Eggs in 'yer beer bread

If you use a large bread machine, the recipe takes about 5 hours to execute, but only about 35 minutes of labor. If you do it manually, you'll have to add steps for kneading and loaf shaping, perhaps another 20 minutes. Mind, it'll take more like 90 minutes the first time you do it, as you read these instructions over and over, find the ingredients, utensils, etc).

Most of the time is spent with the bread mixing, rising, baking, cooling, and making your house smell wonderful.

Here are the ingredients:

In a large ceramic bowl, put:

Mix these together and warm them to between 72F/22C and 80F/27C. Mix again, scraping the bottom of the bowl, as the flour will tend to pack here. Usually, one only needs to perform this step in the winter, as summertime temperatures will be in the range desired. If this is so, you can use any old bowl that's large enough.

The ceramic bowl is used so that you can easily warm the flour in the microwave if necessary. The microwave time depends on the temperature of the flour. I find that 33 seconds will warm 60F/15C degree flour to 80F/27C. Don't get the flour too hot. The yeast doesn't like temperatures above 100F/40C, and 120F/50C might well kill it. This makes your bread quite bricklike, and useful for bread crumbs only.

In a glass measuring cup put:

Mix them throughly, and, if necessary warm them to between 72F/22C and 80F/27C.

Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the baking pan. The dough sticks a little less if you make sure the bottom and sides are all covered in oil, even if the pan is teflon coated.

Stir the liquids and pour them into the baking pan. With the remaining 6 oz of beer, rinse the glass cup and swirl the remaining yeast, sugar/honey, and egg into the beer and then pour it into the baking pan. Rinse the beer bottle with the ounce of water, swirl it into the measuring cup, and then swirl that into the baking pan. That measuring cup should be almost clean when you're done.

Carefully dump the warm flour and salt into the baking pan. Put the pan in the breadmaker, and start it on the whole wheat cycle. I set the crust setting on "light".

After the initial mixing, open the breadmaker, and scrape down the inside of the pan so that all of the dough is in the doughball, and not on the sides.

Check the bread 30 minutes before baking begins. It's almost certain that the bread will have risen too much (close to overflowing the pan). If this is not fixed, the dough will overflow the pan, and be burned by the heating coils of the breadmaker, making a hard to clean mess, although not ruining the remaining bread. "Punch down" the dough with a teflon coated spatula, your hands, a knife, whatever's handy until it's only fills 2/3 of the pan. The dough is very sticky at this stage, so a teflon coated item is probably best.

Optional Just before baking begins, with a very sharp knife, make slits in the bread about 1 cm from the edge of the bread, and 2 or 3 across the top. The slits should be about 4cm (1.5 inches) deep.

For you manual bakers, the bread bakes for about 50 minutes if you make 2 loaves, 65 if you make 1 loaf at 375F/190C.

When the bread is done, let it sit for 20-30 minutes before taking it out of the baking pan. Once it's out, "paint" it with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel (I then cover this with all of the towels I can find in the kitchen), and let it sit until cool. About 3-4 hours. The warm (< 104/40 degrees) bread is now ready to be sliced and savored.

The final loaf weighs about 1186g, 41.85 oz, or 2 lbs, 9.85 oz.

The ingredients, from a variety of internet sources, indicate that this loaf had 2500 calories, 70 grams of protein, 500 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of fat, 65mg of sodium, and 52 grams of dietary fiber. If you slice it into 16 slices (about 1/2 inches, or 13mm) you get 156 calories, 4.4 g protein, 32 grams of carbohydrate, 0.8 g of fat, and 3.25 grams of fiber per slice.

There are also measurable amounts of calcium, members of the vitamin B family, iron and other goodies as well. Bottom line is that this bread is pretty good for you. Enjoy!

Notes

Around 40 minutes after you've started the bread machine, putting in a heaping half cup of sunflower seeds makes for even richer tasting bread.

The sunflower seeds add about 500 calories, 7 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat (only 4.5 g saturated fat, though), 12 grams of fiber and 135 IU of vitamin E.

After the machine's last kneading cycle, I like to wet my hands, and reach into the dough to remove the kneading paddle. This makes for a loaf of bread without an enormous hole in it's bottom.

If you make your own bread, you'll be slicing your own bread as well. I find that traditional serrated bread knives aren't very good at this task, as they leave too many crumbs. I recommend a very sharp chef's knife. My own is a 10" high carbon content stainless steel knife, kept sharp by a Lansky sharpener and frequent gentle steeling. This knife just glides through the bread, leaving very few crumbs. We treat it as if it was made of glass, as very sharp edges are delicate.