October 14, 2013

daily bread

"Bread is the staff of life, but beer is life itself." -anonymous

It has taken me half of my life to find a taste for beer and yet I still find it difficult to enjoy a brew that is heavy on the hops. My preference leans towards malty, sour, dry, chocolaty and sometimes even fruity. There was a morning last year that I woke up to an meagerly stocked cupboard and even emptier refrigerator. I was feeling hungry and lazy and after surveying the few ingredients I had it became clear to me that in a little more than an hour I could enjoy a cheese sandwich on a slice of warm beer bread. Quickly I got to work and soon enjoyed a literal slice of heaven that I have thought of fondly ever since. Last night, realizing that there were bottles of both a wheat beer and a pale ale, (two beers that found their way into my home during a pot luck months ago and that I am not particularly fond of) I decided it was time to pour one off and put the oven to good use. I assembled the five simple ingredients for this quickly made bread in no time and got started.

3 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
big pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of softened butter
1 can or bottle of beer

Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with wooden spoon. Slowly pour in the entire beer until well incorporated. Grease and flour a bread tin and pour in the batter using your spoon or spatula to lightly spread it into the corners. Place bread into the oven for one hour. After 10-15 minutes when the bread first sets, brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the center of bread, making sure it comes out clean.

My bread had a tart bitterness to it that I quite enjoyed. I ate two slices of it around a sharp aged cheddar and sipped on a dry red Greek table wine. To combat that bitter flavor, add a spoon of sugar to your dough or use a sweeter beer. You could also just as easily top a toasted slice with butter, jam or honey. It's a nice thing to share with the neighbors. I saved a bit for breakfast this morning and look forward to topping it off with a fried egg, sunny side up. Enjoy!

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