Cold night? Hot bread.

January 8, 2010

This was dinner:

Cheese, sausage, pickles, olives, wine. Nothing wrong with that.

So I would have time to make this, which was dessert:

Bread fresh from the oven, with butter? Dessert of the gods.

So, I consider this an evening well spent.

I was in little mood to cook, feeling somewhat curmudgeonly because it’s freakin’ Cold, it’s going to be freakin’ Cold for the next several days, much as it has been for the last several, and I Am Sick To Death Of It. Which doesn’t change the temp a damn bit, I might add.

But I did need to stop by the grocery on the way home, so I picked up the makings for assorted cold-weather type dishes like bean and sausage soup, and chili. And they had a good selection of root vegetables, so I picked up parsnips, turnips and a celery root.

None of which hit the spot for tonight. And as I was idly plundering about the ‘net while idly half-way listening to the Food Network which was on in the back ground and I heard someone say, “beer bread.”

“H’mmmm,” thinks I. I believe I recall making beer bread back sometime in the dark ages. And I think it was pretty good. So I commenced googling beer bread recipes, all of which seem to have about teh same things in them: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, beer.

Got all that. See?

The cast of characters. That's flour, in the half-gallon Ball jar.

The recipe is pretty damn simple:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking power
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 12-oz. bottle beer (I used Dundee Honey Brown)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Sift the dry ingredients together, add the beer, stir. It makes a thick dough. I kneaded mine a time or two or three on an oiled surface, just to make sure I had it in some kind of decent loaf-shape. Plop it into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 pan, and pour the melted butter over the top. Bake about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

You could flavor this to make it even more savory…add a little rosemary, or thyme. The beer doesn’t come through much in the way of taste, but adds some extra leavening. It makes a fairly dense bread, but when it cools it’s manageable enough to cut in fairly thick slices and use for toast.

And it’s damn fine with a bigger-than-is-healthy slab of butter on it when it’s still so hot it’s hard to slice.

The cheese and sausage plate was Petit Jean Farms beef summer sausage; fontina, havarti and Jarlsberg. Big black olives, and bread and butter pickles.  The wine is a new Malbec I picked up last night, Trapiche Oak Crest, from Argentina.

Doesn’t make it any warmer, but makes me feel better about it being 9 degrees tonight.  You and y’mama ‘n ’em stay warm.

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