Thursday, January 3, 2013

Baking during the Holidays

I know it has been a while since my last post but that's the holidays for you. I basically spent the last 10 days eating and drinking almost constantly. Have a lot of different beers to write about at this point as a result. However, it's going to take a couple days to get back into things since I'm a lazy bum so I'm starting with an easy one. Writing about stuff I baked with beer!

I made two things over the holiday, one really easy one and one slightly more complicated. The first thing was just a plain old beer bread. This is as simple as it sounds, just a normal bread made with an entire bottle of beer instead of all water. I have a bunch of Brooklyn Brown Ale in the house so I decided to just use that but you can really use almost anything that has a maltier base. I don't know what something bitter would do to the bread so you may want to avoid IPAs and such but maybe someone with more knowledge would say they're okay too.
The recipe is super easy too at least the beginning part.
  • 3 cups liquid. (A 12oz bottle of beer is about 1.75 cups so just make the rest water)
  • 6.5 cups flour (30 oz or so)
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
Mix up the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl. Add the liquid and mix until all the flour is wet. Let it sit out for at least two hours basically until the dough fills the bowl depending on your bowl size. Be aware it can sometimes rise a crazy amount so keep an eye on it before it overflows the bowl and use a relatively large one. After that, put it into the refrigerator for at least one night.

This makes two large loaves of bread, so when you want bread, just throw some flour on the top, pull up about half the dough, and cut it off with a serrated knife. Form into a ball, place on parchment, and wait two hours for it to rise a bit. At an hour, forty minutes, turn the oven on to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and use it. I always use one so not sure how a cookie tray will work but it'll probably be fine. Twenty minutes later, dust the top of the dough and cut two slashes in it however you want. Turn the oven down to 450 and bake for about 30 minutes. And, then you have bread. This last part can be complicated but it's all about technique. The real easy way is to just buy this book and read it since it's where I got the recipe.

The other beer recipe I made is from Beer for Dessert and was a Cranberry Upside Down Cake made with Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin. I didn't get pictures from the pre-baked portion but here's the finished product.
Then you flip it over and get this.
Looks delicious right? It totally was. I added chocolate chips to the recipe but possibly a few too many. I liked the addition of chocolate but it was a bit too strong with how many I added. If you decide to add some, just add a few, like less than a cup. Probably be tasty.

And that's the beer baking I did over the holidays. This post ended up taking a lot more effort than I expected but oh well. I'm back from my break, though, so look for some more beers from the holidays along with some recapping of trips to a couple breweries near Asheville, North Carolina in the next few weeks as I catch up.

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