Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fun in the Kitchen #10 - Beer Bread

The holidays are a great time for good food.  Even better, they're a great time for other people to make you food.  Sure, I did my part by supplying the desserts.  But, my family also had a lot to bring to the table (pun intended).

At my sister's place, we had lefse...
Think of it as Swedish tortillas made from potatoes and served with butter & cinnamon or preserves.  Trust me, it's better than I make it sound.
There was also a big ol' ham and Swedish sausage...

Oh, and don't forget dessert...

But, now that all the celebrating is done, it's time to get back in to the old routine.  This time around, I'll be making beer bread.  It's probably the simplest recipe so far.  Seriously, a trained baboon could make this look good.

Step #1 for making beer bread: cheat.  Yep.  There won't be a laundry list of ingredients this time around.  We'll be working from this bread mix that I received for Christmas - but that you can pick up just about anywhere

The instructions are ridiculously easy too.  See...
The instructions essentially boil down to "Mix + Bake = Bread".
Step #2 for making beer bread: Pick your beer.  Actually, you can pick any carbonated beverage.  Soda or carbonated juices are supposed to work as well, but the box says 'beer bread' so that's what we're going with here.  I picked one of my favorite brews, New Belgium 1554.  It's a smooth dark ale.
1554: Rich and Creamy.  It's a great winter beer.

Step #3: Pour your beer.
You don't have to use an Ironman bottle opener, but it helps add extra 'awesome'.

Step #4:  Add your bread mix and beat the holy heck out of it - but only for 30 seconds.

Step #5: Pour the mix into a greased bread pan and bake it for 50-55 minutes at 375 degrees.

About half-way though baking.
Step #6: Take the pan out of the oven, pop the loaf onto a rack and let 'er cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.
Whoops.  It looks like we had a bit of a blow-out.  I guess the mix couldn't quite handle the awesomeness of my beer.

The Verdict:  It's not bad, and as you can see, it couldn't get much easier to make.  From start to finish, it only takes 90 minutes, and 30 of that is waiting for it to cool.  Considering that the dough only had about 50 minutes to rise, it's not too dense.  It would go well with just butter, or served with olive oil.  You could even serve it at parties as open-faced sandwiches with cheeses or cured meats.

You can definitely pick up some of the beer taste in the bread.  I would recommend using the darkest beer you can find to ensure that the flavor holds over to the final product.  Stay away from anything that's advertised during football games or NASCAR races.

That's it.  You've just made bread.  That wasn't so hard, was it?

My plan for the next few kitchen adventures is to touch on some of my everyday meals.  I'm in full weight-loss mode in an effort to drop another 5-15 pounds before race season starts, and that means making some adjustments for dinner time.  Stay tuned.

Speaking of staying tuned.  Don't forget to 'Like' me on Facebook.  Sure, you may not like me 'in that way,' but it's the best way to get notified every time I churn out something new.  Just click here.  Or here. Or over on the right side of the page. 


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