Category ... Bread
Feb 19, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Fellow blogger Hsiaohui posted that he makes this bread with a special Japanese flour called Casarine. He wrote that in Asia it also was called the " tearful flours" as anyone who eats the bread made with this flour would be tearful for tasting such delicious bread. It has a 11.7% protein (Note from Rose: which is 0.3% lower than my combination of bread flour and cake flour) and is made by extracting the very heart of a wheat. I lost no time in ordering it from bakingwarehouse in Hong Kong and it arrived two weeks later.
The very next day I whipped up (or should I say kneaded up) a batch of dough, shaping it into a single loaf because we have been so enjoying it for ham sandwiches and as toast rather than buns.
The resulting bread was a more beautiful white color than the combination of bread and cake flour. The loaf was the exact same height and shape and the crumb equally soft and chewy. And the flavor was not noticeably different enough to justify shipping flour across the Pacific and the US. But if I were living in Hong Kong this is the flour I would use for this bread.
Feb 14, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Have you ever heard me say YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS?! Well I do say this often to Woody as it seems to happen on a regular basis. Even when we've perfected a recipe, there is often a surprise thought or occurrence that turns out to be a silver lining of improvement. But this is the first time I've said this on a posting. Here's what happened to prompt it and here's a case for weighing ingredients:
I was distracted because I was making two recipes at the same time, each using different amounts of lightly beaten egg. When adding the egg to the babka dough, by mistake I added 25 grams instead of 75 grams. After the dough was kneaded for 7 minutes it just about cleaned the sides of the bowl instead of what I had written which was that it wouldn't and that it would be very sticky.
I said to Woody that I would have to make the change on the recipe and he responded with: "Maybe you mis-measured something." Since I always weigh the finished dough there was the answer: 50 grams short. How to add that egg into an already smoothly developed dough?
First I tried continuing with the dough hook and the dough just sloshed around with the egg as if to say you are not welcome in here. I tried squishing it in with my fingers to no avail. So in an act of determined desperation, I dumped it all into a food processor and processed it for about 15 seconds, after which the egg had integrated perfectly into the dough and was even easier than usual to scrape into the rising container.
The finished babka was perfect. We joked about how this could become a new technique. But the thinking behind the desperate act was that many bread doughs mix very well in a food processor, however, I've never had to try adding egg after the dough was already developed. I wanted to share this with all of you should this ever happen!
Jan 25, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Here are the results of my final experiment using an expandable pan so that it would be 6-1/2 cups (between the standard 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch and the 9 x 5 inch pans).
First, in response to a question about the pan, the one I purchased in London is the eifa brand. the instructions are in Italian, German, French, and English so I don't know which country it comes from but it also says a product of MEWA. Maybe eifa refers to its ability to extend length-wise.
It seemed to be just the right size as there was room between each dough log to expand a little sideways to keep the center logs from pressing up against the two end logs, which makes them narrower.
Since I was experimenting, I made one log a little larger so it rose more.
When I am testing recipes I always try to think about what I might not have thought of and here it is: The problem with the expandable pan, is that when unmolding, although the paper clamps kept it from expanding lengthwise, they didn't keep it from collapsing so it squished in the hot squishy bread (see the lower right side of the baked bread). Woody offered to make a series of holes that we could bolt in place but I declined.
I'm going back to my non-stick USA 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch 6 cup pan.
Jan 21, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
It's been 30 years since I first experienced it on a visit to Japan--the softest and most unusual bread. I never hoped to recreate in my own country and kitchen but then it appeared on the web. Of course I had to try it. And it became an obsession. In one week, I produced 7 different loaves and now finally my ultimate version. It is soft, slightly chewy, and captures the exact flavor of the aroma of bread baking in the oven. When toasted it becomes amazingly light and only a little chewy.
This soft white bread flies in the face of artisan breads having no whole grain, no long rise, and the addition of sugar. If only I had a picture of a young boy named Oliver, tasting this bread for the first time, closing his eyes in rhapsody, and hugging his mother to thank her for telling me that he loves white bread. Marissa tells me that by the time we came back from dinner, Oliver and his sister Cate had managed to polish off all but 2 inches of the bread.
When I saw a picture of this bread on line, I noticed immediately that the crumb was similar to the one of my memory. And there is a delightful video. The voice of this Vietnamese baker, Linh Trang, is nothing short of enchanting. And her instructions couldn't be more explicit and easy to follow.
The recipe on her blog RicenFlour is given only in grams, which is the way I bake as well, and ensures successful replication.
I have made a few modifications. Because the exact size of the loaf pan is not readily available, I prefer a 8-1/2 by 4-1/2 inch 6 cup loaf pan. It offers the best height for the loaf but the 9 by 5 inch 7 cup loaf pan offers more support to the risen loaf giving it a better shape on the outside.
BAKED IN AN 8-1/2 BY 4-1/2 INCH LOAF PAN
BAKED IN AN 9 BY 5 INCH LOAF PAN
I used King Arthur Bread flour which is 12.7% protein, whereas the original used 12% protein flour. So for one loaf, I decreased the amount of bread flour to 238 grams and increased the cake flour to 62 grams. This made it whiter in color and more delicious in flavor as bleached cake flour has a floral quality.
I increased the yeast to 9 grams, so that it would rise within the parameter of about 1 hour for the first rise and shaped rise. A larger amount of yeast is needed than for most breads due to the addition of the sugar.
When shaping the logs, I only rolled them out one time as it was difficult to keep the shape well even when rested between two rollings. I found it had no effect on the texture of the bread. Before dividing the bread into 4 pieces, instead of kneading it, I pressed it down to eliminate air bubbles. I found that kneading it made it harder to shape into even logs.
In the 6 cup loaf pan, the dough rose to 3/4 inch from the top of the pan at its highest point when ready to bake. (The baked loaf was 4 inches high at its highest point.)
Instead of an egg wash, which together with the sugar in the recipe caused it to brown too much, I sprayed the risen loaf with water and added ice cubes to a preheated cast iron pan on the floor of the oven, after placing the bread on the lower rack.
I also tried using 100% unbleached all-purpose flour and shaped it as a single loaf. You can see from this photo that the texture is quite different and less fluffy than the one with bread + cake flour shaped into 4 separate sections. The flavor was not nearly as delicious using all-purpose flour.
ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR ON THE LEFT, BREAD FLOUR + CAKE FLOUR ON THE RIGHT
I love Linh's technique of brushing the baked loaf with heavy cream instead of the usual butter. And I love how she describes it as giving a glow to the crust. It also softens the crust, which perfectly complements the soft interior.
I am offering all these details because I want you to succeed in making this extraordinary loaf. I'll be making it on a regular basis, after I deplete the large supply now in my freezer.
Jun 20, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
It's really quite amazing now-a-days how home bakers can turn out extraordinary loaves of bread often equal and sometimes even superior to those found in bakeries. This is due, in good part, to the availability of high quality flour that is fairly standardized so that if following a good recipe, and weighing or measuring carefully, the amount of liquid does not need to vary.
I have recently discovered something pretty mind blowing, however, about artisan bread and why the complexity of flavor can far exceed the loaves I've been baking. My much esteemed bread baking colleague, Peter Reinhart, told me about a very special flour from Anson Mills that he said was able to absorb more water than the usual flours. I lost no time in contacting Anson Mills and was thrilled when Glenn Roberts offered to send me samples.
When I asked him about the percentage of protein his guess was 12-13%. He explained that the flour is hand scrubbed so that the germ is still present and referred to as "green flour." To keep the germ alive he advised me to put the flour in the freezer as soon as it arrived and that it would keep for 6 months.
When the flour arrived, I was amazed by the aroma and almost clay-like color. I baked both my standard hearth bread boule and the ubiquitous "no knead bread." It was impressive how, when mixing the dough, the flour quickly and evenly absorbed the water. Both loaves had beautiful crumb and structure though they were significantly lower in height than usual. The basic hearth bread, which is normally 7-1/2 by 4" high was 9" by 3". The crumb was darker. And the flavor fantastic. The most impressive result was that the no knead bread, which so many people including me complain about having a pasty crumb and somewhat one dimensional flavor, was moist but not at all pasty and absolutely delicious. i never want to make it again without this flour!
Here is some fascinating information of a more technical nature that Glenn Roberts shared:
We occasionally develop wild yeast and inoculate liquid levain prep within a mature ready to harvest landrace wheat field by pre-misting the whole wheat plants with water in a small area then setting the levain prep in the center of the misted plants since the populations/ratios of these yeast strains are nearly extinct here in the USA due to pervasive modern wheat that supports a different yeast population spectrum. The baking results are extraordinary but the process is not yet reliable. We've lost much in this sphere over the last century.
Our current field and bread lab research at our own research farm in Hopkins, SC, Clemson University Organic Research Farm in Charleston and at the WSU Bread Lab in Mt. Vernon, WA, involves Polycrop Flours where we grow many classes of plants interspersed with wheat plants in the ancient ways of the Fertile Crescent using native fertility. We harvest these together, thresh them together, then mill them together. These flours are very aromatic and flavorful and, because they contain cereals, legumes, oil seeds and more, very intriguing with regard to baking characteristics and flavor profile in finished breads.
If you are interested in trying out some of the Anson Mills fresh cold milled organic heirloom flours, they offer 2# and 10# retail bags on their site. The one that I used was the French Mediterranean White Bread Flour. I also love their cornmeal.
For bulk wholesale orders click on this link and click on the wholesale tab.
Apr 13, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2015
I wish everyone in the world could read this posting by the talented baker, beautiful person, and member of both my Alpha and Beta Bakers (who are baking their way through The Baking Bible and The Bread Bible).
Don't miss this: Building Bridges, Building Friendships and the Power of Breaking Bread.
Mar 07, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is my top favorite bread. It originally appeared in my book The Bread Bible as a torpedo shaped loaf but since I wanted to use it for sandwiches, I've adapted it to be in sandwich loaf shape. In the process I also made several additions and changes to create the ultimate taste and texture of my imagination.
I added some firm sour dough starter that always resides in my freezer, which gives the bread extra flavor and shelf life. I added oil to give it a softer crumb, and in order to faciliate the even incorporation of so many grains, I added the salt, which makes the dough firmer, after the grains were mixed in. I replaced one-third of the bread flour with durum flour, for its delicious flavor, and used the new Platinum Yeast by Red Star. I was told by the company that the dough improvers in this yeast are dough strengthening enzymes derived from the protein in wheat flour and that I would need less vital wheat gluten to strengthen the dough to support the addition of the grains. Vital wheat gluten results in a chewier texture but the enzymes in the Platinum Yeast do not so I surmised that this would yield a more tender crumb.
And, when using the Platinum yeast, and only half the usual vital wheat gluten, I achieved the identical rise but with a slightly more tender crumb and a perfectly smooth exterior with no slight tearing where the dough rises above the top of the pan.
As not everyone has firm sour dough starter on hand, I tried substituting biga, which is essentially the same proportion of ingredients but is at its best when made three days ahead of mixing the dough for the bread. To my delight, there was no difference between the sour dough starter and the biga!
I encourage you to make your own 10 grain mix as the grains are larger and give a better texture to the bread. I usually replace the soy nuggets with equal volume of pumpkin seeds as I love their flavor. Feel free to create your own favorite mix.
Continue reading "Ten Grain Loaf with Step by Step Photos" »
Jan 03, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
in OUT BAKES, BAKING BIBLE
I've always made babka in a fluted tube pan. My latest version is in my new book The Baking Bible. But here is another way to shape a babka giving it a twisted shape that causes the dough and filling to spiral in an appealing way. I discovered the technique in an article by Erika Bruce in Cook's Country, December/Jan 2012.
Continue reading "Twisted Babka Loaf with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »
Jan 03, 2015 | From the kitchen of Rose
ROLLING THE DOUGH
GLAZING THE DOUGH WITH EGG
SPRINKLING WITH CINNAMON SUGAR
SMOOTHING THE CINNAMON SUGAR EVENLY
PINCHING TOGETHER THE SEAM AFTER ROLLING
BRUSHING THE TOP OF THE DOUGH WITH EGG
SPRINKLING WITH CINNAMON SUGAR
FOLDING THE DOUGH ROLL IN HALF
TWISTED DOUGH SET IN PAN
RISEN DOUGH READY TO BAKE
TAKING THE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE
THE BAKED LOAF
Nov 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
This very special bread is featured in my book The Baking Bible which will be published two days from now! It was inspired by one that my darling cousin Elizabeth Granatelli brought me after a visit to Club Med, where they present guests with a loaf of it at the end of each stay. I adapted a version using my Soft White Sandwich Loaf recipe from The Bread Bible as the base. Adding little cubes of white chocolate to the dough results in small lacy holes lined with a sweet coating of the chocolate.
This bread proved to be quite a challenge because the white chocolate close to the surface of the bread became very dark brown. After seven tries, just as I was about to give up, I thought of a great technique: I held out about one-third of the dough before adding the white chocolate to the rest, and then wrapped the dough without the chocolate around the shaped loaf. I discovered that for the best oven spring and additional 1/2 inch in height, starting at a slightly higher temperature for the first five minutes of baking works well in my oven. As ovens vary in heat retention once the door is opened you may want to experiment with this method for this and other breads!
I'm so glad I persisted--this is fantastic bread, incredibly soft, light, and flavorful. It is especially delicious lightly toasted and spread with butter and strawberry jam or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar! It makes a great and unusual breakfast or tea bread. And sweet/savory lunch spread with peanut butter and jelly or preserves.
I am offering this preview from the book because it gives me the opportunity to provide many step by step photos illustrating this special technique of creating a dough 'skin' or envelope to encase bread doughs.
Continue reading "White Chocolate Club Med Bread with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »
Nov 01, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
SHAPING THE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOAF
SEALING THE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOAF WITH YOUR THUMBS
ROLLING THE DOUGH "WRAPPER"
SETTING THE WHITE CHOCOLATE DOUGH LOAF ON TOP OF THE DOUGH "WRAPPER"
STRETCHING THE DOUGH "WRAPPER" OVER THE LOAF
SEALING THE BOTTOM OF THE DOUGH
PINCHING TOGETHER THE SIDES
PERFECTING THE SHAPE
THE DOUGH RISING IN A DOUGH PROOFER
THE RISEN LOAF READY TO BAKE
TAKING THE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE
THE BAKED LOAF
Sep 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
When I was growing up, we had bakery bought challah every Friday night. I had one piece with honey and then waited til the following Friday night because the next day the challah became too dry for my taste. In recent years, I discovered that the addition of old sourdough starter or easy to make biga significantly extends the wonderful soft texture.
I recently did a side-by-side test of bread dough made with old sour dough starter versus biga and found that the breads made with added sourdough starter and biga were identical in flavor and texture providing the biga is mixed three days ahead of baking, so have incorporated this technique into many of my bread recipes.
Challah is traditionally made with oil so that it can accompaniment a meat meal, however, it also can be made with butter which is still more delicious.
The dough can be made a day ahead of baking but the best rise is when baked on the same day as mixed!
Cushionaire or two stacked pans are needed for this rich sweet dough to prevent overbrowning of the bottom.
Continue reading "Challah: Soft, Moist, and Flavorful with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »
Sep 06, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
SHAPING THE DOUGH LOGS
STRETCHING AND SHAPING THE DOUGH LOGS
STARTING THE BRAIDING
THE BRAIDED LOAF
GLAZING THE LOAF WITH EGG YOLK
SPRINKLING WITH POPPYSEEDS
APPLYING POPPYSEEDS TO THE SIDES
PERFECTING THE SHAPE OF THE LOAF
TAKING THE INTERIOR TEMPERATURE OF THE BAKED LOAF
A SLICE OF HEAVEN
Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is the first in a series of 5 by monthly postings on my favorite breads complete with step by step photos. The photos will come at the end of the recipe and as there are so many, I will be dividing them into two postings, one immediately following the other, to make downloading faster and easier.
If you've never had a homemade bagel you are in for a great surprise. Most commercial bagels lack the delicious complexity of flavor and the pleasant degree of chewiness. The chewiness is a result of using high gluten flour but as this is not readily available in supermarkets I decided to make my own by using Gold Medal Better for Bread flour and adding gluten. It worked perfectly.
The dough is quick to make and then can stored overnight before shaping, making it an ideal weekend project. Authentic bagels need to be boiled before baking. The shaping, boiling, and baking are somewhat time consuming, therefore it behooves you to make a batch of an adequate size and power. This is only possible with a heavy duty mixer and the Ankarsrum is ideal.
Bagels are very much a part of my heritage. My first bread memory and my first teething ring are one and the same. My mother, who was a dentist, considered the bagel an ideal natural teething ring because of its firm yet forgiving texture. But it was my father who brought us freshly-baked bagels on a string every Friday afternoon after he made his weekly delivery of bagel peels. In the 1940's after the war and the early 1950's, when times were hard, my father Robert Levy, a skilled cabinet maker, turned to bagel peel production and laid claim to the exclusive bagel peel business in the greater New York area which included the five boroughs and all of New Jersey. This did not make us rich, but we had all the bagels we could eat.
A peel is a flat wooden pallet with a long pole as handle, designed for transferring bread to and from the oven in commercial bread bakeries. Peels used for bagels are only slightly wider than the bagel itself. In traditional bagel production, the bagels, after being boiled in salted water, are placed on a wooden board and set in the oven, often as deep as 20 feet. When the tops of the bagels are firm, a piece of string is run under the bagels to release them and they are inverted onto the hot oven shelf. The peel is used to move them about so that they bake evenly and to remove them from the oven. Making my bagel recipe in a home oven, however, does not require a bagel peel, however, I regret that my father did not save one of his for me to put up in my kitchen as decoration.
Continue reading "My Best Bagels with Step by Step Photos Part 1" »
Jul 05, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
CUTTING THE DOUGH
ROLLING THE DOUGH BALLS
BRINGING UP THE EDGES
PINCHING THE DOUGH TOGETHER
ROUNDING THE DOUGH BALLS
MAKING THE HOLE
STRETCHING THE OPENING
LETTING THE DOUGH RISE
BOILING THE BAGELS
SETTING THE BAGELS ON TOP OF THE POPPYSEEDS
FIRST BATCH READY TO GLAZE AND TOP
GLAZING THE BAGELS WITH EGG WHITE
TOPPING WITH POPPYSEEDS
THE BAKED BAGLES
Jan 11, 2014 | From the kitchen of Rose
This is a 'no knead' bread but it is not by any stretch a 'no stretch' bread and therein lies the difference. This impressive loaf is the "Overnight White Bread" from Ken Forkish's book Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. It boasts a crunchy/chewy crust, full flavor, and open crumb without the pastiness of the no knead bread and yet it's proportion of ingredients is nearly identical, the only difference being half the yeast.
Analyzing why two breads with the same hydration and ingredients would be so different I concluded that it had to be the way in which the Overnight White Bread is manipulated. Whereas the No Knead Bread is mixed by hand and then left to rise until shaping, the Overnight White Bread is stretched and folded several times. This technique enables the bread to maintain its gas bubbles by strengthening it's structure and changes the way in which the bread ferments.
One would think that half the yeast would result in a slower rise but, in fact, the suggested rising time is 10 to 12 hours compared to the 18 hours of the no knead bread.
The informational and instructional writing in this book is a brilliant model of clarity. I was so deeply impressed I looked forward to the day when I might meet the author. The opportunity arose at the International Association of Culinary Professional's awards ceremony in San Francisco where Forkish won the best baking book. In a room filled with people, by some miracle I found him. He smiled, reached out his hand, and although it pained me to do so, in good conscience I explained that I had a very bad cold and didn't want him to catch it. His eyes widened in horror and he physically recoiled as I tried to tell him how much I admired his work.
Continue reading "Freakishly Good Bread" »
Nov 03, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
The quality of bread crust is not determined only by the type of bread being baked. There are glazes and toppings that can help to achieve a range of textures from soft and velvety to crisp and crunchy.
Here is the full range of possibilities:
Type of Glazes and Toppings
A crisp crust: Water (brushed or spritzed)
A powdery, rustic chewy crust: Flour (dusted)
A soft velvety crust: Melted butter, preferably clarified (1/2 tablespoon per average loaf)
A crisp light brown crust: 1 egg white (2 tablespoons) and 1/2 teaspoon water, lightly beaten and strained (the ideal sticky glaze for attaching seeds)
A medium shiny golden crust: 2 tablespoons egg (lightly beaten to measure) and 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
A shiny deep golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon heavy
cream, lightly beaten
A shiny medium golden brown crust: 1 egg yolk (1 tablespoon) and 1 teaspoon milk, lightly beaten
A very shiny hard crust: 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch and 6 tablespoons water: whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the water. Bring the remaining 1/4 cup
water to a boil and whisk the cornstarch mixture into it; simmer for about 30 seconds,
or until thickened and translucent. Cool to room temperature, then brush on the bread
before baking and again as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Note: When using an egg glaze, it goes on most smoothly if strained. I like to add a pinch of salt to make it more liquid and easier to pass through the strainer.
An egg glaze will lose its shine if using steam during the baking process.
My preference is to use Safest Choice pasteurized eggs.
Jun 02, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
A few weeks ago I posted information (and a recipe) about a terrific flour made from sprouted wheat. Joe Lindley, of Lindley Mills, also sent me a sample of his sprouted ancient grains flour. These grains are buckwheat, sorghum, millet, amaranth, and quinoa, but no wheat, so I should have realized that a bread made without wheat would also lack the gluten necessary for a good texture and rise unless augmented by other substitute ingredients. Instead I proceeded to make a loaf with 100% ancient grain flour. Here are the unfortunate and inedible results:
When I mixed the dough and did the first stretch and fold I noticed at once that the dough lacked structure and tore easily so I kneaded in a good bit of vital wheat gluten, dissolved first in water. This did increase the structure but not adequately. I immediately reported all this to my friend and colleague Peter Reinhart who introduced me to this flour. He said that he uses only 20% ancient grains and 80% of the sprouted wheat flour. The bread is so quick to make I immediately whipped up a batch of this type of dough and here are the magnificent results:
I like the extra flavor dimension and slightly softer texture of this loaf even more than with the 100% sprouted wheat flour.
Sprouted Ancient Grains Flour is available at Lindley Mills (Joe Lindley) 336-376-6190
May 19, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose
I have made my own sprouted wheat and added it to bread and although the results were delicious, the sprouts that rose to the surface became unpleasantly hard enough to encourage me to abandon the practice. So imagine my delight when chef/author/teacher par excellence Peter Reinhart told me that he was offering a class on bread made with sprouted wheat flour. When the sprouted wheat is ground finely the result is the incredibly silky texture of the dough and open grained springy, moist, and soft texture of the bread's crumb and is nothing short of amazing.
There are many virtues to this flour. For one thing, it flies in the face of conventional artisanal bread-making. Peter informed us that rather than requiring a preferment or long fermentation for depth of flavor, this is provided by the flour itself in much less time because the enzyme activity is already accomplished during the sprouting phase. (The dough, however, can be held for up to three days in the refrigerator.)
A bread made with 100% sprouted wheat flour will be much milder than one made with 100% whole wheat flour. It will also be sweeter in flavor and much softer and moister in texture.
Another virtue of major importance is that bread made with sprouted wheat flour is considered to be more digestible and tolerable to those with some degree of wheat allergy or gluten intolerance that is not true celiac disease. The following is a fascinating explanation from the Essential Eating Site:
Continue reading "Sprouted Wheat Flour--the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread" »
Jul 09, 2011 | From the kitchen of Rose
Some people love beer bread. Elliott is not one of them. when I sang the praises of how easy it is to make, especially in a food processor, he said: "couldn't you make it without the beer?" Oh dear. Now why didn't I think of that? Once, when I was short on beer, I added water to reach to correct weight. So this time, I made it with all water and have to report that if you're looking for a super quick and easy basic sandwich loaf, this is a winner. Of course the addition of old sourdough starter will add flavor dimension but it will still be worth making without it.
Incidentally, the beer gives it more flavor and a darker color, especially if you use a stout. All of the alcohol bakes off but if you prefer to use non-alcoholic beer, that will also work.
Here's the link to the recipe which was posted on the blog.