Makes 2 loaves
3 2/3 cups bread flour, plus extra as needed
1/2 cup medium rye flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups dark beer, at room temperature (68–76 degrees F)
1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2 teaspoons salt
Vegetable oil for greasing
Cornmeal for dusting
1. Combine the bread and rye flours and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the beer, cottage cheese, and salt and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 4–5 minutes. The dough should be sticky but very strong and stretchy.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Round the pieces into smooth balls, pulling the outer layer taut and pinching together the excess dough at the base of the ball. Leave the dough seam side down on the floured work surface, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Prepare 2 baking sheets by scattering them with cornmeal.
5. To shape the dough into bâtardes (oblong shape), place each dough round on the work surface with the seam facing up and press lightly along its length with your fingertips to release any air.
6. Press into an 8 x 10–inch rectangle.
7. Fold a long edge of the dough to the center of the rectangle, pressing lightly with your fingertips to tighten the outer layer of the dough.
8. Fold the dough in half lengthwise and use the heel of your hand to seal the 2 edges together; keep the seam straight. Roll the dough into a tapered shape, like an elongated football, by rolling the cylinder outward from the center, increasing the pressure slightly as you roll toward the ends, until both ends of the loaf have an even, gentle taper. Increase the pressure at the ends of the loaf to seal the ends.
9. Transfer the shaped loaves to the prepared baking sheets, seam sides down, cover, and let rise again until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
10. Make a shallow, straight cut down the center of each loaf and mist evenly with water. Bake the bâtardes until they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, 25–30 minutes.
11. For a very crisp crust, mist the loaves 1 or 2 more times during the first 5 minutes of baking time. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
Formulation courtesy of The Culinary Institute of America