A rustic bread with a rich, almost caramel flavor. Great for sandwiches or toast!
With any bread, you first need to activate the yeast. Empty the yeast package into a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 cup of luke warm water. Stir and let it sit. In about 10 minutes it will look foamy and thick. You've activiated the yeast!
While the yeast is working, sift the flours and salt together into the mixing bowl of a mixer that is fitted with a bread hook.
Pour in the beer and the yeast and start on low (otherwise the flour will go all over the place), slowly turning up the speed. As the ingredients blend, the dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl and start to slap on the edges.
Note - the alcohol will cook out of the beer. All you will be left with is the rich malty flavor of the dark beer.
Turn off the mixer and pinch the dough. If it's sticky, add a little more flour and start mixing again.
Once it's a soft dough, continue to knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes.
Turn off the mixer, pull the dough off the hook.
Let it rest about 2 minutes, then knead for another 2 or three minutes. Remove the dough and place in a greased bowl.
Cover with a warm, damp cloth and place it on the top of the refrigerator or the back of the stove. It needs warmth to rise.
After it rises to about double in bulk, (about 2 to 3 hours) punch it down, squeeze it and pull it a little. Shape into a loaf and place on a stone. Allow it to rise another hour or so.
Bake at 425° (Be sure to preheat the oven) for about 45 minutes to an hour. It will be golden and sound hollow when you tap on it. It should feel light when you lift it.
Set it on a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut it and have a bite! There is a lot of steam inside those crusty walls. If you cut too soon that steam forms little moisture pockets and gives the bread little bits of gummy texture.
But once it's cool enough to hold it in your hand longer than a minutes, it's cool enough to cut. Slather a piece with some butter and take a bite!