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

Sour + Chocolate

Drinking lambics remind me of eating warhead lollies as a kid, there’s something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

Tuesday Night Sours
Tuesday Night Sours

Ah lambics … drinking lambics remind me of being a kid and eating one too many warhead lollies. There is something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

First up I had the Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour. It’s a wild ale from a Norwegian brewery which, according to the website, is run purely on a volunteer basis.

Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour

The beer pours a striking cloudy orange colour – it’s beautiful! There are soft aromas of under ripe cherries and watermelon. Taste wise it is softer than I had anticipated which is perhaps just because it’s been a while since I’ve had any sour beers (shame on me!). As I sipped on it I got sea salt, under ripe plums, a decent bit of tartness and cherries.

I tried matching this with dinner, spur of the moment, by making sticky soy and honey chicken. As a match it was a little off the mark with too much sweetness dominating the pairing. Still, the Sweet and Sour made a really nice beer to sip on over dinner. The contents of the beer seemed to disappear quite rapidly!

Sweet and Sour Beer with Chicken

For the next beer I moved a little closer to home, choosing the Melbourne brewed Moondog Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a black wild ale with cherry plums. Despite the word “black” printed right there on the label I was still surprised at the jet black colour.  The aroma was a strange mixture of cherries and mushrooms; flavours were a mash up of bitter black cherry, green apple and hints of rich dark chocolate. The finish was tart and leaves you with a slightly confused look on your face as you try to work out what just happened to your palate. It’s not a traditional lambic or sour beer and I don’t believe it was ever intended to be.

Moondog Black Wild Ale

I decided to try and match it with chocolate from one of my local chocolatiers Bahen & Co (who you may know from their collaboration brew with Eagle Bay Brewing to create a Cacao Stout). As the beer washed over the chocolate it raised those subtle chocolate notes to the front. It was a challenging pairing because in some aspects it really worked, bringing out dark chocolate notes that seemed to fit well with a bitter finish, but in other ways it was very much at odds with elements like funky mushroom aromas and fresh green apples.

It was great to experience two beers loosely from the same style completely different from one another and sours appear to be making a little noise lately. If you’re keen there are a few great reads to see what’s happening …

Tarting up Australia – Australian Brews News

Temple Brewing Scarlet Sour – Australian Brews News

The Power of Sour – Australian Brews News

The Sour Italian – Tipples Blog