The recipe in question today has to be the best so far partly because it's the most unusual I've tried. I often resort to a standard white loaf but I had a leftover bottle of ale in the fridge so thought I'd give this one a go.
The recipe tells you to expect a sticky dough and it wasn't wrong. The dough was really hard to work with at first but perseverance paid off and after lots of kneading (I gave it 20 minutes rather than the 5-10 suggested in the recipe) the dough lost some of it's stickiness and became a little bit easier to handle.
Slathering the dough with a mix of ale, flour and sugar prior to it's second rise was also a new experience but it paid off. The final loaf rose to perfection and had the most amazing, beery smell and flavour. As with most fresh loaves, I could have eaten the whole thing sliced and spread with butter but I resisted and enjoyed it with some Broccoli and Stilton soup.
You can find the recipe here. Interestingly, it's slightly different to the recipe in the book which suggests adding 200ml of the ale initially. This results in a very wet dough (and I did add a little bit more flour to mine) so maybe starting off with a bit less ale is a good idea. It also gives 2 hours for the first prove whereas the book says it can take up to 4 hours. I left mine for about 3 and half hours.
If you've ever thought about making your own bread but haven't quite got round to it then I say go for it! I think you'd be surprised how much easier and how much less time consuming it is than you might think.