Quiches, focaccia (or good bread of any kind for that matter), cheese croissants, you name it and chances are it makes me weak in the knees. You may be asking yourself why I haven't posted many such recipes here at TBD and the answer is simple, I lack the self-control. I hate to admit it, but I am scared to have these around my house because in their presence I am no longer myself. It's like love, put me next to one of these treats and everything I ever thought I knew about myself goes straight out the window. Elegant, petite bites become chomps; finger sucking takes the place of napkins; and a 'portion' means the whole thing, no matter how big it is. So, as much as these are my favorites I only allow myself to make them on rare occasions. I think a 60th post is an occasion to be celebrated and in that spirit I made cheesy beer bread.
Trying to describe a savory quickbread to someone who doesn't cook is a challenge, but based on my experiences it sounds a little bit like this; "Imagine a banana bread, but then take out the banana, the sugar and everything else, then replace that with lots of cheese and herbs. Oh yeah, and it's salty." Although that is by no means an eloquent description, it’s pretty bang-on. This bread is leavened with beer, which also gives it that delicious yeasty undertone that quickbreads often lack. Cheese mazes throughout the bread and also gives it a crispy top. And finally, the rosemary and thyme give it a sophisticated herby flavor that you just wouldn't expect from something called 'beer bread.' Now that the pictures are done, the bread is in the kitchen staring at me, calling me name. Only time will tell what happens next, but I have a feeling it's going to taste very good.
Cheesy Beer Bread
2 1/4 c. AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. shredded cheese
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. drief rosemary
1, 12 oz. bottle of beer (any kind will do, but the more flavorful it is the better)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. water (if needed)
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard sized loaf pan.
2) Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the 3/4 c. cheese and herbs.
3) Add the beer and mix until just combined. Mix in the olive oil, at this point there should be no more dry flour left in the bowl, if there is add the water and mix gently.
4) Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
5) Bake for 50-55 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.