Thursday, 14 October 2010

Beer Bread #2 - the sequel

Now you may remember that last time I made Beer Bread (also the 1st time ever) I wasn't that impressed with the taste and thought this was down to the beer I'd used. This time then - lager was the way to go. This kinda came about because you know when you sit down and open a can and take one sip then that's enough - rather than wasting the stuff I figured it could become bread. Baking bread and frugality - how's that for the feel-good kudos points? :-D
The other thing I hadn't liked overly much was the stodge factor. Partly this may be down to the flour as I used mostly wholemeal flour but I figured this time I'd try individual 'rolls' instead of one loaf and see if this caused any improvement. I used these little pie foils [reuse by washing and drying gently and reshaping as necessary; another frugal tip there] as the dough is too runny to shape into rolls without support. (You can also use a deep muffin tray says t'internet.)
The other thing I wanted to test out was whether there's any discernible difference or indeed advantage to using self-raising flour versus the use of plain in conjunction with baking powder. These seem to be the 2 major 'camps' in the online recipes I've found. This then is the SR Flour version.

Beer Bread #2
3 cups self-raising flour
1tbsp golden sugar
1tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1tsp dried oregano
300ml lager [Carlsberg]
Little melted butter for greasing & top
Sesame seeds for top

Preheat oven to Gas 5.
Sift flour into bowl. Add sugar, salt, oregano and pepper and mix together well.
Melt little butter in microwave and brush into dishes to grease them well.
Mix lager into flour and dollop into dishes - it makes a very sticky dough.
I had a little excess butter left so brushed this on top and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Place in oven.
Now - online recipes making 6 individual 'rolls' stated anything from 35-45 mins but mine still took the same time as a full loaf at a good 50 mins. Test with a skewer and once it comes out clean and they're a golden brown on top they should be done.
Let them cool in the dishes for a few mins before turning out onto a cooling rack. At this point a tap on the base that gives back a hollow sound will also confirm 'doneness'.
These are good warm with a little butter and cheese. I added the oregano on a whim but not sure it added that much.
The bread was a vast improvement on the last time I tried this, I really think the key is to use a flavourless lager for it. They rolls were well aerated and not stodgy at all so what remains to be seen is the difference between this batch and the plain flour & baking powder combo.
As a cheaty super quick way of making bread though this recipe is really starting to win me over. Next time you're left with some cans of 'cooking lager' after a party that no-one will touch, including the person who brought them, you know what to do! :-)

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