Thursday, March 31, 2011
Beer Bread for the weary
Lots of folks don’t have the option of getting into the kitchen and leisurely prepping an evening meal. I understand this. So let’s not use words like puree, truss, stuff, or – God forbid – French. I remember Little Miss Sunshine and feeling tender toward the mother, who came home from a whacked-out stressful day with a bucket of chicken and two liters of soda and tried to get dinner (a strained use of the word) on the table and the family together. The grandfather went off on her with a swearing tirade about chicken. #$%!! AGAIN?!! Made you want to put a little strychnine in his drink.
I’ve noticed that the scent of something baking in the oven can work like freebasing Zoloft. It’s that powerful. A kind of calm sweetness diffuses through the house; traffic tickets, tyrants, terrorists, and skinned knees are forgotten. For a moment you are forgiven and soothed. The anticipation that announces something good is coming, is a gift I love to give because I know it’s more than food, it’s spiritual. There’s something sacred in this simple act. Since I can’t do it for that many, being finite and all, I share this instead.
There aren’t many recipes for a yeasty-tasting homemade bread this easy. It’s great company for nearly any meal. A few left-over slices make good toast the next morning. Putting it together and throwing it in the oven last night took me six minutes. Seriously. I timed it. And all the ingredients were put away, too. However, you must give enough time to bake (50 minutes) and cool (about 5 minutes). So, yes, it does require a little forethought.
1 c. whole wheat or ¾ c ww and ¼ c. cornmeal (optional, can use all white)
2 c. white flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. salt
2 T honey
12 oz beer
3 T melted butter
Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Add honey and beer. Stir together just until mixed. It will be sticky and moist. Transfer to a buttered loaf pan or a shallow baking dish. Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Melt 3 T. butter and spread on top. Return to oven for another 20-25 minutes. Makes one loaf.
* Wet your hand with cold water and pat the batter to smooth it down. Then it won’t stick to your fingers.
* Don’t use a whisk. It gets completely gunked up. Use a wooden spoon.
* An ale or dark beer gives a more beery taste. I like a lighter beer. Okay. A girly beer like Honey Weiss.