Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Best Beer Bread Ever

Those of you familiar with my Korean baking exploits have probably noticed that while I try new things every once in a while, I tend to bake the same things fairly often. Beer bread is a standard, since it's the only bread that I can make in an hour.

Its genius lies in its simplicity.

Beer Bread Original Recipe:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 (12 oz) Beer

Bake @ 375 for 1 hour.

I know, right?

But here's the thing. As gorgeous and memorize-able as that recipe is, standard beer bread comes out kind of soda bread-y, but super dense, and unappealingly dry the next morning. After a series of culinary experiments, however, I am pleased to announce that I have discovered how to make the Best Beer Bread Ever. You read it here first, folks. This stuff has texture suggesting it's the secret love child of sourdough and banana bread, but it's beer-y and savory and fabulous. And did I mention the part about how it tastes like BEER? Here's how to do it -

To the Original Recipe, swap the sugar for 3 tbsp of honey, and add:

1 tsp herbes de provence
~1/2 tsp thyme
~1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp parmesan
2oz smoked mozzarella
2 oz cheddar
1 egg

Mix all the dry ingredients and the cheese together (reserving about 1 oz of cheese), then the egg and honey, and the beer last. It'll be the consistency of cake batter. Then lay last ounce of cheese on top, and what the hell, throw some extra parmesan on there.
Then, after the dough is in the bread pan but before you put it in the oven, toss about 2-3 tbsp of butter on top. That'll keep the crust from drying out.

Just out of the oven:

Those striations you see? Smoked mozzarella and cheddar baked into the crust. Yesssss.

Lovingly sliced to reveal the cheesy, savory goodness within:

Served to (somewhat bewildered) host dad while hot and melty, with jam, for a savory-sweet mouthful of yum:

While he was teasing me for my prolific baking over the last few days (hamantaschen for 2 days followed by this beer bread), and he was aghast at what I was putting into the batter -- well, for the record, there was not a crumb left on his plate.

If you, like me, are the sort of person who likes to bake by partly following a recipe and partly messing about, here's what to take away from this:

3 c bread flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp honey
~10 oz Beer
1 egg

4 ounces shredded cheese(s) (some for inside, some for the top)
1 tablespoon herbs/spices of choice

Okay, one last thing - did I already mention about how this is BREAD that tastes like BEER? (sorry, dr. atkins, but this shit is delicious).


A Big Fan in CT said...

Do I need to use bread flour, or can I use regular flour? and what is the difference anyhow?

dara said...

Ah. Bread flour has a higher gluten content, which is super important for making doughy, chewy things, like, say, pizza dough. I have no idea if it makes a difference for this sort of thing, but since I had bread flour, why not use it to make bread?

I'd say good ol' all-purpose flour is probably fine. I'd stay away from pastry flour, though, as that would probably make it less bread-like and more cake/muffin-like.

MaybeUrMom said...

Great bread! It is so fast, so easy and so delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe and photos.