I have spent the past four years really developing my cooking skills. It has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. I now rarely eat out, have lost a decent amount of weight, and really learned to love food all over again. Braising, broiling, pan frying, sautéing; these tricks all have been added to my cooking tool belt. Except for one thing…
I can’t bake…
No seriously, I am terrible at it. I make dry and hard cookies. I make banana bread with a mushy interior and burnt black exterior. I actually almost choked to death on some dry flavorless oatmeal cookies. It is the one skill I haven’t been able to grasp. I think is time that I change that.
An important part of baking is yeast. Yeast is an amazing organism that does magic, or at least that is my understanding of yeast when I started my baking journey. I may not have a great understanding of yeast, but there are many people that do understand it far better than me. Beer brewers. They are masters of yeast. I have even heard of some brewers that use yeast found in someone’s beard!
I am an avid lover of beer so it seemed natural for me to start my baking journey by making beer bread. Who needs to add water and dry yeast when I could add my beer of choice. Killing two birds with one stone. It seemed simple enough. Or so I thought…
My mind set was this:
To make good beer bread simply use your favorite beer!
This was not best approach to making beer bread. Mainly because my favorite beers are India Pale Ales. One of my first attempts at making beer bread was with Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA, a staple beer in my life. However, IPAs are very hoppy and bitter, leaving me with a bitter block of dough (I hope to soon experiment with IPAs and sourdough bread).
Enter Red Trolley Ale
My first experience with the San Diego beer scene was in Carlsbad, where I went to Karl Strauss. There, I tried a delicious Irish red ale called Red Trolley. It was smooth delicious and light in flavor. I loved it. I will forever remember this beer as the one that will cause my inevitable beer belly and heart attack.
Months after my failed IPA beer bread, I decided for a second try. Remembering the awesome experience with Red Trolley, I knew that I must use this beer. Adding, flour, sugar, and Red Trolley and baking at 350 degrees fahrenheit, I created something quite delicious. Light in flavor, but sweet and moist, I was ecstatic that I baked something that was actually edible.
Baking Brew is Created
Annoyingly gloating to everyone I knew about my awesome bread creation, I knew this was something I had to try again and again. I must experiment and perfect beer bread. So I slowly experimented with various beers and flavors. Ales and stouts combined with cheeses, chocolates and vanilla were some of the flavors I have played with.
I plan on continuing these experiments and writing about my failures and successes. I hope to develop a community of bakers that can share their wisdom and their skills!