MAKE IT: Beer Bread

???????????????????????????????Ok, so this is a bit of a weird one but my husband made a batch of homebrew and I wanted to try making bread from the yeast that was left over from the brewing process.

I did some scratching around with the help of Google and didn’t really find much inspiration so I decided to give it a try using a pretty standard bread recipe and substituting the yeast.  Here’s what I came up with:

1 1lb Strong bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp honey
4 tbspn’spent’ brewing yeast
1/2 pint warm water

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This is what the spent brewing yeast looks like.  It’s the sludgy residue left on the bottom of the container once you’ve siphoned off the beer.  It smells pretty powerful, but in a good way.

I mixed all the ingredients together in the electric mixer with a dough hook attachment on low speed for 10 mins.  The resulting dough was alarmingly batter-like but I left it to rise on the worktop for 24 hours.  I knew this wasn’t going to be a fast-acting rise!

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Actually, I wasn’t sure it was going to rise at all but patience pulled through and this was the ‘before and after ‘result.

??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????Not a bad rise at all.

Because this was a wet dough, I decided to cook it using the Dutch oven method which allows for a good spring from the evaporation of the excess water.  It’s this that makes the big holes in the bread.

This is how you do it.

  • Put the dough onto a heavily floured worktop (and I mean heavily floured!)
  • Roughly shape the dough and let to prove for as long as it takes to heat up the oven.  It will be quite a sloppy mix but don’t worry.  I put mine in a basket to stop it spreading sideways too much.

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  • Put the oven on to heat to 220C.
  • Place a cast iron lidded pot in the hot oven for 20 mins to heat up – empty.
  • When the pot is up to temperature, remove the lid and drop the dough into it.  It doesn’t matter if it isn’t central, it will level itself in the oven.
  • Replace the lid and bake for 20 mins

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  • Remove the lid or remove the loaf entirely and place on a pre-heated baking tray to bake for a further 15 mins and brown.

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And that’s it.  It worked!

We had it with cheese and chutney.  It smells amazing and has a bit of a sourdough-like tang to it delicious but not boozy – sorry!

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MUSINGS: Spring

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Spring is trying to surprise us.  It’s the last day of February and the daffodils have all pushed up their flower buds ready to burst into colour.  Of course a few have already been up for a week or two – the odd little bunch here and there as if the daffodil community send out some scouts to check out the conditions and report back before they collectively decide the time is right.

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It’s not just the daffs though, oh no, the cherry tree outside my front door has a grand total of three tiny pink flowers.  There are more birds around and the sunlight is beginning to creep further and further down the back wall of our north facing little garden.

The veggie patch has a few die-hard parsnips, beetroot and carrots but really we’re in the realms of leeks, kale and a bit of spinach.  A very sorry selection.  The empty beds have been cleared and dug over and those that are destined for hungry vegetables have been fed with a bumper load of rotted chicken muck and covered over to keep the weeds out and give the worms time to do their thing.

Tomato and pepper seeds have germinated on the window-sill propagator and a few seeds sown in the greenhouse awaiting enough heat and light to spring into action.

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This year, I’m trying out some early broad beans peas and carrots in the greenhouse to see if I can get a quick crop before temperatures rise to high for them.  We’ll see what happens.