Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sage and Cheddar Beer Bread

I don't think yesterday could have been any more perfect. The brilliant blue sky made it easy to be in a good mood. The weather was cool enough to leave the deck door wide open while we cooked outside. I had some college football game on the television but the sound turned down and the stereo playing our favorite old compact disks. We were just enjoying each others company on a gorgeous day.

To top it all off at the end of the day the smell of fresh baked bread was in the air. Alexis had her first cook on her Big Green Egg and made Girlichef's Sage & Cheddar Beer Bread.

Sage & Cheddar Beer Bread
Girlichef adapted from Farmgirl Fare

2 1/2 c. unbleached ap flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbs.sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 1/2 Tbs. fresh Sage, chopped
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
12 oz. beer, at room temp.
1 egg
2 Tbs. water

Heat oven to 375° F. Combine flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, sage, and cheddar in large bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread in a greased loaf pan. Beat the egg and water together and brush gently over top of loaf. Bake until golden, ~45 mins.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan and cool it directly on rack until ready to serve... either warm or at room temp.

Alexis had her Egg set up as a coal fired convection oven - plate setter in with the legs down. The "plate setter" is a thick ceramic insert for the Big Green Egg used for indirect cooking. They also fit in the Big Steel Keg (f.k.a. Bubba Keg). Can you tell which one is mine and which one is hers?
She had a pizza stone already in there from the cookies she baked earlier....

so she just put her stoneware loaf pan on top of that.

The temps were a little low at first (350f) but she got them back to 375f by opening the bottom vent a little. Because of that dip, it ended up taking right at 1 hour to bake.

While she was baking that, I used my Egg to make my European Street Style Beer Cheese Soup in a Lodge #12 cast iron dutch oven. I followed that recipe as previously written but did one thing differently. I cooked three slices of bacon in the dutch oven first, removed them and used that oil for sauteing the mirepoix.

This was the perfect meal to end the perfect day.

The beer cheese soup was velvety (yet no Velveeta, tyvm) and rich with just a slight kick from the Fire Ant Juice. The beer bread was a joy to bite into. My choice of beverage for dinner? Why beer of course!