Friday, 28 September 2012

Ale Bread and a Poorly Girl

Every Friday, the littlest and I open up our village hall to local mums for a few hours for some tea and a play.  After finding a few spots on her hands, feet, and mouth (see where I'm going with this?), I soon realised that our Friday morning routine was about to be smashed.  Instead we would spend a lot of cuddle time on the sofa, which is never really a bad thing.  It's just a shame one of us needs to be feeling like a bag of nails for that to happen.  So we cuddled. A lot.

Then she fell asleep and I snuck off to the kitchen and made something yummy that I thought I'd share with you.

A few years ago I found this recipe for beer bread somewhere. I'm sure it was a food blog but I cannot remember which one. I had copied the recipe down in my notebook and have made this time and time again.  If you are afraid of working with yeast, short of time, or just plain lazy, this recipe is for you.  It takes just a few minutes to mix up and about 45 minutes to bake. It's perfect for when you have dinner company at short notice and you still want to impress or if you want to whip up some fresh bread for lunch. Any baking ability can handle this. So even if you are a novice baker or never baked anything in your life before, please give this one a go.

Ale Bread (or Beer Bread)
Makes one loaf

You can make this with beer or ale. Today I used ale because that is all I had. I think I prefer a lighter beer compared to ale, but I think my husband prefers the deeper flavour of the ale. You can add cheese, chives, garlic, or whatever you fancy. It's a pretty versatile recipe.  It has some sugar added, but I only find this faintly sweet, but you might want to use less if you want a less sweeter bread.  Again, this recipe is written with cup measurements.  I was going to weigh everything out for this post, but got carried away and only remembered after it was too late. I'll come back later and add them another time.

3 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
350 ml ale or beer
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 170 C (375 F) in a fan oven and grease a loaf tin (no need to line with parchment)

In a medium sized bowl mix the flour, sugar, and salt.

Pour in ale or beer and stir until combined into a sticky, wet dough.  Pour into tin.


Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes.

Now drink the leftover ale while you wait. It would be wasteful not to!

Take out of the oven and brush melted butter on top and pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Let cool or 5 minutes before turning out and letting cool on a wire rack.

We are having this tonight with a chicken thigh, chorizo, and butternut squash casserole. I cannot wait to soak up all the yummy red chorizo juice with this bread!  Please let me know if you make it and how you get on.
By the way, it makes excellent toast. I highly recommend a good slathering of butter and marmite if you are so inclined.

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