Friday, February 14, 2014

beer bread

This is the simplest, the best, accompaniment to hot soup on a cold fall or winter's day. Warm crusty yeast bread is wonderful when you can get it, but this recipe can be whipped up in minutes and tossed in the oven while the soup is simmering on the stove top. It is bitter sweet, with the citrus and floral notes of hops. I love a good ale or stout, but I make this with lager, wheat ales, or IPA, anything dark is just too overpowering.

This recipe can be made with the finest quality beer you chose, but if I’m being honest, I tend make this recipe when I have a surplus of cheap beer from a party or family gathering: the stuff I don’t want to drink myself, but don’t want to waste either.

I cannot oversell how easy, and how rewarding this bread truly is.  

Recipe following cut:

21.5cm x 11.5cm [8.5” x 4.5”] loaf pan, 6L [6.5qt] capacity large mixing bowl, silicone spatula, silicone pastry brush, parchment paper, 60ml [1/4 cup] capacity liquid measuring cup, metric/imperial digital scale, bottle opener

300g all purpose flour [~2¼ cup]
75g brown sugar [~6 tbsp]
10g baking powder [~1 tbsp]
4g baking soda [~½ tsp]
3g fine grade sea salt [~½ tsp]
355ml lager beer [~12 fl.oz]
30ml canola or vegetable oil [~2 tbsp]
+ butter for loaf pan and parchment

Mise en place:
Preheat oven to 210ºC [400ºF]

Butter the inside of the loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment to fit as a sling ensuring that the parchment is 2.5cm [1 inch] above the top of the pan. Butter the parchment and set aside.

Weigh all dried ingredients into the mixing bowl using the tare function on your scale. Set on a clear work surface. Measure the canola oil into a liquid measuring cup, and set beside the mixing bowl. Open the bottle of beer.

Using the spatula stir the dried ingredients together and push them to the sides of the bowl to form a well. Pour the beer into the well, followed by the oil.

Fold the wet into the dried mixture until just combined. Mixture will be slightly lumpy but there should be no dry flour.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 60 minutes. Or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf come out clean.

Cool slightly in pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool until needed.

This bread is best served warm with plenty of salted butter. You can make it ahead and re-warm whole loaves wrapped in tin foil in a moderate oven. Individual slices are best warmed in the microwave or toasted.

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