Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cheesy Pub Beer Bread

Just look at this golden loaf of comfort!
Oh, just the smell of this bread in the oven immediately takes me back to when my mother used to make it when I was little. It seemed like she made it all the time when I was in grade school...I don't know what happened after that. Somehow it just disappeared from our menu altogether.

Well, it’s BACK! And back to stay! This is truly the easiest recipe in the world to make a scrumptious loaf of bread. In fact, you’ll find that you have to hold yourself back from making it all the time.

Would I call it a comfort food? Oh yeah, you better believe it! So enough chatter…let’s get to baking! (And we only need 6 ingredients to get the job done!)
Start with some all-purpose flour. Nothing fancy here…the simpler the better.

Add baking powder. Then give it a little stir with a fork just to mix it around.

Next add some sea salt. Stir that in with a fork.

A little bit of sugar…bread needs just a touch of sweetness. Again, stir it in with the fork to get it all incorporated.
Now for the best part. Here’s the beauty of this…you can use a cheap beer or a pricey port. It’s up to you. 
To be honest, the darker beers tend to give the best flavor…at least that’s what Charming says. (He really liked this Michelob Amber Bock) But no matter what you choose, you’re still going to love it. (This happens to be my preferred method of enjoying a beer.) 

Pour in that yeasty goodness…it’s not only our flavoring agent, it’s the secret to not needing yeast or self rising flour!

Give everything a good stir…I just use my fork, but a spoon is fine too. And don’t worry, it’s supposed to be lumpy & bumpy.

Now you can skip this step if you are trying to stay away from dairy, or just trying to cut some calories….

I take some shredded colby jack cheese (1 cup) and add it to the dough. Mild or sharp cheddar cheese is really good too!
Grab a loaf pan and grease it with 1 Tbsp. of the butter.
Form the dough into a rough ball.
Plop our cheesy beer dough into the pan and form a loaf.
Then into the oven for 45 minutes. And trust me…you’re going to wish that you had made two loaves when the aroma starts wafting through the air.

When the timer goes off, remove the bread from the oven but don’t turn it off! Cube and melt the remaining butter. (I melt it in a microwave safe measuring cup for about 30 seconds)

Then carefully pour all of that melted butter over the top of the bread.
Resist temptation and return the glistening, buttery bread to the oven for another 10-12 minutes. We want that butter to get the top of the bread all crusty and golden brown.

The timer sounds! The bread is removed from the oven! There should be a slight springiness when it’s pressed. A knife makes its way through the loaf…a little bit of butter is slathered onto the bread….and instant gratification!

So perfect alone for a little snack. (A great pairing with roasts, corned beef or Norwegian Meatballs)
Enjoy, Enjoy, ENJOY!

Cheesy Pub Beer Bread
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8
3 cups Flour, All-Purpose
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
12 oz. Beer, dark or light
1 cup Colby Jack or Cheddar Cheese, shredded
5 Tbsp. Butter, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with 1 Tbsp. of the butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, sea salt and sugar. Stir to fully incorporate ingredients.

Pour beer into dry ingredient mixture. Stir just enough to incorporate through the dry ingredients. Dough should be lumpy.

Add cheese to dough. Mix with hands just until cheese is dispersed through the dough.

Form into a ball. Take prepared loaf pan and place dough inside. Lightly press dough to form a loaf.

Bake loaf in preheated oven for 45 minutes for first bake.

Melt remaining butter in a microwave safe bowl or cup for 25-30 seconds on high.

Remove loaf from oven and carefully pour melted butter over entire loaf.

Return loaf to oven for 10-12 minutes. Crust should be golden brown and loaf should have a slight give when fully baked.

Place on cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!

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