Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jim's Irish Brown Bread

I'm having some family over to watch the Packer game tomorrow and will be making reuben pizza. I'll have some corned beef and cabbage left over for reubens a bit later in the week, so I decided to make a loaf of Jim's Irish Brown Bread from My Bread to construct my reubens, as well as serve alongside some soup I plan on making this week. An added bonus is the fact that I'll get rid of the last, lonely Guinness that has been sitting in my refrigerator for months after purchasing a 6-pack for some cooking projects (I'm a local beer girl). Just like the rest of Jim Lahey's breads, this is incredibly simple and delicious. It's the last of his recipes I had bookmarked to try as soon as possible, but after all the wonderful breads I've made so easily from My Bread, you can be sure I'll be back to try more recipes sometime soon.

Jim's Irish Brown Bread
from My Bread by Jim Lahey

2.25 c. (300 grams) bread flour
3/4 c. (100 grams) whole wheat flour
1 t. (6 grams) table salt
1 T. (5 grams) wheat bran
1/4 t. (1 grams) instant or other active dry yeast
3/4 c. (175 grams) Guinness Stout, at room temperature (about 72 degrees)
3/4 c. (175 grams) well-shaken buttermilk, at room temperature
Additional wheat bran or flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, wheat bran, and yeast. Add the beer and buttermilk and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel loosely over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack positioned in the lower third, and place a covered 4.5- to 5.5-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution-the pot will be very hot). Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

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