Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Danny, Boy Oh Boy, Rye Bread with Guinness Stout and Fennel Seeds

Wowzer! Put the watercress away and grab a hunk of really, really sharp Cheddar cheese. This bread is not for sissies. It's a guy's bread - bold, assertive and great for male gatherings when you have a horde to feed. This is a high-moisture bread, so it's really easy to make once you overcome resistance to the wet, sticky dough. If you're tired of the St. Patrick's day soda bread ritual you might want to give this bread a try. I found instructions for the bread on the Group Recipes site where it is called Black Velvet Guinness Rye Bread with Fennel Seeds.

Rye Bread with Guinness Stout and Fennel Seeds

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
24-ounces stout beer (i.e. Guinness), room temperature
3 ounces warm water
2 cups rye flour
5-1/2 cups unbleached flour + 1/2 cup flour for kneading
4 teaspoons table salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1) Combine beer and water in a large bowl. Add yeast and stir until completely dissolved.
2) Add rye flour and 3 cups of white flour; whisk until thick batter forms. Cover and let rest until mixture begins to bubble, about 2 to 4 hours.
3) Stir in reserved 2-1/2 cups flour, salt and fennel seeds. Turn batter onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead roughly. Dough will remain sticky and loose despite your best efforts. I've found it best to repeatedly fold and throw it onto the work surface. I use about 1/2 cup additional flour for kneading. At this point you want to incorporate as much air as possible in the dough. The mass will begin to resemble a dough as you knead, but it will be very, very loose.
4) Return dough to bowl, cover and rest for another 45 minutes or so.
5) Turn dough onto work surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
6) Lay dishtowels onto your work surface and lightly flour them. Re-shape dough balls into loaves and place on dishtowels to rise. I used Italian bread pans to hold my loaves because the dough was so loose I feared I'd have pita bread if it was not constrained. Let rise until double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
7) Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
8) Diagonally slash loaves with a razor blade.
9) Mist sides of oven with water from a spray bottle.
10) Slide loaves or pans into oven. Reduce heat to 425 degrees F after 5 minutes of cooking. Bake for another 25 minutes or until bottom of loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 3 loaves.

Cook's Note: This dough is very loose. I used Italian bread pans to contain the dough mass. Towel lined bread baskets can also be used.

I'm sending this recipe to Susan at Wild Yeast for her weekly Yeast Spotting event.


Martha said...

It's time to think of all things Irish -- this bread looks fantastic. And what a great accompaniment to the corned beef and cabbage

Donna-FFW said...

Mary- This bread is calling my name. It looks awesome and sounds fabbulous. You bake bread beautifully, each time!! I am in awe. Wish I had that skill.

Netts Nook said...

Oh Mary your bread looks great I hope I can get it made before someone consumes the Guinness. Can't wait to try just bought fennel seeds last week I will let you know how it goes.

Cathy said...

I do like a hearty bread that can hold its own when topped with a slice of a good aged cheese.

Sounds delicious Mary.

Pam said...

I should make this for my husband - he is a Guinness fan. I love rye and fennel seeds so I am sure I would love it too.

Lisa said...

Sounds delicious. I'm going out to find some of Cahill's Irish Porter Cheddar this afternoon. That and a loaf of this bread would make a great meal on its own!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Irish, Irish.
I think there's room for both this Guinness bread and Irish Soda Bread at my table.

Anonymous said...

What a great combo....I have 3 cans of Guiness in the fridge!

Karen said...

I've never had soda bread, but in reading the recipes it really doesn't appeal to me. This looks good, hearty, and comforting. :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

Gals, this is a delicious bread but I'm not kidding when I say it's strong.

Anonymous said...

Despite it being a guy's bread, I think I might like it!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Susan, if you like strong flavors you'll like this bread.

Siri said...

This looks awesome and intense! I bet a "lady" like me could eat the entire loaf of a "man" bread like this.

Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Anonymous said...

Ooh...it looks so moist, love fennel seeds :)

Lori said...

This is a beautiful bread and I bet it tastes marvelous. Its on my list of must try's!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Lori, thanks for stopping by. I hope you like the bread,

Anonymous said...

I made it! The flavor is outrageously good. As you say, not for the faint of heart!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hi Susan. Glad you liked the bread.

NKP said...

I saw this recipe on Susan's site and had to come right over, it sounds wonderful! I am definitely trying this one out.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Natashya, I love it when you stop by. Remember if you decide to try the bread it is very strong. Not unpleasant, very different and easy to do.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Lori, I can't access your blog via your profile, so I'll have to answer here. Use the seeds interchangeably. It is not common practice but I do it all the time, depending on what I have in my spice drawer. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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