Whole Wheat Honey Beer Rolls

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Whole Wheat Honey Beer Rolls with Balt Alt from Union Craft Brewing Co.

I was well into my teens before I ever ate store bought bread at home.

In our house bread day came once or twice per week. On those days my mom would spend the morning standing at the kitchen counter mixing and kneading dough. When the dough was set to rise we were sent outside to play for fear that our running around the house would cause the loaves to fall.

Shortly after lunch the aroma of freshly baked bread would begin to fill the house and waft its way out the kitchen windows to find us in the backyard. Within minutes we would stop climbing trees, or put down our Ninja Turtles, and head straight to the kitchen for that first slice. To this day there is nothing more satisfying than freshly baked bread, topped with butter, and hot from the oven.

This whole wheat bread takes on hints of flavor from the beer, and a little sweetness from the honey. The recipe makes sixteen individual dinner rolls, or great buns for pulled pork sliders.

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Pick a beer that is malty and slightly sweet such as a Märzen, Bock, sweet Brown Ale, or Vienna Lager. You can also choose a bitter beer such as an IPA, but the bread will have a bitter flavor fresh out of the oven. The bitterness will dissipate after a day.

I chose Union’s Balt Alt, a malty and slightly sweet German Altbier. The name Altbier means “old beer” in German, but it doesn’t mean that the beer itself is old. Malty ales were commonplace throughout Germany until lagers, especially pilsner, became all the rage. Ales then became known as “old beer,” referencing the old style of ale brewing versus the new style of lager brewing.

Düsseldorf is the city most famous for producing altbier, but Baltimore’s Union Craft Brewing makes one of the best damn alts I’ve ever tasted. The malty and slightly sweet ale gives hints of malt flavor to this rich whole wheat bread.

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Ingredients

  • 1 12oz bottle/can of beer
  • 3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour plus extra for kneeding
  • 2 tsp of yeast
  • 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar
  • Butter for greasing your mixing bowl
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter to brush on the bread while baking

Directions

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Once dissolved add the 1/4 tsp of sugar and stir. It should begin bubbling within a few minutes.
2. In a large bowl mix the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt together.
3. Mix in yeast, beer, honey, and butter. Mix until the dough is formed.
4. Place dough on a floured surface and kneed for about 15 minutes. Add small amounts of flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough should be spongy and like, well, dough.
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5. Grease the inside of a large bowl with butter. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Leave the dough alone and let it rise until it nearly doubles in size. I often heat the oven to 100F, then turn the oven off and set the rising dough inside.
6. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it in the middle. The dough will collapse. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.
7. Grease two cookie sheets with butter, or use a Silpat baking liner. Divide the dough into sixteen small loaves and place on the baking sheet. Cover and let sit until doubled in size.
8. After rolls have doubled in size, place them in the center of the oven and bake. After 10 minutes carefully remove the bread from the oven and brush them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then return them to the oven for 10 more minutes. This will give them a beautiful brown color as they bake.
9. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool. If you want a softer crust then brush on additional melted butter.
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