By The Gentleman
As usual Christmas is a time of gift vouchers and, lets be honest, you’d rather get a gift voucher from some obscure relative than have them try and guess what sort of stuff you actually like. Gift vouchers are great, particularly when you can use them on something that will help you make tasty treats, like the cookbook I used my gift voucher on, The Entire Beast: From Ear and Beer to Ale and Tail by former Masterchef contestant Chris Badenoch. Badenoch’s philosophy is all about using the whole animal and treating beer as you would wine, something that can enhance your cooking and dining experience by pairing the right beer with the right meal. I went straight to the one of the easier yet tasty recipes, Beer Bread, because I’m all about beer and baking.
Makes 1 Loaf
375g Self-Raising Flour
40g Raw Sugar
1/2 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
1 bottle (360ml) Baird Brewing Suruga Bay Imperial IPA
20g unsalted butter
Preheat your oven to 170 C and grease and line a loaf tin. Grab a big bowl and sift in your flour, sugar and sea salt. Make sure you sift it otherwise you’ll get an overly dense loaf that’s more like a brick than bread. Mix your sifted dry ingredients to make sure they are combined. Grab your beer and slowly start to pour it in, using a fork to mix the batter. You’ll end up with quite a think and sticky batter that is a bit lumpy. Make sure you leave a little bit of beer in the bottle (a teaspoon or two). Pour your batter into the prepared tin. Melt the butter and add the remaining beer to your butter and stir to combine. Pour the melted beer butter over the top of your batter. This will give it a nice crust on top and enhance the malty, hoppy beer aroma. The recipe says to bake for 50-60 minutes but for me it only took just over 40 minutes. I recommend checking it after 30 minutes and then 10 minutes, sticking a knife or skewer through to see if it is still moist. When your knife comes out clean remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool for a bit before turning it out onto a cake rack to cool completely. You should eat the bread within 2 days or freeze it, but I seriously think it won’t last that long.
There are few things nicer than the smell of baking at home and the Beer Bread does not disappoint. It has an amazing aroma that is equal parts baked bread and beer, with the malt and hops of the beer giving it an almost caramel smell with a hint of citrus. Cutting into it for the first time just enhanced these flavours, making me salivate at the thought of that first bite. I was very happy with how much it puffed up to look quite like a rustic loaf of bread and not a brick. It also cut quite easily even though it was still warm when I had the first slice. Seriously you need to enjoy this warm with just some butter and sea salt before you go adding delicious jams or other condiments. The bread also has a lovely texture, it’s dense like a sourdough but definitely a bread texture and not cake. You can really tell it’s bread when you get to the bottom crust, it has that slightly chewy consistency. The Imperial IPA, with its strong beer flavour, imparts a whole lot of malt and hop flavour to the bread. It tastes beery in the best possible way, but it’s not overpowering or out of place. Different beers would give you a different flavour profile, leaving lots of room to experiment, as well as options for pairing the beer with interesting additions like honey, black pepper or various herbs. Experiments that I am more than willing to try.
After making the Beer Bread I have a good feeling that The Entire Beast is going to be a welcome addition to my cookbook collection. The bread was delicious and so easy to make and that gives me confidence that the rest of Badenoch’s recipes will be equally as tasty.