This is the easiest and tastiest bread, from only a handful of ingredients, and a pint glass. No weighing, just throw it together. The beer gives it a sourdough taste, without all the fannying about that genuine sourdough requires.
Serves 6 from 14p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.
a pinch of salt, 1p
1 tsp sugar, 1p
Stand your pint glass in a large mixing bowl, then fill it with flour. Tip it into the bowl and repeat. Use the butt, or bottom, or arse, of your glass to make a well in the flour.
Pour half the beer into the pint glass and ping it in the microwave for 40 seconds or thereabouts to warm it through. Warming it helps wake up your little yeast granules from their slumber, so your bread can rise and shine. Top up with the rest of the beer – too hot and the yeast will die. You want it to be pleasantly warm, not scalding.
Pour the beer into the middle of the flour. Add the yeast, salt, sugar and a dash of oil and mix well to make a dough. (I oil the handle of my wooden spoon and use it to stir the mixture, like a dough hook but not attached to a fancypants mixer, attached to me instead.) Mix briskly until the dough comes together – if it is cracking hugely, add a small amount of water. If it’s tacky, add a shake of flour.
Flour your work surface generously, then tip the dough onto it and start to knead it. Kneading is one of those things that sounded complicated and terrifying when I read about it in books – if someone had just said to me ‘punch the crap out of it and make sure you fold it and turn it around every now and then’ I would have made bread far earlier. This is the therapy part. Drive your knuckles into the dough to stretch it away from you. Fold it over from the back to the front. Turn it around a bit. Repeat. There’s no real wrong way to do it, just work out what feels right for you.
Oil your hands, go on, lube them up. It feels nice, and it’s good for your dough, too. Knead for 5– 10 minutes, depending on how angry you are, how patient you are, how much strength you have in your hands and arms, or how many children or dogs are sitting at your feet demanding your love and looking askance at the beige thing you are petting on the worktop.
Pop it back into the bowl and cover it with cling film, if you have it, or a clean tea towel. Pop the bowl somewhere warm and leave it for an hour, or overnight for a tangy bread that’s a bit like a sourdough and really rather lovely – the beer and yeast ferment, and it’s delicious.
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C/ 350 ° F/ gas 4. Dust the work surface with flour, or, if you’re like me, you didn’t clean it from the first time round and it’s still good to go.
Tip out the dough onto the work surface. Roughly mould the dough to your preferred shape – mine is generally a bit long and chubby. Take a knife and score three slashes into it about a centimetre or so deep. Dust the top with some of the worktop flour, and stick the bread straight onto the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour. You don’t need to put it on a baking tray – if you’re worried about flour on the bottom of your oven, you can.
When the hour is up, open the oven door, grab a tea towel or oven gloves, and remove your bread. Look at it in awe and wonder. Inhale its brilliant bread smell. Turn it over and tap its bum – if it sounds hollow, it’s done. If you’re unsure, insert a sharp knife in the middle and see if it comes out clean, but anyway, if it’s a bit raw by the time you get to the middle part, just toast it to cook it.
Leave it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then slice it and enjoy. I don’t have a bread knife either, so I just use a large normal knife and tear it with my hands. I’m feral, and unapologetic. So there you have it. Pint-glass bread.
From ‘Cooking On A Bootstrap’ by Jack Monroe. Like this? Made it? Leave a comment below!
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.