Stress baking. That's what I call it.
When the pressures of life are weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, baking is often how I find my center.
And to say these are stressful times is more than an understatement.
Fortunately, I always keep plenty of baking supplies — flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, shortening, eggs, cocoa — on hand. There's so much culinary magic to be made using those simple ingredients.
I also happen to have a rather well-stocked beer fridge.
Every time my husband or I spot a new variety we might like at the store, we pick up a pack, and we tend to buy much more beer than we actually drink.
So, when I was packing up items from my desk in preparation for my first week of working exclusively from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette test kitchen, a copy of Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Bread, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and More by Lori Rice naturally went into my bag.
Beer not only adds flavor to baked goods, but it boosts the leavening. It's also an excellent substitute for milk in baked goods, meaning you don't have to dip into your supply.
Another bonus, when a recipe uses only half a can or bottle, a waste-nothing cook might opt to take the edge off.
I selected all of the following recipes because I knew I had all of the ingredients on hand.
Don't let the specific beer styles called for in these recipes dissuade you from making them, any beer style can be substituted for the ones listed here.
Other helpful substitutes:
• No baking powder?
For each teaspoon of baking powder use ¼ teaspoon baking soda plus ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.
• No baking powder and no cream of tartar?
Use 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in place of every ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Adjust the liquid in the recipe accordingly.
• Recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but you have only bread flour?
Bread flour will absorb more liquid than all-purpose and create a slightly chewier crumb. If necessary, add a teaspoon or so more liquid.
• Out of eggs?
Combine 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg and let stand 1 to 2 minutes before using.
For each egg, combine 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons baking powder. This works for replacing up to 3 eggs.
For each egg, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
Sausage and Onion Doppelbock Biscuits
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 yellow onion, diced
¼ pound loose breakfast sausage
12 ounces doppelbock beer, divided use
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup butter, well chilled and cut into cubes
Milk, for brushing
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small skillet heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute, stirring frequently, until onion is tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onion to a bowl; set aside. In the same skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it into crumbles, until browned. Return the onion to the skillet and add 2 ounces of the beer. Bring beer to a boil and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until most of the beer has evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cubed butter and using your fingers or a pastry blender, mix until butter is evenly distributed in pea-size pieces throughout. Pour in the remaining beer and stir to combine, and then add the onion and sausage. Mix well. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and pat mixture, dusting top with flour as necessary, into a ¾- to 1-inch thick rectangle. Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass, cut dough into 2 ¾- to 3-inch circles. Gently press together any scraps and cut them too.
Arrange biscuits in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 22 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Serving suggestion: Split biscuits and fill them with blackberry jam and cheddar cheese.
Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.
Oatmeal Stout Quick Bread
1 cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
½ cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 ounces stout beer, oatmeal stout recommended
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line an 8-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flours, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in 1 cup of the flour mixture, followed by 2 ounces of the beer. Repeat, alternating flour mixture and beer until all has been added. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle top with oats. Bake 35 to 50 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Makes 1 loaf.
This recipe took a bit of improvising because I don't have a doughnut pan. I thought I did, but after wasting a whole bunch of time looking through all my cupboards and boxes of cooking gear I came to the conclusion I either dreamed I had one or I got rid of it if I ever did.
So I used a shortcake pan and cut holes in the centers of the little cakes after baking. They were delicious. And no one cared that they didn't look exactly like doughnuts.
Mexican Chocolate Stout Doughnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chile powder (hot or mild is up to you), plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, melted
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
6 ounces coffee or chocolate stout beer
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-well doughnut pan or 12-well shortcake or muffin pan.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder. Whisk in about a third of the flour mixture, and then 2 ounces of the beer. Repeat, alternating flour and beer, until all have been added and batter is smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a shallow bowl, combine about 1 cup confectioners' sugar with cinnamon and chile powder to taste. Toss cooled doughnuts in confectioners' sugar to coat.
Makes 9 to 12 small doughnuts.
This recipe produces a pizza crust that is crisp on the bottom, but soft in the center. It's yeasty and malty in the best way and is ready to use in about an hour and a half.
Wheat Beer Pizza Crust
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, bread flour OR Italian-style flour, divided use, plus more for dusting
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pizza dough flavor, optional
6 ounces wheat beer or marzen/Oktoberfest-style beer, heated to about 100 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil
Semolina or cornmeal, for dusting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt and pizza dough flavor (if using) and mix well. With the mixer running on low, slowly drizzle in the beer, followed by the olive oil, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix on low speed for 5 to 10 minutes, gradually adding the remaining ½ cup flour, until mixture forms a smooth, supple dough. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Knead by hand for about 2 minutes, dusting with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Dust a baking stone or pizza pan with semolina or cornmeal. Press or roll dough into a 14-inch circle. Top as desired and bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Makes enough for 1 (14-inch) pizza.
Food on 03/25/2020
Print Headline: Boozy bread