Beer Bread

Beer Bread | pajamabaker.comSoooo, I went a bit overboard this weekend after baking the Cherry Cake. I had everything all baked, the cake was cooling, and before I went to put the bit of butter I had left over back in the fridge I said to myself “so what else can I make?!” And suddenly I found myself scouring my cookbooks until it hit me: bread. I’m going to make some bread.  It wasn’t like I had other things to be getting on with on a Sunday or anything, other than wedding plans, laundry, and cleaning the flat from the dinner party we had hosted the night before. Nope! No I had plenty of time!

Actually, this bread was super quick to make: toss all the ingredients together, knead for a bit, rise for a bit, shape, rise… bake. Done.

 

But I had to take it a step further. In the name of blogging. And experimenting. And photos of something besides a lump of bread.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you, the beer bread grilled cheese sandwich, made with some strong white cheddar cheese:

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Just look at that practically sexual melting going on! And those grill lines!

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And it was so creamy that the top started sliding off when we were photographing it… oops!

 

 

Ingredients

From Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 2/3 cups strong white flour (white bread flour), plus extra for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups beer – no Bud Light or nasty lagers allowed! Although, I used an entire bottle in mine! Magic Hat #9 that I brought back with me from the States. Mmmm.BeerBread5

Directions

1. Put all of your ingredients into the bowl of your mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Mix until all of the flour gets picked up and it’s a sticky-ish ball.

2. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough gets really smooth and elastic. Make sure you stretch it as you knead to get the gluten proteins going. Add a tiny bit of olive oil to your bowl, then put the dough ball back in. Place it in a warm spot covered with a tea towel to rise for 1 hour. It should at least double in size.

3. After it’s risen, turn the dough out onto your floured surface again and shape it into a ball. This works best when you stretch the top around to the bottom, tucking it under so the top is smooth and even. Then flatten it slightly and slash an X across the top with a sharp knife.  Slashing it helps control the way the bread will rise, to ensure that it rises evenly over the top.

4. Place your shaped loaf onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and let it rise for another hour. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

5. Bake your loaf for at least 30 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown and get a nice hard crust. (I could have actually done with another 5 minutes on mine, it’s a tiny bit too light!) Once it’s done, take your loaf out of the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool. Make sure you use the wire rack so you don’t get a soggy bread bottom – as this bread is really moist!

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While I couldn’t enjoy this loaf (although I was tempted! Gotta stick to the diet!), Ben said the grilled cheese we made with it was great, and it went down a real treat at the office!  Some people used it for a mid-morning snack toasted with some butter, someone else made a sandwich, and someone else dipped it in his lunchtime soup. So it was pretty versatile! Definitely a good use of using up what we had in the pantry.

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