Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baking Day

Above: Two designs for birthday cards, just finished and printed (not baked).

Above: Fresh out of the oven, this bread is the easiest bread you can ever bake. The recipe is from Farmgirl Fare blog and she offers many variations, which I've been trying out over the past year or so. I haven't tried one yet that I didn't like. I typically bake a loaf of bread per week and I now substitute honey for the sugar. Thank you, Farmgirl, Susan! See her recipe copied below:

Farmgirl Susan's Beyond Easy Dill & Cheddar Beer Bread Recipe
Makes One Loaf
The optional egg glaze gives the top a beautiful, dark golden color.
As always, Susan encourages you to use locally produced and/or organic ingredients whenever possible.
Basic Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces beer

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten
Heat oven to 375 degrees.

-Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, dill, and cheddar in a large mixing bowl.
-Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick.
-Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan, brush with egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (In our SLC high-altitude, I bake the loaf for 50 minutes.)
-Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
-Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

-Flavor Variations:
Garlic & Herb: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes) to the basic mix. For fresh herbs, use 1 chopped Tablespoon of each.

Dill & Chive: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives to the basic mix.

Rosemary & Feta (courtesy of my bread baking pal, Beth): Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces) to the basic mix.

Italian: Add 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano (or 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano), 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to the basic mix.

Other Additions: Any dried or fresh herbs; 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago (or other hard cheese); 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped scallions; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup oats in place of 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or practically anything else you can think of--just use your imagination.

More Farmgirl Fare posts for bread lovers:

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