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Friday, February 24, 2012

Cheddar Mustard Beer Bread


I always say that, "I can't make bread to save my life!"  Thank goodness there is a Nugget Market close by...But, after last weekend, I sure can make BEER bread!  I changed things up a bit and switched my usual BIWB emphasis on the sweet for something comforting and savory.  I had some homemade bean soup just waiting for this particular companion. 

Really crunchy on the outside, soft and cheesy on the inside...Are you salivating?  A great match and a great loaf of bread!  Easy, too.  I love easy.

I'll be honest, I made this last weekend in a bit of pent-up baking frenzy.  I also made killer chocolate creme de menthe cupcakes, too, for a St. Patty's Day post. You see, I thought I was giving back my loaner KitchenAid, but it turns out my friend won't take it back.  Thank you, again, Peggy for your kindness and understanding of my addiction.  My KA is still in Michigan.  I haven't heard anything and I'm honestly very worried. 

So, when I worry, I bake!

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I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen a while back, I think sometime around the Super Bowl.  It looked fun and interesting.  I had all the ingredients, I just needed the time.  A long holiday weekend with a bit of drizzly rain did the trick.  Plus, I was worried.

Changed things up a bit for you and no step-by-step on this one.  I didn't honestly think it would turn out this amazing.  Next time, I'll take photos.  But, let me stress: IT'S EASY!  All you need is cheese, beer, flour, yeast, eggs and a few other pantry staples.  Oh, a good pan and a very sharp knife are also key.  And, the very cool thing about this bread is that it's so forgiving, you can change up your cheese or mustard or beer and still get a great loaf of bread.

And, did I even mention that BREAD is my favorite food?  Little control, especially when it's warm, fresh and right out of the oven. 

Oh, yeah, and you gotta have BUTTER!
 Yeah, believe it or not, it looks as good as it tastes!

This recipe is based on this bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  I will include my modifications, which I think actually made for an EASY bread to make and great presentation.  And, we all know that in food, presentation is KEY...

Bread
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beer, preferably dark
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup rye flour (you can get rye flour in the cool bin section of your market)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine salt (regular table salt)
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Filling
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon or a mustard of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Make dough: In a small saucepan, heat the 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup of beer, just until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/3 cup beer. Set aside to cool down slightly. You want the mixture warm (110 to 116 degrees).  Be anal, use a thermometer.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With the mixer on low, pour in the butter-beer mixture, mixing only until the flour is moistened. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. The batter will look lumpy, but will become smooth when you add in the rest of the flours. Add the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and all of the rye flour, mixing until just combined. Replace paddle with a dough hook and let the machine knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes on low.

Oil a medium bowl and transfer dough to it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 50 to 60 minutes, until doubled. 

Make fillings: In the same small saucepan you used for the butter and beer, melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce until smooth. Set aside.  You want an emulsion, trust me.

On wax paper, where you grated your cheese, sprinkle over the cheese: the mustard powder, paprika, salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss with your hands on the wax paper until the grated strands are evenly coated with spices.  Wrap it up in a little package and put it in the fridge until you're about 20 minutes away from rolling out the dough.  If it gets too warm, it'll get too clumpy.

Assemble bread: Either coat a 9-by-5 loaf pan lightly with butter or a nonstick spray.  Set aside.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured counter and roll the dough into a 18-by-9-inch rectangle, making sure it doesn’t stick to the counter by re-flouring the counter as needed. Brush the butter-mustard-Worcestershire mixture evenly over the whole surface, right up to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese spice mixture, evenly distributing all the way to the edges.  Press the cheese into the dough a bit.  Starting at the short end, roll up like a jelly roll.  Press the seams together and turn the seam side down.

With the sharpest knife you own (or a serrated one), gently and with the lightest sawing motions cut your bread into 12 equal pieces.  I cut it in half, then quarters, then each quarter into thirds.  

Arrange stacks of dough down the length of your prepared loaf pan in an offset pattern.  Almost simulating a braid look.  This was a fluke, really.  I just made it up so that the dough would fit into this pan.  It just worked and I was just lucky.  Smitten Kitchen does a much more elaborate cutting and layering thing, but I was looking for EASY.  Get it? 

This is what your ultimate goal will achieve. 
Loosely cover the pan with more plastic wrap and set it aside to rise again for 45-50 more minutes. Let it come to the top of the pan at least and get kinda plump.

Preheat your over to 350 degrees.  Bake loaf for 25 to 35 minutes, until puffed and brown. You want it to sound hollow when rapped with a wooden spoon, or so I'm told.  Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for 5 minutes before flipping it out onto a serving plate/cutting board. Serve warm with cold beer or soup or wine or a cocktail or more cheese...

The jelly roll sections "pull" apart the easiest when the loaf is hot or warm. 

Lastly, today is a very sad day for me.  I have to share this with you, my friends.  I lost a very dear friend and man who was like a father.  A man who welcomed me into his family and whose wife and daughters I hold most dear to me.  I owe many more thanks to Mr. Sherman Finch than I could ever express in words or in deeds.  My life was changed forever the first time he ever asked me if he could call me, Ellen Lee.  And, if you recall I visited him, Mrs. Finch and Betsy and her family in Ohio this past fall and made my first hard cider apple pie for Mr. Finch's birthday.  I'd like to dedicate this bread to Mr. Finch, a bread lover himself and the man who bought me my one and only bread machine because he knew how much I LOVED bread but just couldn't make it to save my life. 
Mr. Sherman Finch...I think he would have loved this bread, too. 
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8 comments:

  1. Yes, please! I was always afraid of making bread too. Now I love it. I hope you hear about your KA soon. I need to take mine to Los Altos (was going to do it this week but the little one prevented us from travelling.)

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    1. I heard yesterday afternoon that Bella is coming home from Michigan next week! I can't believe it...Finally, back here with her custom paint job AND functional. I'll have to make something special for her first run.

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  2. I love it, I put so many times Booze in Pastries.....nearly all the time and don't even think about it anymore, nice recipes you got, thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! You have a beautiful blog and amazing creations! I want to come to dinner on YOUR ship...Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. this bread looks absolutely wonderful, and what an awesome tribute to dear Mr. Finch.

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    1. Thanks, J...Yesterday was really tough. We both loved bread and shared many a warm slice. And, always with butter. :)

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  4. Yum. Mustard, beer and cheese... a wonderful combination in my favorite food group: CARBS.

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  5. Oh goodness, this looks DIVINE...I think I might just have to make some. I have some homemade honey-beer mustard I made over the holidays that I think will go perfectly with it.

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