Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lassy Beer Boule

One of the staples of existence has always been a form of bread. It's for good reason - think of how simple something so sustaining really is! Ground grain, water and either natural or added yeast cultures - that's it! Three ingredients, plus time and heat, work magic to produce an object that is basic need, a currency, a plate and a parcel. It really is remarkable.

Of course, over time we've elaborated on the three-ingredient basic, adding salt and sugar for flavour and yeast function, fats and eggs for texture and colour, and all sorts of additions to suit our every whim. Loaves are round, square, oblong, flat, twisted and braided, or done away with altogether in favour of the rolls, pretzels and bagels filling bakery shelves. While the shapes of the dough do offer certain benefits to the physiology of the bread being created, one of the most prominent reasons for slashing, dusting, painting or adorning a loaf is simply decoration. Who doesn't like a beautiful object of any kind, especially when that object tastes delicious?

For this month's Bread Baking Day (hosted by The Gingered Whisk), bakers are parading their gorgeous, decorated creations in a culinary fashion show! While my "rustic" boule is not the highschool cheerleader of the group, I did make an effort to pretty it up a bit by slashing a "Winter tree" onto the surface. The dough itself is a whole-grain, fruit and seed filled concoction that I enriched with butter, molasses and beer for a world of flavour and moisture. Not only is it fantastic for eating fresh, but when lightly toasted it is a perfect vehicle for sweet butter, cream cheese, peanut butter or any sort of Toast Topper!

Lassy Beer Boule

When you make bread, do you decorate it at all? What else do you do to make your food pretty?

Lassy Beer Boule
Makes one large loaf, 24 slices
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 tbsp instant yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 bottle (12 oz) beer (I used a honey lager), room temperature
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbsp melted salted butter
1/4 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
oats for dusting
  1. Whisk together the gluten, flours, yeast and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer.
  2. Mix the beer, water, molasses and butter and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix / knead for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sunflower seeds and raisins and knead another 5 minutes.
  5. Cover and let rest 45 minutes.
  6. Knead the dough briefly and place into a well-floured brotform (or a bowl lined with a well floured towel).
  7. Cover and let rise another 50 minutes.
  8. Heat the oven to 375°F. Dust a baking sheet with oats.
  9. Turn dough out of the brotform or bowl onto the baking sheet.
  10. Slash the top of the loaf decoratively and place in the oven.
  11. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool on rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 119.7
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 1.3 mg
Sodium: 13.8 mg
Total Carbs: 22.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
Protein: 4.8 g