Sunday, May 20, 2012

Six-Grain Beer Bread

   Months ago, I posted our first couple of forays into 'cloning' the perfect beer bread.  After several months and numerous failed attempts (some more interesting/dicey/horrific than others...) we've finally gotten pretty darn close.  It's not perfect, but it's really good and surprisingly close.  Sure, we'll still buy the mix now and again, but this is easy to make and it has the benefit of not having to be mail ordered.  Bread craving at 10 p.m.? No probs, mate. 
    At any rate, I'll post that recipe the next time I make it and can take some pictures, but in the meantime, I'll post a riff we did on this recipe over the weekend that worked out quite nicely indeed.  We were browsing up at the Prairie Home General Store here in town and, along with some pepper/tomato plants and some delicious and local (as in right down the road) grass-fed, free range beef, we picked up some 6-grain flower.  I'm not sure, it may be from Trader Joe's, as the couple that owns the store goes there occasionally, but it may be a house mix as well.  At any rate, the flour is made up of organic wheat, rye, barley, corn, millet, and buckwheat.  Here's the recipe, for four mini loaves or one large loaf.

   -3 cups 6-grain flour
   -1 tsp. baking powder
   -1 tsp. baking soda
   -1 pinch salt
   -1/4 cup dark brown sugar
   -1 beer (we used crummy St. Pauli Girl lager from Germany for its nice, malty taste and low hop levels)
   -butter, melted, for brushing over the tops of the loaves prior to baking (optional)

     Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  The batter will be very, very thick.  Spoon into loaf pans.  For one large loaf, we bake it for around 45-55 minutes, if I recall correctly, and about 35 minutes for the four mini loaves.  Oven temp. at 350. 
     Overall, this came out really nicely.  It's got a really nice, deep multigrain character, and the sweetness is light, and works well overall with the grain profile (though Jessi said she could do with a touch more sugar).  We chose to forgo the butter this time in the interest of trying to be somewhat healthy, and honestly, while it's not quite as good, it's not really missed, either.  Overall, I think we'll be making this one again.  At some point we might substitute honey or molasses for the brown sugar to see what that might do? 

PS, this went very well with some Coombe Castle Saxon Shires cheese (layers of Double Gloucester, Red Leicester, Cheshire, Derby, and Cheddar), which we picked up at HyVee.      

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