Weekend Reading #1

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

The Beeroness | Stout Meatballs with Beer Barbeque Sauce Glaze
Jackie Dodd – author of The Craft Beer Cook Book & her website ‘The Beeroness – Have your beer and eat it too’

Recipes regularly drop into my email inbox from The Beeroness which keep me both hungry and entertained in equal amounts. This recipe is screaming out at me, begging to be made – gooey caramelised flavours, tender meat and beer sauce – it’s too good to simply leave to words. I’ll be making these bad boys very soon. If you beat me to it I’d love to know how they turned out!

Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
I’ve tried many great recipes from Jackie’s book – here’s the start of her tasty beer bread

The Splendid Table | The 7 Flavour Categories of Beer: What they are, How to pair them
American radio show food focused since 1994

When sometimes an IPA isn’t your run-of-the-mill IPA it is really great to read an article, or even a beer menu, that is categories by flavour rather than by style. This article uses seven different flavoured descriptions to breakdown beer styles and pinpoint the foods that can work best with them.

Draft Magazine | Brewery to Watch: Big Alice
American online beer magazine

A short article on New York’s newest nano-brewery Big Alice Brewery that takes a “farm to kettle” approach to brewing. Imagine visiting the farmers market, taking back hand fulls of the freshest, in season produce and then making your beer from there. Well, that’s what these guys do …

Love Beer, Love Food | Stone’s New Saison & A Summery Seafood Treat
Lindsay is a Certified Cicerone, home brewer and serious home cook

Bringing together Stone’s latest Saison with her own zesty, fresh vinaigrette dressing for oysters. Read her story and get the recipe here.

Oysters by Jerry Fraser
I love oysters and no one does oysters like the King of Oysters Mr Jerry Fraser

The Herald Sun | Alehouse Rock: Melbourne Brewers are Getting Crafty
Latest Melbourne and Victorian news

In the days leading up to Good Beer Week this article was published in The Herald Sun. At it’s core it is an article about the growing craft beer scene in Melbourne but broken down from the points of view of brewers, retailers, bar owners and a chef.

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