Last night I attended a garden club meeting in my neighborhood given by my friend M’Lu and her husband Chris. My husband and I have known this couple for over 15 years getting to know them through our son’s scouting events, various elementary and junior high school functions, and dinner parties. The people in the garden club take turns hosting these meetings in their homes and come up with a theme or topic of interest.This particular meeting involved learning about hops, a female flower used primarily as a flavoring in beer. Hops imparts a bitter tangy flavor and balances out the sweetness of the malt in beer. We learned how to grow them, and heard about the history of growing hops in the Bay area. It was interesting information for someone like me who is into gardening, but mostly because I love knowing more about the food and drink that I consume and feed my family.
The best part of the evening was the beer tasting where we all tasted several varieties of beer going from the least hoppy to a very strong beer called #Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale. We all were feeling a bit giggly and thought their label was very clever and memorable. I’m not a beer drinker for the most part, but I do like to have an occasional beer w orange, lemon or lime served with spicy Mexican food like fajitas, enchiladas, or tacos. Tacos go over big in my home. My family would eat them every night if given the chance.
Beer has gotten very popular and trendy with the millennials. And I’ve been told that beer sales are on the rise. IPA’s or Indian Pale Ales are showing popularity like Pliny the Younger/Elder brewed by #Russian River Brewing made just an hour North of here in Santa Rosa. I’m a fan of using beer to cook with for braised meats and stews. It lends itself to savory meals making say a beef brisket more satisfying and juicy.
Last week I ventured into fairly new territory by baking a new Martha Stewart Multigrain Bread recipe. I’ve baked breads before, but none quite like this one. I was amazed by all the strange ingredients that I had to go out and find. What an adventure! If you decide to try this recipe yourself, save yourself a lot of time by shopping at Whole Foods if you have one nearby. I searched up and down the aisles for wheat berries finally stumbling upon them in the bulk food section.
Success! I was determined to make this bread and see how I liked it. These days, I am buying healthier varieties of bread staying away from white bread and this recipe looked like a good one.
See for yourself. It takes a bit of gumption to give it a try, but well worth the effort. I substituted beer for most of the water, making it even yummier.
Here’s the recipe:
2 Pkgs Active Dry Yeast
½ C warm H20
2 t granulated sugar
1 12 oz bottle of Corona Beer (or whatever you like)
2 oz plus 2 T H20
2 T Molasses
1 T Honey
½ C Rolled Oats (plus a little extra to sprinkle on top of loaves)
1 1/3 C cooked Wheat Berries
1 C soaked red bulgur wheat
1/2 C Sunflower seeds
½ C Flax seeds
2 ¾ C Whole Wheat Flour
3 C All Purpose Flour plus extra for kneading.
1 C Rye Flour
2 T Maldon Salt ( my favorite brand of salt to use for baking)
1 whole egg (whip into a small bowl and brush onto loaves before baking)
Place wheat berries in a med size pot, add 3 C H20 and bring to a boil over med high heat. These took quite a while to cook, at least 40 min, so begin with this step. You will have an excess of cooked wheat berries, so measure out 1 1/3 C after they have cooked.
Put 1 C Bulgur into a med size bowl and add 2 C hot water. Let soak until grains are swollen. Drain and set aside. Again, you may have an excess of bulgur after it soaks. You only need 1 cup.
Measure out all the ingredients and bring the butter out of the fridge. By the time all of your ingredients are measured out, the wheat berries should be cooked. Drain water from wheat berries and add the 12 oz. beer to the pot of berries so that the beer is brought to room temperature.
Microwave ½ C water in a small clear bowl until the water is warm to the touch. Not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle in both pkgs of active dry yeast and 2 t sugar. Leave alone to proof for @ 10 minutes.
Strain the beer from the wheat berries into the electric mixer. Add remaining 2 ounces plus 2 T water, honey, molasses, and yeast mixture also. Blend until combined.
Next add to the mixer while on the lowest speed using the dough hook: Bulgur, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, rye flour, butter, salt, oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and wheat berries. Mix until all ingredients are blended continuing to add more flour ½ cup at a time until the dough is soft to the touch and not sticky which will take about 8-10 minutes.
Take dough out of mixer and knead for another 5-7 minutes to develop gluten using extra flour as needed. Place into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for @ 1 ½ hrs.
After dough has risen, take out of bowl, and cut dough ball in half to make 2 loaves. I made 1 large loaf 3 smaller loaves. Spray loaf pans with Pam or butter generously. (I used paper to line my loaf pan, but it became too damp when cooling off.)
Roll each half of dough into a rectangle. Then fold over and tuck in sides before placing in loaf pans.
Brush liberally w egg wash and sprinkle with extra oats, sunflower and flax seeds.
Let bread rise again for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When hot, place loaves in oven and turn down oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 45-65 minutes depending on your oven or bake until it sounds hollow when tapping. Remove beer bread from loaf pans and place onto drying rack.
Serve warm with homemade apricot jam and salted European butter. I also slice and use for toast in the morning and eat with my coffee.
Original recipe was found on Martha Bakes. I changed a few ingredients to make it heartier and added beer instead of water for a more “hoppy” taste.
And who knows, maybe you and your friends will get inspired to have a beer tasting party like M’Lu’s. We had a “Stoopid” good time!