Monday, April 12, 2010

Dinner and a Bonus

Saturday, Jennifer took hamburger and Italian sausage out of the freezer, and asked if I would make spaghetti sauce. I told her with my schedule I wouldn't have time until Monday, so that's what i did this evening.

She was feeling a bit sick today and was napping, so before I started cooking, I put on my Beethoven playlist that runs through the 9 symphonies. I got the sauce going, and needed time for the mushrooms to cook down, so to kill time, I decided to make another loaf of beer bread.

I made beer bread (using Newcastle Brown Ale) Saturday morning for the guys at the game, and as I was putting the loaf in the oven on Saturday, Jennifer said, "You going to make one for me too, right?" with just a slight pout to her voice. So, I made her a loaf with Bass Ale. She took it with her to watch the UFC fights, and it was a big hit. I told her it couldn't have gone over better than my loaf did. We demolished our loaf in about 30 minutes.

I had been saying how much I wanted to do an Anchor Steam beer bread, so when I bought mushrooms today, I also got a 6-pack of Anchor, with the added bonus of it being on sale.

With a few Facebook breaks, I got the bread out, and got the noodles ready. It turns out that it took the first 4 of Beethoven's symphonies for the sauce to be done and the noodles get ready, because I was serving it up just as the Fifth Symphony came on.

***

And now as promised to the guys in the GURPS group, here is the recipe I've been using for the beer bread. It's actually coming out even better than the Trader Joe's mix.

Beer Bread

3 cups - Flour (sifted)
1/4 cup - Sugar
3 teaspoons (tsps.) - Baking Powder
1 tsp. - Salt
12 oz. - Beer
1/4 cup - Butter (melted)
9-inch loaf pan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Mix the dry ingredients together. (I like to have the sifter in the mixing bowl, and out all of the ingredients in the sifter, and then sift them together into the bowl. the sifting is important as it makes the bread lighter and fluffier.)

Melt the 1/4 cup (half a stick) of butter and set it aside. (I put the butter in a small bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds.)

Grease the loaf pan. (I use a vegetable oil spray.)

If you have a fixed mixer (like a Kitchenaid) begin stirring use the lowest setting. if you are using a hand mixer, also use the lowest setting. Slowly pour the beer in while mixing. (Pouring the beer in slowly, and mixing slowly, prevents the loss of the carbonation which is what is going to help the bread rise. Lose those bubbles, and the bread will be dense.)

Once the batter is mixed to where it is uniform, the lumps are smaller than a pencil eraser, and it sticks to the side of the bowl, it is ready. Pour/scrape the batter into the loaf pan, and spread it to an even thickness. Pour the butter over the top and put in the oven on the middle rack.

Cook it from between 45 minutes to an hour. (Mine works best at about 50 minutes. Check it at 45 with a toothpick. If the toothpick doesn't come out clean, then check it again in 5 minutes.)

Take it our and let cool for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with various toppings. (We've made honey butters and Gorgonzola butter, and then there's just butter.) Also a good accompaniment during preparation is a bottle of the beer you're putting in the bread.

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