I'm translating this from a spidery old script that Oma Salome gave me. She used rye flour.
5 C rye or whole wheat flour
5 C white flour
1/2 oz active dry yeast
2 C tepid water
1.5 C tepid, flat beer (I have a note about using ale instead of lager, but I've used both with no ill effect. The best Bierbrot I've ever had was made with stout.)
2/3 C molasses, warmed to tepid (I have a note about this being light molasses with lagers and blackstrap with ales)
2 tsp salt
Mix 1.5 C of water with the beer and molasses. Soften the yeast in the remaining .5 C water and allow to froth, then add to the beer/molasses mixture.
Separately, mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl. Once it's good and frothy, add the beer/molasses/yeast/water mixture, and knead until it's smooth and elastic and just a bit slack. Add a touch more beer if it seems too stiff.
Butter and set aside to rise in a warm place until it's doubled in bulk. Punch, then double again at least once (and at higher altitudes, at least twice) more.
Divide, form into balls, and rest for about 25-30 minutes, then form up however you wish. Oma considered that this recipe makes two round loaves; I make three longer loaves and reduce the baking time just a tad, although the 10 minutes on fast remain essential regardless of the size of the loaves.
For two loaves: Fast oven (400 F) for 10 minutes with high humidity, then reduce to slow (325 F) for about 50 minutes, removing your water tray and switching to misting every 15-20 minutes. They're done when they sound hollow. Once they're out of the oven, you can if you wish immediately brush them with a bit of salt water; this seems to help the final crispness of the crust.
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