kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
[personal profile] kitchenklutz
One of the things I've wanted to do more this winter is try my hand at baking bread. I've got a handful of cookbooks with many recipes to try, but one of the first ones I wanted to try was a recipe card I picked up at Penzey's back around Yule.

It looked intriguing, and I'm definitely more of a fan of bread recipes that don't require yeast and substantial rising periods. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, as I'm usually not an enormous fan of drinking beer, but the result was astonishingly good.


Beer Bread

Ingredients:

* 3 cups flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
* 1 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 12-ounce can/bottle of beer (room temperature was suggested, but I just took a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale out of the fridge and cracked it open for immediate use)
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (for topping)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR SWEET BEER BREAD:

* 1 tsp cinnamon (I always recommend Penzey's Korintje cinnamon, here)
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1 cup raisins

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR SAVORY BEER BREAD:

* 1 tbsp Italian herb mix (or a mixture of oregano/basil/cracked rosemary) (I used a heaping tablespoonful of Kirkland's Rustic Tuscan Seasoning, which contains roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, and lemon)
* 6 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and then diced
* 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 tbsp olive oil


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F if using a metal loaf pan or 350 degrees if using glass.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center. Pour the beer into the well and then mix thoroughly. Bake as is, or add the optional ingredients of your choice for a sweet raisin bread or a savory herb bread (if making herb bread, mix the garlic, spices and salt with the olive oil before adding).

3. Pour the batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Pour the melted butter/margarine over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 - 55 minutes
Yield: 12 slices


Alternatively, instead of placing all the dough in one 8x4 bread pan, you can split the dough into a six oversized cup muffin tin. If you do so, reduce baking time to 28 - 32 minutes -- the smaller volume of dough in each cup means it will bake notably faster.

I admit I had my doubts about this when I first set out to make it, largely because I'm not a huge fan of Newcastle Brown Ale. (I've used Brooklyn Ale for a particular spicy Cajun stew before to great effect, though.) To my delight the Newcastle turned out amazingly well with the Savory Beer Bread option, so I urge anyone else who tries this recipe to experiment with beers of their liking.

Towards that end, I'm intrigued to try out the Sweet Beer Bread option using Redd's Strawberry Ale. Its alcoholic content isn't particularly high (3.2%?) but without any yeast in the recipe I believe it's the carbonation that's important.
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kitchenklutz: spoons and bowls (Default)
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