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Why Guinness Is The Absolute Best Choice For Beer Bread

Guinness bread with whole oats
Guinness bread with whole oats - Bartosz Luczak/Shutterstock

Bread and beer have had a long-standing, compatible relationship for millenia. In fact, historians have been debating which came first for decades. It's a culinary chicken-and-egg question: One wouldn't have happened without the other. So it's no surprise that mixing beer and bread is truly a stroke of genius. But what kind of beer is best for beer bread? You can use whatever your heart desires, though not all beers are created for cooking purposes equally. If you're looking for a match made in bready heaven, look no further than that Irish classic Guinness stout.

Beer bread combines the maltiness of a good stout and the yeasted beauty of a well-made dough. Using Guinness specifically in your recipe will result in a nourishing loaf with notes of coffee and cocoa. The bitterness of the stout can be balanced by the dark sweetness of molasses -- and these are very complimentary flavors indeed. The iconic, almost black, beer will give your bread a rich, deep brown color, and will help to keep the loaf moist with proper storage.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

Guinness Is Good For You

Pints of Guinness being poured
Pints of Guinness being poured - Bori Slim/Shutterstock

Many recipes for Guinness bread call for making a loaf with malt grains that have been soaked in the stout overnight. This will help retain moisture: Pre-soaked grains will be saturated with beer, making the bread light and tender. Soaking the grains in stout not only imparts a deeper flavor but also helps make for a deliciously moist loaf.

Good dough hydration is key for supple, tender breads. As gluten proteins strengthen through things like kneading, they create a structure that can be filled with both carbon dioxide (a by-product of the yeast's consumption of sugar) and steam from water. This process creates what's known as a loaf's alveolar structure, which is another way of describing the relative openness of the crumb. Lower-hydration doughs tend to make stiff breads like bagels, while well-hydrated ones are softer with a more open crumb. Now, instead of steam from plain old water creating that alveolar structure, imagine it also infusing the inside of the loaf with Guinness' deep rich flavor!

Pillar Of Society

Rustic pint with wheat
Rustic pint with wheat - Stsmhn/Getty Images

Guinness was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, and since then has become the national beer of Ireland. It's a famously dark stout, even called the "black stuff" by some, even though the beer isn't actually black -- there are probably as many facts about Guinness as there are fans of it. Another interesting thing about Guinness is that it's a nutritionally-dense beer; in fact, its advertising slogan for a while was "Guinness is good for you" because doctors believed that it was a health-giving elixir.

Beer, of course, has been with us much longer. The earliest evidence of beer brewing is over 13,000 years old, and as it turns out the most primitive beers looked more like gruel or cream of wheat than the stuff we drink today. It's been speculated that these "beers" are the reason for agricultural society, so that's quite the accomplishment. It does seem that using saturated malted grains (like wheat flakes or barley pearls) to bake beer bread feels as rustic and ancient as the history of brewing beer itself. Both bread and beer are delicious human creations, and combining the two is definitely a deeply satisfying revelation.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.