Friday, July 16, 2010

Bread and Beer: A Match Made to Leaven

Bread and beer: the perfect pair. Their compatibility is the type that hopeless online daters long for. You can just hear bread’s sigh of relief as she reads beer’s eHarmony profile: “enjoys grains, yeast, and long warm fermentations.” Ah, soul mates!

Together, bread and beer go way back. Civilization was built upon the farming of grains; since both have been a staple for ages, the question of whether those grains were first utilized in the making of bread or beer is a debate that stands beside the chicken or the egg. To debunk that argument, it has been said that ancient societies used bread in producing the earliest forms of beer. With so much history and such a great deal in common, the two were clearly meant to be. It only makes sense to join them once again in the perfect marriage that is beer bread.

Beer bread is a type of quick bread, meaning that you can bake it as soon as you make it. Thanks to a leavening agent like baking powder, there is no need to wait around for the dough to rise. Besides taking no time at all, the great thing about beer bread is that you can customize it however you’d like. You can play with the recipe and incorporate different beers, cheeses, onion profiles, and your own mix-ins like chili peppers, herbs, spices, raisins—whatever you want! I used applewood smoked cheddar, shallots, apple, and a pretty full-bodied brown ale. I didn’t have any bacon but you can bet that would have been in there too! The recipe is included at the end of this post for you to try or tweak.

While I was buying beer, I also purchased a bottle of raspberry Framboise Lambic. That would be interesting inside of beer bread as well, but I wanted to drink it! You can definitely taste the beer, so if you don’t want it to incorporate too strong of a flavor, go with a lighter brew. A lager might be the safest bet. I could just blame it on tasting a little too much of the star ingredient, but I’ll be honest and admit that my bread came out good, but not as great as it could be—I’m not much of a baker, but I’m always trying. Beer bread is probably one of the easiest breads to bake and partners really well with hearty dishes like soups, stews, and chilies. Have fun with it!

Apple and Smoked Cheddar Beer Bread:
Yield: 1 Loaf

- 1 Tbs olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions
- ¼ tsp fresh black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 cups, AP flour
- 3 Tbs sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup gala apple, peeled and shredded
- 1 cup cheese applewood smoked cheddar or similar cheese
- 12 oz beer
- Cooking spray
- 2 Tbs melted butter, divided

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
• Heat oil in a small skillet, add shallots and apple to pan; cook for 7-10 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper and garlic, cook for about a minute.
• Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir together with a whisk. Make a well in the center and add onion/apple mixture, cheese, and beer; stir until moist.
• Pour batter into a 9” x 5” loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 Tbs of melted butter over batter and bake for 35-45 minutes.
• Drizzle remaining butter over batter. Bake another 25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool.


Koci said...

Cute post! That recipe sounds really good, too!

Tiffany said...

This sounds so good, all my favorite things!

Evan @swEEts said...

I love making beer bread in the winter time because it goes perfectly with chili! But I love the idea of adding apples and cheddar to it! Looks great!

Eloise said...

AMAZING!!!!!!!! you know this is something i would enjoy.. and that other beer you bought is really good... mix it with a choclate beer and you have yourself a beer-ocktail lol

Marisa said...

Thanks you guys!

Evan, I think that beer bread is the best with chili too!

Eloise, that beer-ocktail sounds interesting! I've never had chocolate beer. Maybe we can do a blog on different beer-ocktails? That would be fun!

Rick said...

This sounds fantastic! Never heard of beer bread. Now I have to get a slice.

The Cilantropist said...

I only tried beer bread for the first time and you are right, it is a match made in heaven! :) Adding the apples is a fantastic idea too.

Jason Phelps said...

Definitely a good match, but your flavored version is way better than plain!

I've used my homemade beer before for something different.


Magic of Spice said...

I love your opening statement...This bread really sounds good:)