Beer Bread, page 67, November 11, 2017

Fall has fallen here; everything is gray, wet and windy, perfect weather  for homemade soup and bread.  I started a batch of split pea and ham soup in the slow cooker this morning and realized how good that will taste with some freshly baked bread.  Flipping through the cookbook, I came across this recipe and think it will be an ideal November supper.

Now, if you are an aficionado of beer, you can choose anything, dark or light, domestic or imported, and know that it will uniquely change the flavor of your bread.  I am not, however, a beer aficionado, I am not even a beer fan.  That said, I had an old can of Budweiser in my fridge left over from “heaven knows when” and that is what I am using.  (Hipsters and beer-snobs, scoff if you must.)

First step was opening the 12- oz. can of beer and pouring it into a bowl for a couple hours to go flat.

After the beer was sufficiently “flattened,” I poured it into the bread machine pan.  To that, I added 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 1/2 cups bread flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 2 1/2 teaspoons of SAF yeast.

This loaf used the basic cycle and the dark crust setting.

Unlike most recipes in Ms. Hensperger’s book, this one doesn’t call for the addition of gluten.  My assumption is that the beer makes up for any deficiency.

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence.” — M.F.K. Fisher

The yeasty beer smell while this was mixing, kneading and baking was really mouth-watering.   I tried a little slice warm with butter and it is a tasty loaf, slightly sweet with great crumb and crust. I didn’t really get a flavor that screamed “beer” to me, but that could change with a different, more flavorful brew.

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As you can see from the photo, this loaf definitely did NOT crater, which is nice, after the last several fails. I’m not sure to call what did happen here, but it isn’t a crater.

All in all, this tastes incredible and went so well with the homemade soup.  I will make this one again.  I might even buy a bottle of beer specially for it, instead of using some ancient can from the back of my fridge.

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Beer Bread with Cheddar, page 381, June 11, 2015

The title of this one just makes me hungry.  It is time for another loaf to have here at home and this is the recipe I have chosen.  I am not a big beer drinker, so I am just using a can of Rainier I found in the fridge.  I imagine you could try this recipe with different combinations of beers and cheeses, and find a combination that best fits your taste.  I am also using a sharp cheddar cheese, although the recipe suggests a mild cheddar or Colby.  The author described Colby as, “a cheese known for its firm texture.”  In case the texture was the reason she recommended it, I froze my cheddar shreds before putting the dough together.  The beer also needs to be flat prior to putting the dough together, so I opened the can and let it sit out on the counter for a few hours.

After my research earlier today into the possible reason behind my recent string of crater loaves, I am adding my ingredients into the pan like this:  1 cup (8 ounces) flat beer, 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons SAF yeast.

I made a small well in the center of the flour and put the yeast into the weIMG_4176ll.

Ms. Hensperger describes this bread as rich “like a pound cake.”  With the amount of sugar in the recipe, that does not surprise me.  The pungent, tangy smell of the beer is already filling the kitchen.  I have high hopes for this loaf. As the bread begins baking, the cheddar smell is now more predominant than that of the beer.

Now, THAT is what I am talking about.  A nice, high loaf with a smooth rounded top and a lovely golden brown color.  I have to wait for it to come to room temperature before slicing it. Tick IMG_4178Tock Tick Tock. . .

Oh yum, oh yum yum yum yum yum.  This bread is delicious.  It is indeed rich, the beer adds a wonderful aroma and there is just enough cheese to flavor the loaf, without being overwhelming.  I don’t taste the sugar, I have had beer breads before that are very sweet, this one is not. The bread itself is tender, and slices easilIMG_4179y. The golden brown crust is crunchy and flaky.