Manchet Bread Redaction
24 ounces beer
2 packets yeast (about 1 tablespoon if you buy in bulk)
4 cups all purpose flour (1 ½ pounds)
Use a bowl that is far too large, mix all ingredients together until you have a smooth paste. Cover with a cloth (I used a clean dish towel). Leave out on the counter overnight and it will bubble and rise.
To all the starter add:
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups all purpose flour (2 pounds) – plus more flour for kneading.
Mix it all together. If using a dough hook and a machine, knead for about 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. This bread is very heavily kneaded to give it a dense crumb. If kneading by hand, it will be about 20 minutes. Let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Beat with a rolling pin or large dowel for about 10 minutes. The texture will change from smooth like a baby’s bottom to velvety. Put in a clean greased bowl and cover loosely.
Cut into 8-ounce pieces. Shape them into flattened rounds (see picture – they look like clams to me)
Put them on greased cookie sheets and cover while the oven heats.
When the oven is at 450, slash the loaves around the waist and poke a few hole in the top. This is where they look like smiling clams….
Put them in the oven and when they start to color golden – and that could be in about 15 minutes, but as long as 30 minutes, depending on your oven). At this point turn the oven down to 375 and continue baking another 20-30 minutes until it smells divine and sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom.
Let cool on a rack.
Makes 13 6-ounce loaves.