!
Now let’s talk bread. As mentioned bread and beer have their basic ingredients in common so it doesn’t seem too obscure to incorporate the two. A couple of weeks ago I made two types of bread with beer, one with normal beer and one with Guinness. These were Paul Hollywood’s recipes. The idea is to substitute beer for the water you usually use to bind the dough together. I wasn’t sure what to expect when making this bread, as effectively you are adding more yeast to the dough and I was worried that the yeast would be much more apparent in the taste. The end product was more pleasing to the taste buds than expected, though granted this bread isn’t going to go down as one of my favourite breads. You could taste the yeasty flavour of the beer, but it wasn’t over powering, in actual fact I think it could have had a stronger taste to it. In short it was like eating a regular brown bread, with an extra kick and a thick crunchy crust. I was surprised at the crust of the bread, you make the bread with wholemeal flour, which usually creates a nice crust, but this time it developed into a beautiful thick crunchy crust. That was my favourite bit of the bread.
If you prefer your beer to your Pimms give this bread a try and let me know what your take is on it.
- 250 g strong wholemeal flour
- 250 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tbsp salt
- 20 g dried yeast
- 30 g vegetable oil
- 300 ml beer
- Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until the mixture forms a dough.
- Knead for 3-4 minutes, until smooth.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a further 5 minutes, and then put the dough back into a bowl and leave to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Return the dough to the floured work surface and shape into a ball, then flatten and roll up. Put the dough onto a greased baking sheet and leave to rise for a further hour.
- Set the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Cut several slashes across the top of the bread and dust with wholemeal flour.
- Bake for 30 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
First published on Arutz Shevahttp://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Message.aspx/7354#.VceJjE1wbIU