Well, Happy New Year! How 2015 is already here is beyond me, but what can you do.
Speaking of new beginnings, I've decided to stop labeling myself as "not a baker". For me, cooking a pot roast in the kitchen for family and friends is pleasant, full of meditation and I know the results will be delicious. When I think about baking breads and sweets I feel panic, restricted and I'm not confident on the outcome. Then I had a bit of an epiphany that (a) people feel the same constraint with cooking if they don't do it often and (b) just because most of the contestants on Top Chef wont touch dessert doesn't mean I should be fearful of it.
So. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is, because I still believe that if you want to be good at something, you just have to do it over and over again. My first step is to learn from the best, and luckily the internet is chock full of amazing food bloggers that truly know how to bake up a storm.
Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest has a recipe for beer bread that was so easy and fool proof every single time I made it, that I am forever a devoted fan. I've added a few things for variation, because that's what I do.
The basic ingredients you need is all purpose flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, and a can of beer. I'm adding granola for a crunchy topping, a little Mediterranean Garlic Oil from my last post, and fresh herbs.
My herbs of choice for this recipe really was dependent on what was in my garden: rosemary, sage and thyme. Change it up to whatever you fancy.
Start with the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk everything together, in a large bowl, to make sure everything is incorporated.
Now, mix in the brown sugar.
Set aside about a teaspoon each of granola and fresh herbs to the side to make the topping. Mix the rest into the flour mixture.
Now for the fun part. Crack open a can of beer and pour it into the mixture. The beer will immediately foam up.
Sidenote: you can use a fancy beer or a Coors like I have here. I've tried different types and they all perform well and taste great. Not all beers are vegan, so make sure to check that if that's what you're looking for.
With your spatula, mix mix mix. Make sure to scrape from the bottom to get everything combined together.
You'll end up with a dough that's wet and a little sticky.
Pop it into a greased 5x9 loaf pan.
Mix the herb oil, granola and fresh herbs together. You want the oil to evenly coat everything.
Put the topping on and lightly press it into the dough so it sticks once it's baked. Put this in a 375°F oven.
45 minutes later ...
It's bread heaven. Pop this out of the pan and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Be careful of the hot loaf and loose toppings if you turn it over.
This loaf will be dense and soft on the inside, and the crust will be firm and chewy.
I can make bread. I never thought that would be possible, but here it is (and it tastes damn good too). Serve this with room temp butter or some Earth Balance for a vegan option. Here's to taking chances for some delicious accomplishments in the kitchen.
Herb Beer Bread | 1 5x9 loaf
Lovingly adapted from Half Baked Harvest
3 cups all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP fresh rosemary, thyme, sage herbs, finely chopped
12 oz. beer
1/3 cup granola
1 TBSP herb oil
1/2 tsp salt
Whisk the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt together until well incorporated.
Set about a teaspoon each of the finely chopped fresh herbs and granola aside for the topping. Mix the rest into the flour mixture.
Pour in the beer and mix until you get a wet dough. Put into a greased 5x9 loaf pan.
Mix the granola, herb oil and the rest of the fresh herbs. Lightly press the topping onto the top of the dough.
Bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes.
- Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with room temperature butter.