For some time now I have been planning to make the shortbread recipe I picked up in Bridlington lately. Typically, I stumbled across a recipe via a Twitter link that changed my mind.
I definitely have a savoury rather than a sweet tooth and so theslowroasteditalian’s bacon cheddar beer bread ticked a lot of boxes for me just for the title. It was doubly interesting that the method is an all in, mix-and-bake formula.
It starts with four rashers of bacon cooked and chopped. As it turns out the mixture is quite stiff and so there is no danger of pieces falling through the batter to the bottom. I cooked the bacon well and chopped finely. I bought some grated cheddar cheese but thought that the colour would be fairly bland so I decided to add some sun-dried tomato pieces to go with it. I drained and finely chopped seven pieces.
In a large bowl I mixed the 360g of flour with baking powder, salt and three tablespoons of sugar – you can tell this is an American recipe. I then added the cheddar cheese but also some leftover grated parmesan, bacon, tomatoes and gave it a stir before adding the 12 fl oz of beer. The recipe is very specific that you want a stronger flavoured beer for this so I bought some hoppy Kentish Ale which should fit the bill.
This produces a sticky but very firm mixture. One of the benefits of using pregrated cheese it that it does somehow seem drier. I spooned it into the baking tin, added cheese on top and then spooned some melted butter over the top.
The initial bake is for 30 minutes at 180 degrees and you can quickly see that this is a pretty looking loaf. The grated cheese doesn’t melt to a coating but retains a rustic look. After 30 minutes it gets another drizzle of butter before going in for a further 20-25 minutes. When I got it out at 20 minutes it felt a little soft so I put it back in for a further 10 minutes at 150 degrees. I have a very pretty loaf but the cutting is the key. It smells a little biscuity too which is probably the beer, butter and sugar at work.
After cooling it on a rack for an hour the moment of truth and … it’s sensational. The flavour is fantastic. The cheese is the dominant flavour but there is an underlying sweetness to complement the saltiness of bacon and cheese. You are not going to die wondering what flavours are involved. This is the best savoury bread I have tasted never mind made. Just try it!