I have been on a bit of a bread baking kick these last couple weeks; it’s been a nice break from the intensive math course I’m taking. Last night I was looking to replace my last loaf and thought about making beer bread. Most of the beer bread recipes that you find on the internet are quick breads meaning that they rely on the yeasty flavor of the beer and baking powder to do the raising and giving a faux bread flavor, not always resulting in the fluffiest of breads. So last night I made a simple leavened bread of Parmesan and basil and beer.
1 12-oz bottle of beer (I used Blue Star Wheat Beer to add a light flavor but a pale ale would probably be best, or an amber ale for whole wheat to add a heavier flavor)
1 packet of yeast (any kind of yeast will do, for this I used simple bakers yeast but as we all know you get different flavors from the thousands of those little buggers out there!)
3 ½ c. all purpose flour (whole wheat flour is a nice substitute too!)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
½ c. grated Parmesan (Asiago works wonderfully if you have a hoppier beer)
¼ c. fresh or dried basil
Pepper for taste
Olive Oil for coating pan and bread (Olive oil leaves a wonderful flavor so I don’t recommend using corn, vegetable oils, etc.
- Place beer into a mug or bowl and heat up 15 seconds at a time until warm.
- Mix in yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes or until creamy looking.
- In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt and a few turns of pepper together.
- Then mix in the cheese and basil
- Start mixing a half cup at a time of the flour mixture to the beer and yeast until the dough has pulled away from the walls.
- Lightly flour a work surface and start kneading the dough for about 8 minutes
- Once fully kneaded place dough in a well oiled bowl and make sure the surface of your dough ball is covered in oil as well.
- Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm space for 40minutes to an hour’s time (or till it’s doubled in size)
- Once it has doubled roll it back out on to the floured surface and kneed a bit more. You can form the bread as you like either as buns or rolls or keep it a big ball.
- Once your dough is formed, rub with oil and place it on a well oiled baking sheet (or if you’re using a loaf pan or other form make sure it’s well oiled).
- If you are making a loaf you can sprinkle a little cheese on top, some basil or both for a nice topping.
- Cover your buns again with the damp cloth and let rise for another 40 minutes.
- While it’s rising the second time preheat your oven to °400 F.
- Once it’s done rising remove cloth and bake for 20 minutes.
This is a really good bread for sandwiches (salami and provolone with spinach is especially good) or even croutons, if you slice it up and re-bake it with strong Parmesan on top and use it with a salad.