I am really excited for Matt Sherman, Nick Sherman, Jerry Sherman, and Casey Oare. These are the guys behind Stump City Brewing, LLC, located in Gloversville, New York – a brand new artisanal farm brewery built “from the ground up.”
That tagline isn’t an empty marketing gimmick by the way. It’s a nod to the namesake stumps that gave the Gloversville area its first name, and more importantly, it reflects the deep roots these gentlemen have in their community as well as the incredible amount of work it has taken them to literally build this new business from it’s foundation to the completed 1,200 square foot production facility and taproom. And these Meco boys are keeping things local. They use local ingredients (part of the farm brewery charter), used repurposed materials in the construction of their taproom (the drop ceiling is corrugated metal from down the road and the bar is made from wood cleared during construction), and if that wasn’t local enough, they built the brewery on the Sherman family property.
I’ve known Matt since my first year as a high school English teacher in 1998 and Nick and Casey since 2002. I’m fascinated that nearly 20 years have gone by and now these former students are men with families and grown-up lives. It is one of my life’s great joys to be able to see people I know follow their bliss – and these guys have done just that. I couldn’t be prouder of them.
I was recently invited to a soft opening of the taproom (grand opening date still isn’t set) where I sampled three of their brews: the Cayadutta Cream Ale, the Pale Ale – and my particular favorite, the Red Ale. As a shout out to these fine men and and their wonderful new brewery, I made a bread recipe in their honor. The Stump City Red Braid is a whole wheat egg braid made with Stump City Brewing Red Ale and rough-milled red winter wheat berries. It has the light airy texture of an egg braid with a strong earthy whole grain flavor usually found in denser loaves.
Stump City Red Braid
A whole wheat egg braid made with Stump City Brewery Red Ale and red winter wheat berries. Made in celebration of the Stump City Brewery in Gloversville, New York.
- 2 scant tablespoons (or 2 ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
- 2 cups Stump City Brewery Red Ale heated to about 110 degrees
- ½ cup dark rye flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour *
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 6½-7½ cups unbleached flour approximately
- EGG WASH - one large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the ale to soften.
Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add softened yeast, and the rye flour, whole wheat flour, and 1½ cups of the unbleached flour. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. This is a sponge which has the consistency of a pancake batter rather than a bread dough. Cover the sponge with plastic wrap and a tightly woven towel. Let rise for 30 minutes. It should be light and full of tiny bubbles.
Stir the sponge to deflate it, add salt and flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.
Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into thirds. Shape each third into a rope 20 inches long. Lay the ropes side-by-side on a well-seasoned baking sheet. Begin braiding in the center of the loaf for a more balanced braid.
Place the right rope over the center rope, then the left rope over the center, the right over the center, left over the center, etc., continuing until the ropes are too short to braid. Pinch all three ends together and tuck them under.
To braid the other end of the loaf, turn it so the braided portion is at the top and the ropes are at the bottom. Place the center rope over the right rope, then center rope over the left, center over the right, center over the left, etc., until the ends are too short to braid. Pinch all three ends together and tuck them under.
Cover with a towel and let rise 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Just before baking, brush the egg wash lightly over the braid. Always start at the top then brush the sides of the loaf. If you start on the sides, the glaze runs towards the pan and leaves an unsightly ring around the edge of your loaf.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the braid reaches 190 degrees.
Immediately remove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack to prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
* I used rough milled red winter wheat berries. Regular old whole wheat flour will work just fine.