Moist cheesy beer bread baked with cooked quinoa and millet for extra nutrition.
This week’s theme for Food Network’s FN Dish blog is cheese. I would be helpless in the kitchen without cheese, so it was challenging to decide what to make. Cheese has brokered many vegetarian – carnivore tussles in our kitchen. When I want to make farro more appealing to the Carnivorous Maximus’ palate, I add cheese. Likewise, Parmesan cheese has found its way onto my kale chips.
Disclaimer: Before we go any further, I want to remind everyone I’m a wimpy vegetarian. Most hard cheeses use animal rennet in the cheesemaking process. If you’re a new vegetarian, I urge you to read the packages. Whole Foods is one store (I’m sure there are others) that has done a great job in locating a wide range of cheeses that use vegetable rennet.
After considering lots of dishes, I ultimately made something I’ve never made before. Carnivorous Maximus is in the hospital making a record-breaking recovery (he tackled stairs today with crutches and had hip surgery yesterday), and I wanted to make something for the nurses. It’s Nurses Week all week. So I made this cheesy beer bread, modeling it off a recipe I dog-eared last summer but never got around to making in The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi.
First of all, there are a couple things you need to know about this bread if you make it:
- The balance of liquid to dry ingredients is weighted towards wet, resulting in a dense, moist bread that’s reminiscent of pound cake.
- The flavor is a little bitter from the beer. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, I recommend using Pale Ale instead of the darker beer I used.
- I used two different cheddar cheeses for the same reason I use two different kinds of apples in apple pies: it introduced more flavor depth. Honestly, Monterey Jack would be great in this bread too. Especially Pepper Jack.
- I stirred in a little minced jalapeño pepper for a hint of a kick. Nix it if you don’t want that kick.
- I added some honey to bring in a little sweetness to balance out the bitterness, and added more salt for the same reason.
- The original recipe calls for 1 cup olive oil, but I switched it to ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup unsalted butter. Olive oil can bring in additional bitterness, depending on the type of olive oil.
- I added cooked quinoa and millet to the batter because I had in on hand from this salad, and love to add cooked grains to quick breads for more flavor and nutrients. You can eliminate this addition if you wish, and not make any other changes, but I urge you to consider adding them. It’s a great way to punch up the nutrition of any bread you make.
Cheesy Beer Bread with Quinoa, Millet and Jalapeño Peppers
- 13 ½ ounces all-purpose flour 3 cups
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup beer I used Negro Modelo, but see Cook's Note's
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I used Dubliner and Grafton, see Cook's Notes
- ½ cup cooked grains I used a combination of millet and quinoa
- 2 - 4 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper depending how much kick you want
- Set the baking rack in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 9X5X3 loaf pan with parchment, and spray the sides with cooking oil. This is a very moist bread, so do not skip this preparation step.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
- Combine the buttermilk, beer, olive oil, melted butter, and honey in a large measuring cup or medium bowl. Gradually stir it into the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the shredded cheese, cooked grains, and jalapeño pepper, if using.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown, and the edges are lifting away from the pan just a bit. Allow the bread to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan. To remove, run a knife all around the edges to make sure the entire loaf has released from the sides. Set a plate for the bread nearby. Place one hand on the top of the loaf, and the grip the end of the pan with the other hand. Flip over the loaf pan, allowing the bread to rest on your hand upside down. Quickly place the plate on top of the bread and flip it back over so that it sits on the plate. Whew!
- Slice and slather with butter.