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Fully Loaded Beer Bread

Bad things happen when I go shopping without a list.

For the most part I am a responsible adult who makes well informed decisions base on facts and logic. I say for the most part because there are certainly areas where I struggle. Grocery shopping, for example, is an area where I can improve. This is what happens:

It is 3:30pm and I am sitting at my desk at work flipping though my mental recipe cards, trying to come up with a plan for dinner. Despite my best intentions, I have not planned my meals for the week because I spent the weekend testing recipes for the blog to the exclusion of all else. I finally decide on something, but since I am at work I can’t do a quick check of the kitchen to see if I have everything I need. To be safe I end up buying the things I am not sure about only to find that I have a healthy stash of them in my pantry already.

This is my sad cycle. I do eventually use up the surplus, but I always feel like a failure. Yes, I have tried to create a structured meal plan, but they make me feel sort of claustrophobic. Trapped. I know I should eat the meals I planned, but in a fit of childishness I rebel against my plans and make something different. It is sick. I was in a ‘clearing out the fridge” mode the other evening when I found I had THREE open packages of bacon, each with one or two strips in them. Who does that? I also had a 12 pack of beer sitting on the floor that did not fit in my beer drawer (not so bad except I kept stubbing my toe on it). I gathered up the bacon, as well as some bits of cheese and half a red bell pepper that were languishing in my refrigerator, cracked open a beer, and set to work.

Really, you could use any veggies and cheese you like here just so long as they compliment the beer and bacon that make this bread so very, very good. Speaking of bacon, I realized that I could, and really should, use the drippings rather than melted butter, but feel free to use butter if you prefer. The bacon drippings just felt like the right thing to use. The bread is incredibly tender yet hearty. The cheese, pepper, onion, and bacon make this very savory, so I added a liberal amount of honey to balance the flavors. It also helps this bread stay moist for a day or two after baking. This is wonderful warm, or toasted with a little butter. I think this would also make a wonderful base for a stuffing, and trust me when the holidays come around I will be trying that out!

Fully Loaded Beer Bread    Yield 1 9-inch loaf

4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
1/4 medium onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 medium red bell pepper, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup beer (I used a bock beer here)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup bacon drippings, or melted butter
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda, divided

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium skillet over medium heat add the chopped bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered. Transfer the crisp bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain the fat from the pan leaving 1 teaspoon in the pan. Reserve 1/4 cup of the drained drippings.

Return the pan to the heat and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the onion and pepper are just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl combine the beer, buttermilk, bacon drippings, and honey and whisk until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix until just combined, about 10 strokes.

Add the bacon, the onion mixture, and 1/2 cup each of the cheddar and smoked Gouda and fold to mix, about 5 strokes. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, making sure to spread the mixture until it is even.

Bake for 30 minutes, then top the bread with the reserved cheese and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and the bread starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature with or without butter.

© 2012, Evil Shenanigans – Baking & Cooking Blog. All rights reserved.

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16 Responses to “Fully Loaded Beer Bread”

  1. oh my word, what i wouldn’t do to eat an entire loaf of this right now!

  2. I love beer bread but have to make a special effort because I don’t love beer so much. Don’t hit me. And I’ve added bacon to my beer bread (you can presume I’ve added bacon to almost anything imaginable) but not much else. That must change! This would be my dinner if it were in MY kitchen!

  3. Anna says:

    Man, that looks awesome! And I know what you mean about the shopping lists. I actually went to the grocery store yesterday, with a list for a change, and I still managed to pick a few things I definitely didn’t need. How much chocolate milk can a household of one go through anyways? I don’t know, but I’m going to take up that challenge….right after I make this bread :D

  4. Lenore says:

    Ugh, I so do the same thing with groceries, especially baking ingredients. I found four opened bags of sugar in the back of the pantry at one point. Oops.

  5. Julia says:

    Is this the quick bread you mentioned on twitter? This is a freaking awesome idea!! I love all the crusted cheese on top.

  6. beti says:

    I could easily eat that entire loaf

  7. This bread has my name all over it! Beer, cheese, bacon!? Yes, please!

  8. I may not eat bacon but I can appreciate something that looks this good! Maybe I can make a loaf for my guy, and a non-bacon loaf (extra cheddar) for me.

    I just went to Trader Joe’s this morning for two things. Without a list. I came away with, I don’t know, about 47. You’re not alone!

    (I love that you have a beer drawer).

  9. I’m all prepared to make this in the morning! Do you recommend light or dark bock beer? I bought both. I’ll let you know how it turns out. :)

  10. I went with light bock beer! I left out the onion and pepper, just because I don’t like them, and it’s great. I used half whole spelt and it doesn’t taste “whole grainy” at all. I wasn’t sure how much 4 thick strips of bacon is, and I was lazy and didn’t google it, and it turns out that one 100 gram package, about 10 thin slices, is nowhere near enough. I only had less than a tablespoon of bacon drippings, so I added some butter to the pan and used that. Next time I’ll double the amount of bacon. :) Thanks for the recipe! It’s fantastic.

  11. holy cow that looks so delicious! and what great photography too! thanks for sharing!

  12. I knew that I loved you when I met you at camp Kelly, but now I know that given half a chance my hubby would gladly run away to your house! This sounds so good, and heh, if you’re gonna be bad, be bad to the bone. Bring on the bacon, the bacon fat, the corn and the honey and enjoy!!!

  13. Good thing you didn’t plan or you would have never enjoyed such a delicious bread. Did you try to make grilled cheese with this? How crazy would that be?!?!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Weekend Dish: 5/26/2012 - May 25, 2012

    [...] Fully Loaded Beer Bread (Evil Shenanigans) I love a good beer and cheese, but throw in bacon and other goodies, and I’m all over it. [...]

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