There is something about hunkering down for bad weather that makes me want to cook and bake. Saturday afternoon we were hunkered down for the storm that never came (in my zip code, anyway, it was just a pretty snowfall that didn’t stick much). On a baking kick, I excitedly paged through screen after screen of bread recipes. I was looking for the perfect accompaniment for the thick, savory beef barley soup that was bubbling in the crockpot. It had to be savory as well as dense enough to handle being dragged through the rich stew-like broth. Oh, and on the lower-fat side, if you don’t mind.
I quickly ended up at the Cooking Light site, because they rarely, if ever, fail me on my recipe quests. I chose a beer bread recipe because a) Mark wanted an excuse to hit the packy, b) beer bread is big-time yum, and c) I wanted to avoid using yeast. Beer provides most of the leavening here. Isn’t that cool?? Bread is made with yeast. Beer is made with yeast. Ooh, I think I just got it…
Onion, cheese, and a bottle of beer is really all you need aside from flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix it up, bake it up, and drizzle a little bit of butter part-way through, and you’ve got a hefty loaf of the most gorgeous, tastiest savory quick bread you’ve ever tasted. There is also a maple stout bread I’ve got my eye on that you may see soon here…
If you are still sitting there, shaking your head, thinking “I can’t make fresh bread. Too many things could go wrong.” PULL UP YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES! I promise you, this is as simple as Measure. Stir. Bake. YOU CAN DO IT
**Just a quick word on measuring flour, to ensure the heavenly texture that you want. As with all baked goods, measure your flour carefully and with a light hand. I tend to fluff up the flour in the container first, usually with a whisk or fork, so that it is not all packed tightly together. Then I carefully spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and level off the top with the flat edge of a knife. Check out King Arthur Flour’s short video demonstrating this technique!
Cheddar Onion Beer Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45-55 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Vermont cheddar
1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer (I used Samuel Adams Boston Lager)
4 teaspoons melted butter, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a loaf pan (9×5 inches) with pan spray.
1) Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and ground pepper and cook for 1 minute more.
2) While the onions are cooking, measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine. Pour in the beer, and stir just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the cheese and the onion mixture. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the melted butter over the top.
3) Bake for 35 minutes. Drizzle the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter over the top, then return to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes more. The bread is done when the crust is a golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board.
This bread goes great atop a steaming bowl of beef barley soup – recipe coming soon!