Guinness Bread with Walnuts and Je suis Charlie…

Today I’m going to be short and hopefully clear about certain things. I’m sure you all know what happened a few days ago. We might not be interested in all this, we might pretend nothing happened, we can say it’s not our business, we might say anything we want, but the truth is we cannot be indifferent to the fact that people died because of what they believed in. Yes, that’s exactly what happened there. In Paris. It took me a while to gather my thoughts around this whole situation- if you live in Luxembourg, which is 2.5 hours drive from Paris- it felt like you were almost in the middle of those events… At work we were checking websites and reading the news online. Some people are actually from Paris, which probably made the situation even more difficult for them. It was not fun for us either. We were discussing the reasons, sharing information, following up on the police news- one of the killers got caught 40km from Belgium borders- for us it’s like around the corner you know. And people were sad. We were sad, because it’s unfair, and we were sad because it shouldn’t be like this. In the end we all have the right to be here, and we all have the right to express ourselves. It is true, some might think- it offends my feelings, on the other hand, nobody, literary nobody had a monopoly on saying which religion is the true one, who’s God is better and why, and why you have to believe in something if you feel like believing in something else. And it’s not only about religion. The same relates to who you love, what color you prefer, what is your favorite fast food- if there is one- and all these things that make you a human being, and an exceptional one of its kind. We all are here for a reason, and we all have a right to be unique, smart or daft, sad or funny, pessimistic or great believers, leaders or followers. We all have a special place here, and the moment for our own “broadcast”, and it shouldn’t be taken away from us before the right time comes. I think blogging universe is very special in many aspects- we all come from different countries, we believe in many things, different things, our skin is white, black or yellow, but still we meet in this one special place and share all the good moments in our lives. We appreciate the efforts made by the others, we make encouraging comments, we support each other, and we will continue to do so, no matter what.  Today I’m sharing another bread recipe- because bread is something that connects us all. I think this is the most common food type in every possible culture on this planet. We all make bread from these 4 basis ingredients- flour, water, yeast and salt. Making bread teaches you respect, tolerance and understanding- and believe me I know what I’m saying. I’ve been making bread for a while now, and I know each loaf is different. But still each loaf of bread is very special and you can enjoy it in many ways, good ways.

bread with walnuts

 Ingredients

Makes one big loaf, preparation time 12-18 hours, proofing time- 1-2 hours, baking time- around 45-50 min, the oven temperature- 240 C

  1. 60 ml of dark beer- I used Guinness, but feel free to use any kind of dark beer
  2. 270 ml of fermented milk, you can also use kefir
  3. 210 ml of water
  4. 600 g of flour- I mixed two types- typical white and whole grain in proportion half/half
  5. 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  6. 1 g of fresh yeast or 1/4 teaspoon of the dry ones
  7. 100 g of walnuts- chopped

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Method

To make this bread I used the no-kneading method developed by Jim Lahey, however there is a bit of kneading involved at the very last stage, as you will have to fold the dough a few times in order to form the loaf.

In a big bowl- I use a plastic one, mix first the flour, salt and yeast. Once done add slowly the water, beer and fermented milk and start combining the ingredients. Lahey says this process shouldn’t take more than 30 sec, but frankly it took more than that. Try to combine everything evenly, so take your time. At the end add the walnuts, and mix all ingredients. The dough should be very sticky- this is the general rule for his recipes. Cover the bowl with a special kitchen foil and set the dough aside for 12-18 hours. Here is my observation to this point- I’ve made a few breads using his method and I have to say- 12 hours can be not enough- this particular bread was resting for 18 hours, and I would say it’s the best time frame for Lahey’s recipes. If you’re not sure how to plan it, this is what I do. I set the dough early morning and leave for work. When I’m back I wait another 2-3 hours and then I do the folding part.

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When the dough doubles its size, it’s usually ready for the fold. Prepare the working surface, flour it generously and place the dough on it. Be careful- use the wooden spatula if you have to, but you should be able to remove the dough from the bowl without any problem. The next thing is the fold- the dough is sort of loose, but do not add more flour. Instead flour your hands and lift the edges of dough toward its center and shape the loaf. It might seem to be tricky, but with time you will see it makes sense- it didn’t seem to me like it at the beginning either! Once the loaf it shaped, place it on a kitchen cloth- flour it generously before- and leave is aside for proofing for another hour or even two. Try to find a warm and quiet place- for me it’s my tiny bathroom- it’s perfect for this purpose! The dough is ready when its almost doubled.

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30 minutes before the end of the second rise preheat the oven- the temperature 240 C- place the cast iron pot inside ( diameter of 24 cm). By the way, you can also use a clay pot- I use the one by Emile Henri, but I’m sure you can find something else- less expensive, and suitable for baking bread. Take out the pot and carefully place the dough inside. Now place the pot inside of the oven- with the lid on- for 30 min. If you followed my previous recipes for bread, you know that I usually use some ice cubes in order to create a steam in the oven- the crust is crunchy the way we love it 😀 – after 30 min, take the lid off and continue baking for another 20-30 min. This bread is big- so I would say 25 min is required for sure.

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You are going to enjoy this loaf- I have no doubts. This bread is full of flavor and aroma. It also looks so amazingly rustic and a friend of mine told me, that when he was looking at these pictures, it made him think of his grandparents, and the country side he remembers from his childhood. It was nice to hear it.

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I used the recipe and the indications from Jim Lahey’s book, My bread, The Revolutionary No-work, No knead method, 2009.

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34 thoughts on “Guinness Bread with Walnuts and Je suis Charlie…

    • For me it was a first time when I used dark beer you know 🙂 it’s very good, this bread is very tasty and it’s the beer that makes is so. Looking at what you do, I was wondering if it was possible to use dark beer for some of your meat recipes Dedy? 🙂

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  1. I was so horrified by the events in Paris last week Marta. I’m all the way here in LA, just watching CNN nonstop, but it was heart wrenching to watch–surreal. I can’t imagine how traumatizing it was to be so close to where this was all happening. I love how you mentioned in this post about finding things that connect us all (bread!). It’s something we should all do more often. That being said, this loaf…I bet it’s super yeasty in the best way possible! I love the use of Guinness…I don’t like drinking it, but cooking with it sounds like a very good idea! BTW love that cup with the one finger handle. Your photos and styling are perfecto.

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  2. Beautifully said and beautiful photos. I like the philosophy behind this bread. What a scary and awful thing that happened. Um…and on a lighter not, dark beer in bread? yes! and kefir? um hello. This is my kind of bread. Love Lahey. I just made a pizza using his dough recipe. SOOO good. Thank you for your thoughts and recipe. Stay safe.

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    • Amanda it’s always so good to see you here 🙂 Yes, dark beer and kefir! I know! But I’ve made this bread a few times now and it’s amazing how it tastes. Perfect combination. Yes, Lahey is great, but I’m discovering other methods of making bread and these recipes will be here very soon 🙂 I hope you’ll like them too. Have a lovely Sunday xx

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  3. One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen written on this event Marta.
    Thank you for writing this.
    Thank you for sharing it and bringing it to us in manner we can all relate to.

    As someone who was at the Boston Marathon at the time of those bombings, believe me when i say, I can relate to the people of Paris.
    Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie.
    We are Charlie.
    And we will continue to defend attacks against out right to be who we are.

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  4. mmm and now I’m salivating here – what a great idea, to use Guinness in bread! Not to mention the walnuts… Yummy! 🙂

    As for the last few days’ unfortunate attacks, you’re so right – no one has the right to tell others what to think, who to love and how to live. Life as is is so difficult, why in the world would anybody add to it so much hatred and violence??? The eternal question, I’m afraid… 😦

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    • Thank you so much Ronit, believe me I was salivating yesterday in the evening when I saw the Portobello mushrooms!! I took my little revenge 😀 I honestly admit this bread is my boyfriend’s favorite and I love it too- I made it already a few times and it always turns out delicious. I’ve been experimenting with bread recently and I hope to share it here soon. Have a lovely week Ronit xx

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  5. Beautifully stated, dear. Everyone is entitled to believe in what they believe, as well as to express that belief if it doesn’t hurt anyone. Freedom of life and freedom of speech should be respected across the board. Your bread looks fantastic, btw.

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