Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

No messing with yeast, no waiting for rising, simple ingredients, and it has enough flavor to stand on its own. The most time-consuming part of making this bread is getting the additives ready -- chopping the herbs and garlic, grating the cheese -- which is all optional, in ingredient choice and amounts.

For the beer I used a black mocha stout because that's what I had in the frig (and I like stout). But a stout beer isn't necessary; use your favorite beer. For the cheese I used Pecorino. I tend to switch back and forth between Parmesan and Pecorino for the hard cheese to keep on hand, but I think I like Pecorino a little better. It's more flavorful ... a little nuttier and sharper.

The original recipe called for white flour, with an optional replacement of 1 cup with whole wheat flour. To me, a beer bread screams for whole wheat flour, not white. Why use ultra-refined white flour when a more nutrient-rich (i.e., healthier), flavorful whole wheat flour will do nicely?

Next time I think I'll add more herbs (just more of the same) and maybe leave out the cheese. Speaking of cheese, I'm thinking I should have stored the loaf in the refrigerator due to the cheese ingredient. I think I messed up on that account. I'd really like to get that assumption verified ... anyone? Thanks in advance!

Whole Wheat Beer Bread
(adapted from a www.food52.com recipe by joninnye)

1 cup spelt flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped (more or less, depending on how much you like garlic)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese (amount and type optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped (amount and herbs optional)
1 12-ounce beer
3-4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter/oil a loaf pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic, cheese, and herbs in a large bowl, and lightly mix together. Carefully pour in the beer and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Stir until the beer has been absorbed throughout (the dough will be thick).

Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan and gently spread it evenly. Pour the melted butter on top of the dough. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the top is golden and the loaf is firm to the touch.

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