Mondays I intend to devote to cooking with beer. I’ll start off with a simple favorite of mine, beer bread. First a little primer on quick breads:
What makes them quick is the fact that you don’t use yeast, so there’s no rise. All of the rise comes from the expansion of the liquid (in this case beer) when it’s converted to a gas, and the chemical reaction with the baking powder or soda. I like to think of it as a muffin in loaf form. Like a muffin, over mixing should be avoided at all costs. If you stir for longer than it takes the flour to get wet, you’ve mixed to long.
Now a couple of notes about choosing your ingredients. Please use good beer. Please. Your mouth and the mouths of everyone lucky enough to get a piece of the bread will thank you. When choosing a beer to use my rule of thumb goes like this: If I’ve seen it advertised on national T.V. it doesn’t go in my food. The theory goes like this: I’d like my beer choice to actually make a difference, which means, it has to have flavor. Flavor just happens to be what THOSE kind of beers lack (it’s actually what makes them popular, thanks Prohibition).
Try and match your spices\flavorings to beer you’ve added. I like cardamom and a little allspice or nutmeg with a lighter wheat beers, particularly a Belgian Wit, like Avery’s White Rascal; nice sharp cheddar, basil, and substituting in 1/2 cup of whole wheat works great with an English brown like Newcastle; or when I want to indulge my love of rye, swap in a half cup of rye flour and use Great Divide’s Hoss.
Now, here’s the your blank canvas to paint those flavors on.
Preheat the oven to 325
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
12 fl oz. of beer (room temperature)
Seasonings to taste (see above)
Mix dry ingredients together.
Make a well in the center and pour in beer, mixing until dry ingredients are just wet.
Place dough in greased bread pan.
Bake for 40-50 min. or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out dry.
Let bread stand for 5 min. then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Yes the wire rack really is a necessary step. Otherwise the bottom half of the loaf gets gummy, and I’ve yet to meet somebody that prefers their bread gummy.