Life Is Like A Shit Sandwich

The famous British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said “Life is like a shit sandwich. The more bread you have the less shit you have to eat.” Ok he probably didn’t say that. Its more likely the sort of line porn star Ron Jeremy would utter. Regardless of who we can attribute to that quote, it rings true. We spend most of our working lives trying to get more money. So far I haven’t really figured it out. Most people, it seems, never figure it out. So while I can offer no advice on getting more money, I can help with getting more bread.

Since they share so much in common, beer and bread work well together. It can be as simple as using bread to soak up copious pints of beer. I mean there’s a good reason the Germans serve warm pretzels alongside liters of beer during Oktoberfest. Beer and bread’s best and most satisfying marriage is when the two are combined. I humbly offer up some recipes for delicious beer bread, and one signature beer soaker that may well be my curse.

Basic Beer Bread

500g bread flour + more
1 TBL salt
12 oz beer – something dark and malty
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 tsp yeast(one packet)
oil
1 cup water
1/2 tbs cornstarch

Combine the beer and molasses. Heat mixture up to 110F. In a mixing bowl add the yeast. Pour beer mixture over the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes. Add the salt and flour. Mix until well combined and you have a firm dough, adding more flour if needed. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball and add to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise. Let the dough rise until doubled. Punch down the dough. Let it rise until doubled again. Punch it down, and split the dough in half. Shape the dough into whatever shape you want. Move dough to a sheet pan. Cover and let the dough rise until doubled. In a pan combine the water and cornstarch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook cornstarch mixture until translucent. Preheat oven to 450F. Using a pastry brush coat the dough in the cornstarch glaze. Using a sharp knife make a couple shallow cuts in the dough. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Garlic Cheddar IPA Rolls

600g bread flour
1tb salt
2tbs sugar
2tbl unsalted butter, softened
1 cup IPA such as Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Stone IPA, or Breckenridge 471 Small Batch IPA
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 1/4tsp dry yeast, or one packet
oil

Mix the sugar, beer, butter, and milk together. Heat mixture up to 110F. Pour beer mixture over the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes. Mix together the flour, salt, cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and garlic together. Add to the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined and you have a firm dough, adding more flour if needed. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball and add to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise. Let the dough rise until doubled. Punch down the dough. Let it rise until doubled again. Punch it down. Take the dough and portion out into small dough balls. I prefer a 3oz roll. Shape dough into round balls. Place onto baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

Classic Pretzels

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water, 110 F
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
500g all purpose flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
Kosher salt or pretzel salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough. Separate the dough into balls and shape into a classic pretzel shape or the shape of your choice. Let dough rise until doubled. Heat oven to 450f. Combine the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in a pot. Bring to a boil. Working in batches boil the pretzels for 30 seconds. Remove to baking sheet. Sprinkle top of pretzels with salt. Bake until dark golden brown, about 12 – 14 minutes.

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~ by thebrewgeek on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

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