Monday, March 30, 2009

BBD 18: Can You Spare a Beer?

OK. First, I have to say that this is one fabulous bread. Not like a quick bread at all, but more akin to monkey bread.

This month's challenge for Bread Baking Day #18 is brought to us by Mansi of Fun and Food. Mansi chose quick breads as the theme, but which one to choose? I love bread of any kind and I have many recipes for quick breads, so I was searching for something unique that I had never made.

Typically, my bed time reading involves food or cooking. Food magazines and books seem to migrate upstairs to the side of my bed, and the stack is growing exponentially.
Heaven help some off-topic book that happens to get mixed in to that stack -- it may not surface again for months!

So it was one night, recently. I was 'auditioning' a new cook book, you might say. Translated: see if the library owns it, check it out, and see if the book could be a worthy purchase in the near future. After only one recipe test, yep, I believe it will go on the list.

The book: the Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

The recipe: Beer Bread

Since I'm now living with the 21-year-old beer queen, I figured it was worth a shot (or bottle, as the case may be). Heck, I even used one of my own beers for this: Fat Weasel Pale Ale. Last one, too. Left over from September when my DC friend came to visit. She's a beer-drinking kinda gal, and I aim to make my guests comfortable. You may wonder why it sat around for 6 months.
First, it's not my daughter's style of beer, and while I have a substantial liquor and wine supply, I sort of forget about actually drinking it, using it more for cooking. (I was a cheap date in college. I could nurse one drink for the whole evening. But that's another story.)

So, I took my last bottle of pale ale and transformed it into one of the best breads I've ever made or eaten. It's so quick and easy, that I suspect other bottles of beer
in this household may just be in jeopardy. The cookbook author suggests that the bread be consumed while still hot from the oven; but we, here, can testify that it is good at room temperature, too. Assuming it lasts that long.

Beer Bread

(adapted from the Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)

3 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 12-ounce bottle good-quality beer or ale

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pour in the beer and stir until just incorporated. (The beer will foam wildly and the dough will by sticky and heavy.) Pour half the melted butter into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Spoon in the bread dough and pour the remaining half of the melted butter on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the bumpy top is golden brown. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

The loaf can either be sliced with a serrated knife, or pulled apart like monkey bread.

To vary the flavor, you can add extras like cheese, onions, chives, or chiles.

BBD is a popular food-blog event that was started by Zorra of Kochtopf


Michelle Dargen said...

I love beer bread. I serve mine with cheesy artichoke dip. Yum! My recipe is super easy -

3 cups Self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 bottle or can of beer

Mix ingredients, put in an ungreased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for an hour.

Mmmm, I may have to make some this week. :)

Engineer Baker said...

Beer quick breads really are fantastic - and that one looks like a winner! I "audition" cookbooks too :)

Megan said...

Are you going to buy that book? I saw it on Amazon but wasn't sure - so I bought The Art and Soul of Baking instead. Yay me!

I think I've mentioned before how I really enjoyed beer bread, so perhaps I'll steal on of David's hefe weizen's and make bread.