Friday, May 10, 2013

Baking with Beer

                              Beer Brownies                               Savory Beer Bread

Chocolate Beer Bread                         Guinness Cake

Cheesy Beer Bread
This week there is a beer festival going on in my area, The South Shore, Cape & Islands Beer Week. It got me thinking about a wonderful recipe I have for Guinness Cake. I know people use beer in baking quite often, so I decided to tinker in the kitchen a bit and see what else I could come up with. The resulting breads and sweets were delicious, and I learned quite a bit about baking with beer along the way.

When you are baking with beer (or any alcohol for that matter) the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process. That means that if alcohol is added before the food is cooked, the food isn't going to get you tipsy (a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it!) The flavor of the beer that stays in baked goods will be subtle, but noticeable. One important thing to remember: Any item you bake with alcohol in it will generally taste even better the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to meld together and mellow a bit. In some cases you can actually taste the beer more after the bread/cake sits overnight, but the flavors will blend more harmoniously. For that reason, when I am making any baked item with alcohol in it, I try to make it the night before I plan to serve it.

There are so many beers out there that it can make your head spin! I am not a very knowledgeable beer drinker, so I tend to stick to a few tried and true ones when I am baking. A good rule to remember is match the shade of your beer to your baked item - sounds simple, but it seriously works: Chocolate loves Stout, Rustic Hearth Breads like medium amber ales, and light, crusty breads like pale ales. Some beers I love to bake with are Guinness, Young's Chocolate Stout, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Summer Lager, and Bass. You generally want a beer with a good body to it, but no unusual quirky flavors that could overpower the baked item.

One last rule, and I say this with some humor: Ask yourself if the beer would be great to have in the keg at a Frat party. If the answer is yes, DON'T BAKE WITH IT!

Here are links to the recipes I developed using beer:
Guinness Cake
Savory Beer Bread
Chocolate Beer Bread
Beer Brownies
Cheesy Beer Bread

Happy Baking!

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