Weekend Reading #58

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Forbes | Eat Your Beer: Why A San Francisco Startup Is Making Granola Bars From Spent Brewing Grains

I am aware of lots of breweries who don’t let their spent grains to go waste and instead provide it for farmers to feed cattle. I love this article’s focus on the small company Regrained who are using spent grain from breweries to make granola bars.

We believe we should all be able to have our beer…and eat it too.

From the ReGrained website

If this kind of thing puts a big smile on your face, pop into Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen in Fremantle where head chef Mitch Mitchell is always putting their breweries spent grain to good use, most prominently in the form of his spent grain sourdough.

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Beer Bread  // Photo from Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen Facebook page

Draft Magazine | Renegade Brewing Co. owner Brian O’Connell talks beer festivals, drinking local and what it means to be a renegade

What I love about breweries and the stories behind why they opened is that I have never heard someone say, “I opened a brewery to make a pot of cash”. Brian’s story is just a fun, passion filled and wonderful as any other story I have heard. I particularly like the recollection of the day he realised he had to give it a shot.

I cancelled the meetings I was supposed to go to, rented a car and drove three hours out to the Delaware coast and spent the day at the Dogfish Head Brewery.

His approach to beer festivals is also of interest, not that we are reaching the same kind of numbers that the US are but being one brewery amongst a field of them begs the question as to how valuable they are for the breweries themselves, maybe is more than one way to get exposure?

Australian Brews News | Bridge Roads sets up authenticity campaign

A really interesting media release from Bridge Roads Brewers (VIC) to introduce new symbols to appear on their packaging and communications. There is this on-going debate as to whether the term “craft beer” is relevant, the can of worms really opens up when you start asking what the term means, how it should (if it should) be defined. This approach from Bridge Roads embraces the word “craft” and gives the drinker an idea of what it means. Maybe it even encourages questions from the drinker, like questions on owns others beers you like, do some breweries brew off site and, most importantly what does that mean?

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The team at Bridge Road Brewers are proud of what they do and the beer they make. The symbols were developed by the team, asking themselves; what is it that makes us different? And what do I expect from the craft beer I drink?

Wall Street Journal | Line Them Up: ‘Crafty’ Expats Stir Up the Vietnamese Beer Scene

As always I really enjoy reading about the craft beer scene in other countries outside of Australia and the US, this article on Vietnam’s emerging craft beer scene, what is driving it and its growth potential is super interesting.

BrewDog | DIY Dog

This is pretty epic. Scottish craft brewery BrewDog, known for excellent beer, making a lot of noise and stuffing a beer bottle into a taxidermy squirrel, have just released their entire back catalogue of beer recipes and story along with a guide to home brewing. Like I said, epic. Even if you don’t home brew, this is a great document to download and get all beer geeky on.

Beer Bread is Best

It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!

I’ve been loving the recipes and fun of The Beeroness for a while now so it’s probably unsurprisingly that one of my most recent purchases was a book from the Beeroness herself, Jackie Dodd – The Craft Beer Cook Book by Jackie Dodd. Packed full of great recipes, I’m sure the pages of this book will end up dog-eared and sauce stained in no time!

The first recipe I went for was the Beer Bread – it’s no yeast, no resting time and no fuss! It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!

Beer Bacon Jam on top of Beer Bread ... that's a lot of B's! Modeled my partner's hand and the wagging tail in the background is our dog, not a big rat :P
Beer Bacon Jam on top of Beer Bread … that’s a lot of B’s!
Modeled in partner’s hand and the wagging tail in the background is our dog hoping for a crumb or two!

Here’s what you’ll need …

3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups wheat beer
4 tablespoons melted butter (for mix)
2 tablespoons melted butter (for topping just before baking)

The only wheat beer I had in the fridge was from Norwegian brewers Hanndbryggeriet, their Bavarian Weizen, so in that went and the remainder in my glass (any excuse to open a beer!) It’s a very lovely wheat beer minus the big sweet banana character sometimes found with the style, instead it’s spicy, citrusy with hints of white pepper.

The dough might look a little rough but that's half the fun!
The dough might look a little rough but that’s half the fun!

To make the bread you want to mix all your dry ingredients together then add beer and butter. Combine ingredients well – this may require you to get your hands in there! Throw the dough into a lightly oiled loaf pan and top with last bit of butter. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes (depending on how temperamental your oven is) or until golden brown.

I also put a pan of water, about 2 cups, at the bottom of the oven as it’s something I’ve found suggested in a lot of bread recipes. Even in recipes that do not call for it, it has, for me, resulted in a softer and more evenly baked bread.

My only other advice would to be make two batches, it’s likely to be devoured quickly!

Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
Tasty fresh beer bread
Tasty fresh beer bread

From here you can also make your own additions, get a little wild and crazy!

For my rosemary and garlic beer bread I simply added:

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For my cayenne pepper beer bread I simply added:

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Both turned out lovely, the cayenne pepper was just enough to know it was there but not enough to turn you into an eye-watering, red-faced lunatic.

Next time I think I’ll try cheese and paprika!

On a side note, I used Coopers Sparkling for both these breads and I reckon it contributed to a slightly softer bread with more rise to it – thank you yeast! Of course I’m speculating and could be wrong but it just means I have to make more bread and experiment with different beers. All in the name of science of course.

L: Rosemary and Garlic R: Cayenne Pepper
L: Rosemary and Garlic
R: Cayenne Pepper
Making a little mess whilst making lots of beer bread
Making a little mess whilst making lots of beer bread

Beer + Mustard Bread

I recently stumbled across a fantastic recipe from Smitten Kitten that spoke to many of my food-loves … “Cheddar, Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread”. How could I possibly resist?

I recently stumbled across a fantastic recipe from Smitten Kitten that spoke to many of my food-loves … “Cheddar, Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread”. How could I possibly resist?

Since discovering this recipe only two weeks ago I have made it three times, each with a different and tasty result.

Attempt No. 1

The only downside was that I burnt its bottom and it overflowed a little, rising out of the baking tin like it was trying to escape. The loaf lasted all of about two days so I’d call that a success!

Preparing Bread
Making the Dough
Preparing the Yum
Spicy Cheese

Making Dough … Kneading Dough

Having made a few loafs of bread and pretzels I have come to the conclusion that a special dough hook attachment on a fancy machine is completely unnecessary. Plus you can’t have nearly as much fun putting flour hand prints in humourous places if you don’t get your hands dirty!

I used Coopers Sparkling in the dough purely because it is the current beer of choice in the fridge. It was either that or break open my Bootleg The Grandfather Barley Wine but that wasn’t going to happen! (Saving that for Christmas)

Preparing the Yum

I used the Kick Ass Hot Beer Mustard (made with Coopers), which has now become a staple item in our fridge, Worcestershire Sauce, Nandos Hot Sauce and melted butter.

Spicy Cheese

Using shredded local Capel Cheddar Cheese, I tossed through the mustard powder and smoked paprika according to the recipe and then blatantly put in more spices for no good reason other than just because.

Putting Bread Together
1. Rolling the dough into a rectangle without a rolling pin
2. Painting on the yum
3. Arranging

Rolling the Dough

Since we don’t have a rolling pin (at least not anywhere in the kitchen, it’s entirely possible that there is a rolling pin and two muddlers packed away in boxes in the shed) I used a large jar to try and make my flat rectangle.

Painting the Yum

There was something child-like fun about painting the yummy mustard/butter/hot sauce mixture onto the dough.

Arranging

This was a little fiddly. Using a pizza cutter I cut the dough into strips before layering it into a stack of dough, cheese, dough, cheese. Picking up ruler length strips of dough is fairly tricky! Next it was time to cut it up into sections to fit the cake tin, the recipe suggests a good knife but I used a paint scraper (we always have one in the kitchen for BBQ) and it worked a treat!

(By the way, the recipe has a really good photo of this whole process which will make a lot more sense than my ramblings here)

Finished Bread

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Attempt No. 2

We were heading to Perth and I had wanted to make the bread for a baby shower we were going to. Not wanting to make a mess in our friend’s kitchen I decided to prepare the bread, wrap it up, take it to Perth and then throw it into the oven on arrival.

After the drive up and running a few errands more than 3 hours passed in which the yeast had continued to grow, almost completely breaking free of it’s cake tin/cling wrap prison.

Deciding there wasn’t much I could do, and not sure if it was going to be okay, I lopped off the parts that were over the edges of the tin and reformed them into fat little sausage shapes on top as, for lack of a better word, “decoration”. It went into the oven and I crossed my fingers.

The result was a loaf of bread rather than a pull-apart but the taste was still amazing, more subtle than the first but light and fluffy with a good crusty outside.

We ate this with butter and some Pale Ale Cheese by Chef DeBeersine – beautiful!

Bread

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Attempt No. 3

Since Attempt No. 2 was for the baby shower but we got all excited and ate half of the loaf fresh from the oven, I had to make another the next morning. This time it was much closer to the actual recipe which is always nice and I didn’t get any photos since it came out of the oven and straight to the baby shower and disappeared rapidly once it hit the table. Yup, I’ll be making this bread a whole lot more!

Bread + Beer

Coopers Pale Ale Damper and trying their 150th celebration ale, funnily enough named Thomas Cooper’s Celebration Ale

Whilst writing up my post for Coopers Pale Ale I stumbled across a recipe from the Coopers website for Damper. Bread beer, huh? Yeah, I’d like that.

First I had a couple of hurdles to overcome. One was not having any beer after a rather indulgent weekend so a trip to the local bottleshop soon fixed that. The second was a little more difficult – we don’t have a sieve in the house and neither did our local IGA. Damn. Whilst I was staring at a large tea strainer and wondering just how much patience I possessed (as a female only child the answer was unflatteringly clear); my boyfriend was juggling a packet of paper cups. It seemed like a decent solution – poke some holes and Bob’s your uncle! (and I do have an Uncle Bob).

After stabbing several paper cups with a variety of instruments – corkscrew, screwdriver, pen and sewing needle – it became glaringly apparently it wasn’t such a good idea after all. I continued on with the ingredients list and threw in rosemary picked fresh from our backyard and thickly sliced Spanish olives and, of course, a generous bit of Coopers Pale Ale. It was a strange thing to pour beer into a measuring glass so, for good measure I poured the rest of the 750ml bottle into two glasses for myself and my boyfriend.

As I write this the damper has another ten minutes in the oven so I thought I’d look into the origins of damper since I don’t much except some association with Australian Aborigines; I think I remember doing some sort of damper cooking thing as a kid at primary school. Wikipedia describes damper as “Australian soda bread” by mixing flour, water and milk (if available) and shoving it into the ashes of the camp fire. I figure since mine is in the oven it’s gotta have a fighting chance of being half decent .. surely.

Whilst at the bottleshop, reaching for a king brown size bottle of Coopers Pale Ale, I noticed the Thomas Cooper’s Selection Celebration Ale and just had to grab a 6 pack. Released in celebration of their 150th year, the Celebration Ale uses hops from Australia, New Zealand and United States and local malt. I hadn’t read a great deal about the ale but in my head I was expecting some sort of hybrid of their pale and vintage ale, instead it’s more of a hopped, sweeter and earthier pale ale with a nice deep red colour. As it warmed up in the glass all the flavours came together with really nice balance and medium body. A nice drop.

Just over an hour and 2 Cooper’s Celebrations Ales later …

Not a resounding success, it was still a bit doughy in the middle and perhaps being in a cake tin didn’t help it much either. I went a little overboard in the rosemary department but the olives were delightful. Looking at other recipes I think I can easily improve on the Coopers one by actually making a dough rather than a goo and do the whole kneading thing. We ate it anyway in a platter of marinated octopus, grilled chorizo, camembert and red capsicum dip.  Oh well, it means I will have to get some more Coopers Pale and try it again sometime …