This month for What’s Baking, the theme quick breads was chosen by Jenna at Jenna’s Cooking Journey. Sometimes, I have a little trouble with yeast or I don’t have time to wait for my dough to rise. So, the beauty of quick breads is that they don’t use yeast, there is no rising time and you have homemade bread in under an hour. Fabulous! I don’t do a lot of savory baking, since we prefer sweets in my house. But when I was looking for a quick bread recipe, the beer-batter cheese bread caught my eye. My husband isn’t a big sweets guy, but he sure loves cheese and beer. So when I saw this bread, I immediately thought of him and how much he would love it.
To make the batter, you mix together the dry ingredients and with a light hand, mix in the wet ingredients. That’s it. I am telling you, this batter will be ready before the oven is even preheated. How great is that? Before baking, the bread is brushed with butter, which I was a bit nervous about thinking it might get too dark, even burn. But, as usual, America’s Test Kitchen knows what they are doing and the butter gave the crust it’s beautiful golden color. After impatiently waiting the recommended hour for it to cool (okay I only waited a half hour), I cut a slice, put it in the toaster oven and slathered it with butter. I was surprised how much this tasted like a yeast bread because of the beer. I love the flecks of gruyere cheese you can see in the crust and on the inside the cheese completely melts into the bread, giving it a wonderful tang. Beer. Cheese. Bread. In under an hour. I mean really, need I say more?
Beer-Batter Cheese Bread
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder preferably aluminum-free
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/4 cups beer preferably mild-tasting ales, lagers, and pilsners (dark beers will be too bitter). I used Coors Light.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon of melted butter to brush on top.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 375F. Grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. WS goldtouch pans come in this size and they are fabulous.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the beer and 4 tablespoons melted butter until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or your bread will be tough and dense.
Scrape the really thick batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top. Brush lightly with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, ~40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack. Cool for 1 hour before serving.
Yield: one 81/2 x 4 1/2 in loaf