This Friday I’m making Anise & Guinness Bread from Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread, by Richard Bertinet, my favorite bread baker. I’ve written about Richard Bertinet before, and wholeheartedly recommend his books to anyone who wants to learn to bake bread. Most of the recipes in his books are simple and get bread on the table within a couple of hours. However, his Anise & Guinness Bread is a rye dough, and that’s a bit of a game changer. This recipe takes about 6 hours from start to finish, most of the time spent rising while you watch telly or read a good book or take a nap with the dog on a lazy Sunday. The steps are very simple, though. Richard Bertinet uses a traditional French kneading method that is probably different from what you’ve seen before. I suggest watching his video on making doughnuts to see his technique. This method of kneading is what he uses for all dough. I have included the recipe below, but there’s no substitute for his book, which describes each step with detailed photos, and includes an instructional DVD.
Back to the bread. The dough is made with dark rye and white bread flour for a rustic bread with a lighter texture. Guinness infuses the bread with a complex flavor of dark stout with notes of molasses, coffee, and oats. Anise adds an herbal note with a hint of licorice that pairs beautifully with Guinness. In the book, Richard Bertinet uses 1 tablespoon Pastis, or anise liqueur, but I didn’t have any on hand and wasn’t willing to shell out $30 for a bottle, so I substituted a couple of tablespoons ground anise seed. Problem solved. This bread is soft and airy with a nice dark crust. Such a flavorful, dark loaf is perfect for autumn and winter. Serve it alongside soups and stews, or use it for sandwiches with ham and Gruyère. Pumpkin butter slathered atop a toasted slice would also be a great idea.
Anise & Guinness Bread
from the book Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread, by Richard Bertinet
makes 3 loaves
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
25 ounces Guinness, at room temperature (27 fluid ounces in glass measuring cup)
9 ounces Dark rye flour
26 1/2 ounces White bread flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons anise seed, finely ground
Pour the Guinness into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast. Add the rye flour and 3 cups of the white bread flour. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms. Cover the bowl with a lintfree dishtowel and let rest for 2 hours.
Pour the rest of the ingredients into the batter and stir to combine. Turn the dough onto a work surface (do not flour the work surface, even though the dough will stick). Knead the dough by slapping it down on the counter, then stretching it up towards yourself and folding it over, as seen in this video. Continue kneading until the dough is silky smooth and no longer sticks to the counter. Now flour the counter lightly, place the dough atop the flour, and shape it into a tight ball.Put the ball of dough into the large mixing bowl with a bit of flour in the bottom to keep it from sticking. Cover with a lintfree dishtowel and allow it to rest for 45 minutes.
The dough will have risen at this point. Turn it out onto a lightly floured workspace and reshape into a ball. Place the dough ball back into the bowl and cover with a lintfree dish towel to rest another 45 minutes.
Turn the dough onto the workspace and divide it into 3 equal pieces (make sure to check by weighing each piece). Shape each piece into a ball and let rest on the workspace, covered with a towel, for 5 minutes.
Lay a lintfree dishtowel on a large cookie sheet and sprinkle flour on top. Mold the balls into loaves and place them on the dishtowels. Make sure to leave space between the loaves as they will double in size while rising. Cover the loaves with a towel and leave them to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a baking stone, place a large flat cookie sheet in the oven and let it get hot. Using a razor blade, slice 2-3 diagonal slits in the top of each loaf. Slide the loaves into the oven using a floured baking peel and mist the inside of the oven with a spray bottle filled with water (just a few sprays). Bake the loaves for 5 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking another 25 minutes. The finished loaves will have a rich, dark color and make a hollow sound when you tap on them. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool on a wire rack.