St. Pat’s Day Bread

21 Mar

Patrick is the Irish soda bread baker in the house, and rightly so.  It’s likely 100% in his blood, it’s only 17% in mine (thanks, Ancestry!).  However, it’s my challenge, and he was out of the house, so I needed to take the reins.  I knew I couldn’t compete with his soda bread, but I still wanted something “Irish” to go with our day after St. Pat’s feast.  Thanks to Sara Kate over at The Kitchn, I was off and running in no time.  Luckily, beer bread is the quickest and easiest of breads, and one I hadn’t tried yet.  I was expecting it to be quite dense, and hoping my darn oven cooked it all the way through. . .

The bread was indeed dense, but not uncomfortably so.  Joy of joys – adding a bit more cooking time did the trick and it was fully baked.  I think I’d recommend a little less sugar and a bit more chive.  The guys liked it, I thought it was just okay.  The people on the comments over at The Kitchn freaking raved about it, so perhaps I’m an aberration.   I think if I do something similar, I’ll use a different type of beer – someone had suggested a honey brown ale, and I think that could be great.

Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread

makes one 8 1/2-inch loaf

2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle Irish stout beer
1 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup Irish butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, or coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Get rid of that whisk, pour in the beer and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in 3/4 cup of the cheese and the chives.  I mean, you * could * keep the whisk, but then you get gloppy beer dough all stuck inside the whisk, and what a pain.  A spatula is much easier.

Transfer the batter to prepared pan. Pour the melted butter evenly over top of the dough. Bake about 30 minutes then scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the top. Return the loaf to the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  I found the butter really pooled at the bottom underneath the bread, creating a dense, buttery base.  Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but you probably don’t need to smear more butter on this.  Though you probably will.

Turn out and serve warm, sliced.  With butter, maybe.


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