The Chives Have It

I am not a beer drinker. In fact, from the very first time I tried beer (at the tender and illegal age of four), I’ve found it to be rather gross. The smell, the taste, the after-taste all make my taste buds want to run for the hills; or at least that part of my tongue that doesn’t detect bitterness. If all my buds could gather at the side where salty, sweet, or even sour thrives, my beer-drinking experiences would be a lot more tolerable.

I really would rather be one of the cool kids who likes, even loves beer. My life would be so much more… chill. Oh well.

One thing that I do like beef for: baking. What did I bake, you ask?

Bread. Delicious Cheddar Chive Beer Bread.

When I was in Korea, I made Jason and myself a yum bread I found… somewhere. Unfortunately, I have NO idea where I got the recipe. I have it written on a scrap of paper that I managed to save. When I made it in Korea, I made plain ol’ white bread, and I used a light beer (more palatable).

Now that Jason’s taken up blogging, there is a steady supply of beer of all colors in our pantry and fridge.

IMG_3585Another thing I did while living is Seoul was scour the YouTube cooking channels. We discovered this lovely Kentucky-based woman sometime in 2010. She recently did a beer bread which incorporated one of my favorite foods–cheese. Her recipe also calls for a good amount of chives.

I made this recipe for the first time with a bottle of Jason’s Shiner Blonde, as well as extra sharp cheddar.

My Recipe:

Preheat to 375*F / 190*C.

3.5 c all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 cups finely grated cheese, 2-3 tbsp chopped chives, 12 oz beer of your preference, 1 egg (beaten).

Add all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-combined. I added a small amount of the flour to the cheese before mixing it in to coat it. This helps distribute the cheese more evenly. Then pour in the beer. Mix until doughy. Pour dough onto floured surface to knead first (if your dough turns out dryer) or directly onto a baking sheet to free-form, or into a bread pan (if your dough is wetter).*

*I’ve played around with this: Cold beer is better than warm beer. 3 cups of flour is better than 3.5 (I actually think the 1/2 cup was for sprinkling and kneading, but I never transferred the directions… my bad!)

Betty’s bread dough was wetter than mine, and she uses a bread pan. I have used both a pan and free-formed the dough. Both are yum.

The egg is for glazing; brush it on prior to baking. Betty uses melted butter on hers; about ten minutes before finishing. AWESOME.

Adding the cheese and chives took the bread to such an amazingly savory place. Jason, my folks, and I polished off this loaf in a single night. It was THAT good.

Bread and Jam

In my last care package from home, I received about a dozen packets of active dry yeast. Until yesterday, I had been hesitant to attempt making a bread recipe requiring yeast, but we can all rest easily now… mission accomplished.

I do enjoy baking. As you know, I have made several things – cookies, breads, ect. A while back, I came across this recipe which called for sour cream. We have sour cream here… granted, it’s a little more tart than American sour cream (I think the Costco imports this brand from somewhere like Sweden or Germany or something), but in a fix, it does the job. Yes, a dollop on those carne adovada burritos works just fine, actually.

So, last night, after spending the later part of the morning and early afternoon girly shopping with a friend from work (thank you Grace, for translating!!), and recouping my poor feet, I set Jason and I to work.

Using one of the cool baking thermometers his folks sent me, I made sure the water for the yeast was just right. Poured in the yeast and fed it some sugar. Jason got to mix the sour cream and dry ingredients while we waiting the requisite 10 minutes for the yeast to grow (they grow, right?).

Then I poured the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and boy, that was fun. I had to knead the dough for TEN minutes… it was slimy and gross and we ended up adding, I would wager, about two more cups of flour before it was the right consistency.

Let rise for 1 hour.

Punch down dough and knead for an additional five minutes. Form into the shape of a loaf and place in bread pan for 45 more minute to rise even more. Ok, we did that. This is what we got:

The finished product
Nom Nom
Too hot, but too good to resist
Cooked Inside
Enjoying fresh bread

Jason opted for a slice with butter, while I spread on the jam I made using this recipe. Sooo good!