The easiest and most delicious bread recipe

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This bread has accompanied many a brew club gathering. It’s simple to make and delicious every time, and it has beer in it!

Almost No-Knead Bread

Modified from Cook’s Illustrated 2008.

Makes 1 large round loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature (I usually end up using a little less, or a little more flour to get the right dough consistency)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored beer (Budweiser is fine and so is an IPA or pretty much anything)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • Chopped herbs (optional)

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Instructions

1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in large bowl (and herbs, if using). Mix water, lager, and vinegar together and add to the flour mixture. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. If it’s really sticky, add a little more flour (otherwise it will be still delicious but kind of flat). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours (or if you’re in a rush, you can let it rise in the oven with the light on for about 4 hours and it’ll still be tasty. Just make sure the oven doesn’t get too hot – you might want to turn the light off after an hour or so depending on how hot your oven light is).

2. Line a large bowl (about the size of your dutch oven or a little smaller) with parchment paper. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead 10 to 15 times (or knead in the bowl). Shape dough into ball and place it into the parchment-lined bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. About 30 min before the bread is done rising, put the empty dutch oven (lid on) into the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. When it’s preheated, turn the temp down to 425. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one or two slits along top of dough. Pick up the dough by lifting the parchment overhang and lower it into the Dutch oven. Put lid on and bake bread for 30 minutes.

4. Remove lid and continue to bake (still at 425) until loaf is deep brown and registers 210 degrees (15 minutes works for me, but it could be different with a different oven). Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and try to let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into loaf.

Enjoy!

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