This bread was an experiment from the start. It all started because I wanted to figure out a way to bake bread on the grill, without needing to excessively heat up my house every time I wanted fresh bread. Then I saw that this month was Bread Baking Day #51 - Bread with Beer for the 5th Anniversary!
This month has been kind of busy, what with birthdays and visits and everything going on, I was going to pass this challenge by. But then someone left a stray can of Coors Light ended up in my fridge and I decided that maybe I should participate after all. I don't drink Coors Light. I do drink an occasional beer, but I have been a sophisticated beer snob from the start, haha, and I knew I was not going to be drinking this.
I also had a plethora of apple slices left over from Ladybug's birthday party (remind me to show you those pictures, ok?) and needed a way to use them up. Since I was throwing apples and beer into the bread, the logical choice was to throw some cheddar cheese in there, too.
My Dad helped me to bake this loaf, since I haven't done much with using my dutch ovens and charcoal together. We decided to put the charcoal and dutch oven inside the grill since there was a toddler and two puppies running around outside with us. Once the charcoal was no longer on fire, we placed the empty dutch oven in the grill, put the lid on, placed some briquettes on top and allowed the dutch oven to heat up some, too. When everything was nice and hot we quickly placed the bread (on parchment paper) inside the dutch oven, put the lid back, and did some rearranging of charcoal. About 20 minutes later we could really smell it (it smelled amaaaaaazing), and checked it a few times before deciding it was probably done. It probably could have used another minute or two but the bread was perfectly done, it was only a cosmetic darkening of the crust that it lacked.
Whatever it might have lacked cosmetically, however, was totally made up for in the first bite of this bread. This bread didn't stand a chance. It was barely allowed to cool (45 minutes is close enough to an hour, right?) and did not, I repeat, DID NOT last through the night. If it is possible for bread to be light and refreshing, this bread was. The tang of the sourdough and the tang of the beer played off each other magnificently here, plus the juicy sweet tartness of the apple bits, with a bit of body from the cheddar. This bread was pretty much awesome. We looooved it, and I will probably have to go buy some beer specifically to use to bake this bread again! I hope you make it and let me know what you think of it!
This bread was submitted to Yeastspotting, a weekly showcase of all things yeasted!
Apple Cheddar Beer Bread (The Gingered Whisk)
For the sponge:
120 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter
60 grams bread flour
45 ml white beer
For the final dough:
235 grams bread flour
105 ml white beer
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped green apple
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sponge (starter, flour, and beer) and let it sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours to over night.
The next morning, place the sponge and remaining flour and beer into a large bowl and mix until just barely combined.
Allow to sit for 20 minutes undisturbed.
Add in the salt, apple chunks and cheese and gentle knead to mix all the ingredients in.
Let the dough rise for 40 and knead again very briefly.
Let the dough rise for 40 minutes and knead again very briefly.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it (with seam side up) into a well floured banneton type container.
Let the dough rise until almost doubled, about 1.5 hours.
Preheat your oven to 450F with a baking stone inside.
Score the bread and quickly place on the baking stone and cover.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover, reduce the oven temperature to 425 and bake for 10 or 15 minutes more until golden brown.
Cool at least 1 hour before slicing.
Light a bunch of charcoals.
When the fire has gone out of the charcoals, but they are still heating up, spread the charcoals around so you can place a dutch oven (with legs) on top of some, and place some charcoals on top of the lid. This will heat up your dutch oven, too.
Place your dough on a piece of parchment paper and score the stop.
Carefully lift off the lid to the dutch oven, place the parchment paper/bread inside and place the lid back on.
Ensure that there are 19 briquettes on top and 13 on the bottom. This will help the temperature to be 425F.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until you start to smell it, and then keep checking until it is as golden as you want it to be. I baked mine about 25 minutes.