Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chocolate Stout and Tart Cherry Beer Bread


I just took this loaf out of the oven, and it's so good than I ran to my computer to type up the recipe. Now, beer bread does not have quite the same crusty texture and tender crumb as a yeast bread, but it's quick, easy, and you can make it in an hour. In other words, it's about as close to instant gratification as homemade bread gets.

One thing I have learned is that baking with beer is a lot like cooking with wine, you should use beer that you'd actually drink. If you do not like how it tastes out of the bottle, you probably will not like it either baked, so it's in your interest to spend a little extra for something tasty. I used Young's Double Chocolate Stout because it is absolutely delicious. Young's is made with actual chocolate and is incredibly smooth. The trick here is to use a beer that has a rich, malty flavor but is not strongly bitter. This is a dessert bread and a very bitter beer is going to make your bread taste Foul. (I once made a completely inedible loaf out of some Bell's Porter. It was a grayish and tasted like burnt coffee-so, so wrong.)

I seem to be on a bit of a cherry kick here, but you could easily substitute a different type of dried or fresh fruit. For Christmas, I recieved a giant jar of homemade sour cherry cordial from Lee's mom, and this seemed like a great way to use up the left tipsy cherries floating in the jar. Fresh or canned sour cherries in water would also work just as well.
Tart and Chocolate Cherry Stout Beer Bread

* 3 cups all purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
* 1 / 2 cup sugar
* 1 cup whole sour cherries, pitted
* 12 oz Young's Double Chocolate Stout

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 "x5" loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in beer and cherries. Gently fold the flour into the beer, stopping when the dough has just absorbed all the flour. Be careful not to over mix or stir vigorously, as this will destroy the bubbles and make the bread dense.

3. Pour dough into loaf pan and smooth the top with a spoon or rubber spatula. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

mes out clean.

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