It's really good. The taste of the beer is subtle, but it's there. I used Bass Ale because it was the closest thing to a Belgium style ale as we've got. I think if I had a good Belgian ale, this bread would be just that more delicious. As always quality ingredients make quality products. But please, it's not like I used the Michelob Ultra in the beer fridge. That would make an interesting beer bread for sure.
The texture of this bread is dramatically different than the Julia Child French Bread. Where Julia's bread was sticky as dough and air bubbles consistently popped up on the surface. This dough was stiff. I had a hard time telling for sure when it was rising even. Julia's bread has such lovely holes and a light and chewy texture. This bread is dense and has a thick and hearty texture. Please don't misunderstand me though. This bread would be ideal slathered with butter accompanying these beans, or with no butter and a hearty soup. It would also be excellent with a slab of onion and some liverwurst.
Call me nutty, but I think I just got hit over the head with my German heritage. I don't mind, I'm munching away on my bread.
Beer Rye Bread
1 package active dry yeast
1 (12oz) bottle Belgian style ale
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 Tbsp coarse Kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rye flour
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water)
In a mixing bowl, combine yeast with 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in beer, brown sugar,butter, caraway seeds, molasses, 2 tsp salt, and 1 cup of each flour. Beat well, then gradually add remaining flours until dough is stiff and no longer sticky.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top and bottom. Cover, put in a warm draft-free place, and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down, divide in half, and shape halves into balls. Put balls on a large baking sheet, cover, and let rise until almost doubled, 45 to 60 minutes. Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp salt. Cut a cross in the top of each loaf with a very sharp knife.
Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes, spraying occasionally with a water mister, until crusts are well browned and loaves make a hollow sound when tapped. Transfer loaves to rack and let cool.
Makes 2 loaves, 12 slices per loaf.
Per slice: Calories 144 (17% from fat); Fat 2.7g (sat 1.3g); Protein 4.1g; Cholesterol 14mg; Sodium 271mg; Fiber 3.2g; Carbohydrate 27g