June 14, 2011

Panadería Norteña

When life gives you lemons... make a shandy! When life gives you undercarbonated beer? Bake with it!

Carbonation issues can happen to the best of us. A few months ago, Jeremy and I brewed the limited edition El Modelo Norte kit using Wyeast's seasonal North American Lager (y2272). Most of it went into a keg to his house, and the few remaining bottles came home to my apartment. I ended up with a delicious, malty, yet unfortunately quite flat beer and a nagging feeling that I might not have remembered to put the carbonation drops in the bottles. True, there are things I can do to fix this, and perhaps I will do so with the remaining bottles, but in the meantime I have created a new spin on my mom's bread recipe. She baked delicious bread for me and my dad every week while I was growing up. What a great mom! I didn't even have store bought bread until my first sleepover!

Hopefully some of you made the limited edition kit and will be willing to sacrifice a bottle or two to this malty grainy goodness, but if you don't have any Modelo Norte I'd recommend picking up a similar Vienna Lager at the store, or trying my recipe with a different style of beer and letting me know how it goes! I used regular baking flour, but I imagine it could be substituted for half regular, half whole wheat. I added some rye flour for texture and complexity and some masa mix to pay tribute to our southern neighbors and add a grainy texture that compliments the maltiness of the beer.

Pan Borracho
(2 loaves) 3.5-4 hours total. Labor time approx. 20 minutes.

2 packages Red Star baker's yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups Modelo Norte (or 12 oz + 4 oz water for a lighter flavor and only one 120z sacrifice)
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
5 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup corn masa tortilla flour (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
aprox. 1 tablespoon butter to melt on top of loaves (optional but recommended)

-Put 3/4 cup pretty warm water in a smallish bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast on top of water and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so. This was my mom's method of re-hydrating yeast for baking so it's how I've been doing it since I was a little girl. Any other tried-and-true method should work just fine.
-In large bowl, mix 2 cups room temperature, flat Modelo Norte and 3 1/2 cups baking flour. Whisk until smooth.
- Add re-hydrated yeast to flour/beer mixture and whisk or stir in. In bakers' terms, this is now called the Sponge. Let the sponge sit for 1 hour. You will see bubbles popping up on top and it will look puff-daddyish in general.
-Fold salt and oil into the sponge.
-Fold in masa mix if you are using it, rye flour, and additional baking flour into sponge until it begins to form a dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl. You may need additional flour if your earlier measurements were off.
-Knead dough on floured board or counter until dough is smooth (10 minutes or so). Add more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to board.
-Let rise 50 minutes
-THE BEST PART!- punch dough down! hiiiiyah! My mom always let me do this step!
-Let rise 40 minutes
-Shape the dough into loaves. Tear the giant ball of dough in half and then stretch each half into a rectanglish shape. Roll up and either stuff into a loaf pan or shape daintily on a cookie sheet.
-Let rise 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees at some point during this rise
-Bake for about 1 hour. bread will give a hollow thunk when rapped with your knuckle.

-*Optional but awesome!!!* Take a stick of butter and rub it all over the bread. Make sure you use enough that your mom would have yelled at you for using too much. This will make the bread better.

Go ahead! Cut a hot slice! Make sure to put lots of butter on it! And tomorrow for lunch make yourself a smoked turkey sandwich with some spicy mustard on your drunken bread... if you can handle a flavor overload!


  1. I made this bread on Sunday! It was a hit, very flavorful and moist. I used an old undercarbonated stout. Today I am eating the rest of it with some swiss and homemade saurkraut.

  2. Awesome bread. I pulled a little extra for my hydrometer sample of an All-Grain Golden Ale and used that for the beer. It was perfect, uncarbonated goodness. Here are some photos: http://bucketofbeer.blogspot.com/2011/07/breaking-beer-bread-with-boys.html