Thursday, December 17, 2015

Challah Roundup



Marie Wolf's beautiful Challah from Breadbasketcase













































I was curious about why the Challah is so special and why is it THE bread for every Jewish holiday and Shabbat. As it turns out, summarizing the history of Challah is more of a challenge than summarizing all of your blog posts. Ha! I underestimated the complexity of 3500 years of Challah history across the Diaspora—all those cross-cultural references is certainly very circular and not linear at all. However, I plucked three interesting facts out of the ocean of information—facts that might help us understand the Challah we made and shed some light on some of the traditions that surround Challah (please note that this information is paraphrased from the following link: http://www.aish.com/j/f/A_Brief_History_of_Challah.html)


  • The word “cake” is a translation of the Hebrew word “challah.” It was considered a mitzvah (or blessing) to separate the bread and offer a portion of challah to the priests (kohanim).
  • Twelve humps of the loaf recall the miracle of the 12 loaves for the 12 tribes of Israel. 
  • The intertwined strands, (or arms) symbolize love, truth, peace, creation, freedom, harmony, family connection, unity and justice–following the commandments to remember, observe and guard the sabbath or Shabbat.


So when we look at the beautiful braids that we created, we can now understand in part the natural urge (or at least mine) to tear the humps apart and share the bread-cake with others. I suppose form meets function in this case.

To the person, this Challah recipe was a rousing success. Everyone enjoyed the process and the result, and almost everyone transformed it into another dish.

Leave well enough alone is an expression that is often heard when something is near perfect and doesn’t need any improving. For Marie W., Rose’s original Challah recipe in the Bread Bible needed no improving. But in good spirit, she decided to see if Rose’s new recipe was really worth the time. She felt that this new bread really was improved with its soft, but not cottony texture. BTW, her step-by-step how-to-braid-a-challah was as funny as Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First routine. Seriously.

Kristina confessed that no matter what else she has to do, she loves making bread, mostly for its not-so-intense schedule, forgiving nature and delicious outcome. Her Challah turned into an office share, weekend french toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  

For Elle, making this Challah was her lifeline, especially with her little 8-month old cutie pie following her every move and occupying her every minute. Her baking spirit is indomitable and her determination to bake bread each month with us is unshakeable. Elle’s experience, in her own words read: “What a joy this dough was to work with. And I am immensely proud of my four-strand braiding! I’ve never attempted this before, not even with hair, so I was pretty excited to give it a go.” I think Elle said it all when she concluded that this Challah is fantastic and delicious. She too turned it into french toast.  

Vicki too was interested in researching the history of Challah. Her bread was mammoth in that it continued to get bigger and bigger, much like Julia Child’s ocean sized fish (you have to see the picture in her post). So after having tea and Challah toast, she cut the challah into large cubes and added dried cherries, blueberries, raisins and one tsp of orange oil, baked it off and drizzled it with maple syrup. Challah becomes Strata.

Who knew that Nancy was a Challah aficionado? She told the Tale of Four Challahs: 1) Rose’s Traditional Challah from hard copy of The Bread Bible (not so crazy about this one), 2) her personal whole wheat version with dried cherries, 3) Smitten Kitchen's Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah (a once per year treat), and finally 4) Rose’s improved Challah recipe, adding rehydrated dried cherries. Nancy concluded that Rose’s latest version was indeed better than the original Bread Bible recipe. It was moister, and it had some tang on account of the biga. In the end, she’ll return to her whole-wheat version, but if she ever needs a white challah, Rose's recipe will be her choice.


Marie B had never made Challah before and hers was a great success. For convenience sake, she made a few changes to the recipe, but it clearly didn’t suffer at all. Next time she will ambitiously attempt a 6 strand braid, as if 4 strands wasn’t complicated enough. Marie made French Toast with her Challah and said that it was “verrrry good.”

Our next bread for January 6th will be the Sweet Potato Loaf (p. 276). It will be our first following the holiday season, and an interesting way to start the New Year. I chose it because I am always interested in exploring ingredients that make bread sweet, and moist. It could be really good for turkey or ham sandwiches! 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Challah

Fluffy, light and open interior of Rose Levy Beranbaum's Challah Bread

I’ve never had homemade Challah. I’ve only bought from bakeries, and they’ve always been sweet, and fluffy, but not very chewy. I always considered it a fattening bread due to the amount of sugar and oil necessary to give it its character, and extend its shelf life. And I usually add to those calories by making a Ham and Cheese Strata, so I didn’t really expect much different making my own. I was impatient waiting for it to rest and rise, but I understood. I only hope it understands me too and doesn’t “hang around” my belly (if you know what I mean). I take after my family the way I love bread. Well, much to my surprise, and in spite of the honey, this Challah wasn’t so sweet, and it had a marvellous texture—fluffy yet very chewy. The biga was definitely present. I’m perfectly turned around. 

As you all know, I totally underestimated the amount of time the biga took to “cook.” It’s such a small amount of yeasty dough that transforms into a fermented, sour mass. We haven’t made biga since the pannetone, I think (or maybe one other time). I was curious; what's the difference between biga and dough starter? As it turns out, biga is used when a light open texture is desired (remember the Pannetone?) and it makes the bread less perishable. While it’s usually used in Italian breads, it’s application is perfect here because Challah has a tendency to go stale quickly. Ah! I see said the blind man. 

I chose this recipe for December because we are right on top of Hanukkah, and I was thinking of Mendy. Sorry to see him leave us, but I certainly understand and wish him well. One other note: as per Rose's suggestion, I used the recipe from Rose's blog page, rather than the Bread Bible.

Here’s my experience:

Biga


As I mentioned above, biga is certainly well worth the time, as it adds a complexity that rarely exists in store/bakery bought Challah.

Mix the Dough

I like cutting pieces of biga and soaking it in water. Not too difficult. 
Cutting the biga and dropping it into the water.
Biga, water and butter.

The dough mixed up well and was just a little tacky, the way Rose described.
The challah dough freshly mixed and ready for its first rise.

Let the dough rise

My challah dough took two hours to double in size and when I removed it to make the business folds, it was soft and very tender. 

The dough in its container before the first rise

The dough looks open and relaxed after its first rise.
After the first biz fold.

After the second biz fold. Notice how much bigger it is.


Shape the Dough 

Overall, this dough, like all bread doughs, was compliant and cooperative. All I had to do was press it into place—no rolling required. Too easy really.

After its first shaping--just 9 inches

After its second shaping--13 inches

After its last shaping--19 inches

I’ve never done a 4 braided bread before. I didn’t understand what was meant by starting in the middle, as I could barely start at the beginning. 
Half way through braiding

Reaching underneath

Finishing the braid

Giving it some extra love

I think bread dough is beautiful

Glaze the Challah

I used a very diluted egg glaze with poppy seeds.

Just before the Challah went into the oven

Bake the Challah
I know from eating many Challah, that there isn’t much of a crust to speak of. Mine baked in the minimum amount of time and I had no trouble with it over browning. I removed it from the oven when the internal temp reached 203-205 degrees. 
Homemade Challah just out of the oven



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread Roundup

Elle's picture of Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread from Pancake-Croissants


This was a fun week for new ingredients for the Bread Bakers—Chipotle in Adobo sauce to be precise. It used to be available only in Mexican specialty markets, but today it's much easier to find. The flavour of Chipotles in Adobo is hot and smokey with a tang of vinegar, and is used a lot in Tex Mex and authentic Mexican cooking. It’s especially great with corn, but perfect also for sauces, dressings, braises and chilis, soups and beans, sandwiches and tacos, and marinades and glazes. 

Believe it or not, Chipotle is a jalapeño pepper. It’s just that the pepper that’s picked green is called jalapeño, and the pepper that is left on the vine long enough to turn red is a chipotle. Chipotles are then smoked, dried and packed in an adobe sauce—a marinade that's main ingredient is ground chipotle.

For everyone who made this Spoon Bread, it was a resounding success. Each and everyone thought it was super easy, and all agreed that it made a savoury side dish. Excellent.

Elle thought the Spoon Bread was a refreshing change of pace from the proofing box and loaf pans. It was colorful, had lots of lively flavours, and could be a meal in itself. She found it brightened up a dreary day, and seemed to be a perfect dish for the change of season. Her family raved about it, and complained that there wasn't more. Even the dog wanted a serving. It’s a do-over for Elle.

Vicki often wondered about the Chipotle in Adobo sauce and was eager to try it. She felt the spoon bread was delightful and fun. Vicki is definitely game for all the adventures in cooking with the Alpha Bakers!

The perfect evening meal for Kristina is chili in the slow cooker, and Jay to prep the “vegetable matter.” With all that in place, the spoon bread was even quicker and easier, and even more enjoyable. Overall, it made a terrific side dish to her chili. Her’s looked delicious.

Catherine had never had cornbread before, so there were all kinds of firsts here: Cornbread in general, Spoon Bread and Chipotles in particular. She’s now a big fan of the corn experience (if they are all like this recipe). For Catherine, this recipe was “crispy, spicy and deliciously savoury,” so-much-so that she would like to buy a new dish to make this spoon bread better (always looking for an excuse to buy new equipment).

Next month will be the Traditional Challah in celebration of Hanukkah. I’ve always loved Challah for it’s slightly sweet, eggy texture. I look forward to sharing it with all of you.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread

Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread

When I chose this recipe for the Bread Bible Alpha Bakers, my intention was to find something that would make a great addition to the American Thanksgiving table and for the holiday table, in general. I worried a little that it wasn’t a loaf that the Alpha Bakers were so accustomed to, but variety is the spice of life, and the Spoon Cornbread certainly fit the bill. The spicy and smokey Chipotle in Adobe sauce intensified the corn flavour, giving the bread a real wintery feel. Not only was it quick and easy, it was super delicious. I could easily see this next to a turkey or ham with gravy and all the other fixings.  Here's my experience:

THE FILLING: This was as easy as motherhood and apple pie (wink), however taking pictures of cooking onions, red pepper roasting, green cilantro and other savory ingredients was all new to me—different color palette and all. 
Roasting red pepper

Fresh Cilantro

Sauteing onions

The filling without the cilantro

MIXING THE BATTER: This was quick and easy. The most time consuming thing was to take everything out of the cabinets and put it all back. The one egg white seemed to take forever to whip into stiff peaks. The egg white wasn’t old, so I don’t know why it took so long. I whipped it to a soft peak instead.
The dry ingredients

Whipping and whipping the egg white.

Egg whites at a soft peak

Mis-en-place

Adding the soft egg whites

Folding in the cheese

BAKE THE SPOON BREAD: It baked up like a charm. I checked the temp within the prescribed time, and it was good to go. 

Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread hot out of the oven.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Banana Feather Loaf Roundup

Feeling Foodish Banana Feather Loaf





































My original reason for choosing the Banana Feather Loaf was to compare recipes that sweeten the bananas with a recipe that uses the banana as the sweetener. Both the Banana Chiffon Cake and the Banana Feather Loaf recipes produced a product that had a fine, delicate crumb, but the delicacy of each was dependent on different sets of chemical reactions, and required two different skill sets. It only proves the versatility, and competence of Rose’s Alpha Bakers—that they were able to use bananas in a delicate meringue based cake, as well as use bananas in a yeast bread. No doubt bananas are great.

That being said, everyone was successful in baking the Banana Feather Loaf. Everyone got a light, airy, tender crumb, and everyone found the loaf intriguing. The banana flavour was barely detectable and very light, across the board. Plus, all of the Alpha Bakers noted that the bread was eaten up quickly and enthusiastically. What was different was in the application: how to serve it and what to eat it with! 

Knowing there was banana in the recipe, we were all looking for its familiar flavour, but what we got instead was a nuance of the banana itself. We picked up on its sweet sugars, but couldn’t quite land on the essence of banana in the way we might have expected. How interesting is this?

What was most interesting was the conclusion that each of the Alpha Bakers came to about the Banana Feather Loaf. Here were the differences:

Kristina had a hard time figuring out what to say about the bread. She compared it to Rose’s white sandwich bread, which she knows so well. Unlike the white sandwich bread, she couldn’t see using it for grilled cheese, tuna melts or garlic bread. She considered it a breakfast or snack bread for either french toast or a special occasion breakfast. Otherwise, she doesn’t think she’ll bake it again.

Marie B found the Banana Feather Loaf sat on the fence between sweet and savoury. She said that it’s not quite a sandwich bread, but it’s not really a sweet bread. She too thought it would be perfect for French Toast. In the end though, she took Rose up on the suggestion to toast it with peanut butter and fresh banana. BTW, welcome again Marie B. to the Bread Bible Alpha Bakers. It’s a real pleasure to have you bake with us!

Marie W. perceived more than a hint of banana flavour that became more noticeable when she toasted it, and that’s where the rub is. In order to taste the banana as we would expect, we have to toast the bread, but then the problem is toasting a feather light slice can burn in the blink of an eye. So what to do? Just go with the flow and enjoy!

Elle was not put off by the sweetness at all. At first she thought it would be a perfect sweet, tea-bread, but changed her mind when she saw how light and airy it was and how subtle the banana flavours are. For her, it was everything she could have wanted out of a loaf of bread: great as toast, with peanut butter, strawberry jam, and of course some sliced banana.

Vicki felt the bread is just amazing. She got a beautiful rise from the dough and found the final texture and lightness to be like nothing she have ever tasted before. She loved this loaf.

Tony was extremely delighted with the taste and texture of the loaf. He said: IT IS SO ADDICTIVE you just cut one more little sliver and then your back for another one [and] before you know it…ROSE, thank you again for such a wonderful, delightful, scrumptious, and delicious loaf!” That about says it all, but on the technical side, the Banana Feather Loaf was a learning experience either about the oven temp and/or proofing problems, (something that I had trouble with too). As you say Tony: It’s the life of the baker.

Catherine felt the groove of our bananalicious week! For her, the banana transmitted a soft, rich  sweetness, and had a denser, stronger structure than brioche. With just a little butter and very little effort, she kept it all for herself. It was a winner recipe.


For our next Bread Bible recipe, I thought we would make the Southwestern Corn Spoon Bread. I chose this because American Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it might make a nice pass around with the turkey. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Banana Feather Loaf


Banana Feather Loaf with Peanut Butter and Banana

I get along with bananas like a house on fire. So it's natural that I would choose, for my first Bread Bible post, the Banana Feather Loaf to compliment the Banana Split Chiffon assigned to the Alpha Bakers for the Baking Bible. I think it's interesting to explore all the different ways bananas can be used and adapted to suit different applications. So to celebrate the banana, maybe we should whip up a little Banana Lemon Curd for the loaf, then mix up a Banana Daiquiri, and serve up all of our very different banana things, and have a banana party, and call it The Banana Bomba!

Here's my experience:

DOUGH STARTER: Mixing the flour, yeast, water and honey is a very straight forward process and couldn't be easier.

This is the water and honey
The flour and instant yeast

The liquid and dry ingredients make the starter.

MAKE THE SPONGE: Mixing the flour and adding it to the sponge is another very simple step in the process of making bread.

The flour blanket

ADDING THE BANANA! Yeah, it's time to add the banana. I mashed it with the soft butter and salt just to ensure that they would mix properly.

Adding the banana and butter to the sponge.


MIXING THE DOUGH BY HAND: This was too sticky to knead by hand. I had to add flour because it was impossible to otherwise. The machine wouldn't have cared, but manoeuvring around my bread bowl with this sticky mess wasn't enjoyable. 

The dough was a sticky mess

Still, I was committed, so I did my best. Letting the dough rest for 20 minutes changed the mood of the dough and afterwards, it was a charm to work with.

Resting the dough for 20 minutes

I let it rise until double, 

The dough after the first rise

and then I folded up the four corners 

Folding up the four corners
Then gave it two business folds

then  gave it two business folds
The dough ready for the second rise
and let it rise again. It took much longer and by this time, it was too late to shape it and let it rise again, So I stuck it in the refrigerator and went to bed.

8am morning, I took it out of the cold box, shaped it into a loaf and let it rise. 

The dough is ready for the loaf pan for the final rise
Again, it took forever so I went dancing. I got home at 4pm and the bread had reached the top of the mold. That's a long time proofing. 

This took all afternoon to rise to this level
So I fired up the jets to 475F. That's a super hot oven. 

Baking it, it sank a little. Huh? I suspect I over-rose it. Is that possible? Maybe the chemical reaction was completely gone and the structure of the bread collapsed a little. 


Tasting it, it certainly tasted a bit on the sour side. The banana was very faint, but it was moist and very pleasant.

The Banana Feather Loaf sliced, toasted and ready to eat.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Basic Hearth Bread Round Up








Marie's Basic Hearth Bread


"Soul of simplicity", that is how Rose describes her Basic Hearth Bread,  "containing only flour, water, yeast and salt with a little honey for sweetness and a golden crust."  It was a resounding success with all the Alpha Bread Bakers.  

Marie likes this bread very much and has made it often, to the point where her loaves could easily pass in a bakery shop case with perfect slashing and browned crust.  She especially likes the slight bit of nuttiness whole wheat flour gives in this recipe without any bitter taste.  Marie first learned the business letter fold years ago from Rose even though it's quite common among bread bakers today but for her, it was Rose who introduced her to this technique. Marie likes it for sandwiches and for morning toast.  "I almost resent it when bread doesn't toast well.  That's part of its job."  Touche Marie, touche!

Basically Delicious Hearth Bread is how Elle describes this basically amazing bread.  She had two teenage sous chefs by her side to "help"-if drinking warm chai lattes and texting is helping.  Although, her daughter's friend was quite intrigued with the scale, never having seen ingredients measured by weight.  Just wait, chemistry class is right around the corner!  She found the only down side to the recipe was the rise times, only due to impatience.  Totally understandable; this is a bread that looks so good on the cover of The Bread Bible.  The lovely golden, tasty loaf of bread transported her back to fancy Italian restaurants where waiters whisked away bread crumbs off the table with their silver scrapers.  Sitting on the back deck with horses just off in the distance, not a snooty waiter to be found.  Just glorious and delicious homemade bread straight from the hearth.

Michele was the only one who made the Velvety Buckwheat Loaf variation since she's made the Basic Hearth Bread more times than she can remember.  It was the word "velvety" that intrigued her and rightly so.  The pre-ferment includes sour cream which she feels contributed to the velvety texture. Michele has become quite adept with slashing the top of the dough and this bread rewarded her with perfect oven spring, opening up the deep cuts.  She describes the flavor as similar to pumpernickel but without the prominent rye flavor in darker breads.  While this bread was a picture perfect success, Michele prefers the flavor of the Basic Hearth bread.  Bonus points Michele, for trying something new!

Nancy chose to bake the classic loaf shape for her Basic Hearth Bread, thinking ahead to the versatility of the shape.  She got tricked again by the dry ingredient step, forgetting to hold back the salt until after the first ferment but no harm, no foul!  And here is where Nancy's expertise really comes into play; noticing the dough was a little dry and not sticking slightly to the bowl as Rose describes, she sprayed water right into the mixing bowl.  Genius!   Her bread turned out lovely in the loaf pan but she is going to figure out the correct amounts of ingredients for her size of loaf pan.  Keep us posted, Nancy.  We probably all have an odd sized loaf pan or two. 

Kristina takes multi-task baking to a new height; she baked two different kinds of pies and The Basic Hearth Bread overlapping a two day period.    Kristina, who starts off saying "Pretty straight forward. Grind the wheat".  This is just too charming for words!  Only an Alpha Baker would include grinding one's own wheat as straight forward.  And since it has a bit of honey in the recipe, well wouldn't it be wonderful if she had her own bee hive now, too?  If anyone can successfully raise bees, it will be Kristina.  Go have a look at the posted link on her site for the snazziest bee hive ever.  Her dough bubbled up nicely and mixed together well but she forgot a step with her baguette pans, which is a rare occurrence for Kristina.  She can make bread in her sleep.  The bread stuck a bit to the pan but really, with this wonderfully flavored fresh bread covered with fresh tomatoes, who could fault such delicious crostinis for missing a few crumbs? 

There comes that defining moment in a new bread baker's life when it just all clicks together.  The Basic Hearth Bread was that moment for Vicki.  Not growing up in a bread baking family, yeast was a foreign thing.   This dough is the first bread dough where the "feel" started to all make sense.  Pretty amazing but that just goes to show what a great guide The Bread Bible is.  This bread won rave reviews and didn't last nearly long enough.  It made great sandwiches and morning toast with tea.  

Hooray for Catherine !  She had success with elusive oven spring.  Even while not feeling well,  mixing the dough together for Basic Hearth bread was simple enough that she could manage it.  Trying a suggestion of not letting the dough rise too much during the final proof, she gave it a good slash, popped it in the oven and Voila!  Oven spring as evidenced by the opening of the slashes during baking.  Just look at that loaf of this exquisite bread! And then on to slathering a toasted slice with Vegemite!  We in the U.S. pretty much heard of Vegemite from lyrics of the  popular song Land Down Under by Men At Work.  Catchy tune that! 

To date, our little gaggle of bread bakers have collectively baked sixty-six loaves of bread!  

Beer Bread Round Up


Catherine's perfectly golden Beer Bread




Rose describes her beer bread as having a non-beery flavor but an essential ingredient as dark beer gives this bread a "soft texture, subtle mellow flavor, mahogany crust, and dark golden crumb". 

Let's see how the Alpha Bakers fared with Beer Bread.

Peggy declares this to be "a very easy bread to make".  The biggest decision was which beer to use; Kilkenny Irish Beer won out.  Peggy's husband described it as half-light-half-dark.   Beer gives Faithy hives so she didn't dare but have a wee sip for taste testing.  She thew in a bit of sour dough for  more flavor.  Shaped into two boules,  they baked into  "quite flavorful and nice bread".   Peggy prefers the interior of bread, leaving the crust behind but is forcing herself to savor the chewy outside.  There is actually a word in Italian for those that prefer the interior of bread and those that prefer the outer crust, leaving the soft middle behind.  On your next trip to Italy, you'll be in good company, Peggy!  When in Rome....

Oven spring, where are you?  Catherine is calling your name and evidently so are a lot of other bakers.  After googling Why why why no oven spring? she found many kindred spirits united to lament their frustration at the lack of "spring" ie the rising of dough during the first ten minutes of baking, making for a lovely texture and crumb.  Catherine advises they might also consider therapy!  She ended up liking this bread, it was "dense and soft with a nice crumb", pretty much Q & E in a bread sense and great company for hearty soups and stew.  She used a pale ale made in her home town of Adelaide, which was mild enough for sipping leftovers. It may not have sprung to Catherine's dream height but it was an absolutely perfect golden loaf of bread. 

Kim has been looking forward to baking the Beer Bread since the beginning of the Alpha Bakers start up.  In her beautiful bowl she got to work, eager to see how beer would affect the bread.  She first found the dough sticky and unpleasant, but after a twenty minute rest it was smooth, and even more so after five minutes of kneading.  As Kim stretched the dough forming a perfect boule, she noticed a gluten skin formed over the top.  The more she stretched, the tighter it became and to her surprise, never broke.  She opted for a tricky spiral slash design.  The texture and crumb were nice and even, toasting up beautifully.  

Jeniffer proclaims this the best adult bread to "serve for BBQ entertaining, served with equally strong flavours;  spiced burgers, mushrooms bitey cheese, roasted capsicum dip and the like".
She also found a video of Rose actually making the Beer Bread and linked it on her site.
Cooper's Best Extra Stout from an Australian Brewery made its way into Jeniffer's bread, by way of recommendation from Catherine. Perhaps the most adorable memory this Beer Bread evoked was the robust flavour reminded Jeniffer of her mother, who always loved a high tea on one hand but partook if the opportunity arose, to share in a ploughman's lunch-no cutlery, rip apart bread, suck down a pickled onion and wash it all down with beer.  Doesn't she sound delightful and loads of fun?  Jeniffer, you must have been the envy of your teenage friends!  Her suggestion of topping the Beer Bread with hummus and spiced marinated pine nuts sounds delicious.

Kristina enjoys bread baking but observes there is not a lot of visual interest but one thing that is exciting, is the opportunity to bring out her deluxe flour mill.  Kristina grinds the most beautiful flour from wonderful selections of grains.  Jay, her husband, chose Old North Mocha Porter from Ontario.  She also pointed out that Rose bakes this bread a lot but uses water since her husband doe not care for beer.-the beer-less beer bread.  Good tip!  Kristina chose the lantern slash for her design and enjoyed slicing off a piece from the baked loaf, slathering it with softened butter from her butter bell,   all the while sitting on the counter while her husband made dinner.  Fair exchange for fresh Beer Bread.

Nancy baked the Beer Bread at the beginning of August and blogged about it at the end of September.  Nancy is quite the traveler, off to exciting places and still manages a full work schedule.  She remembers choosing Guinness and that the bread rose enthusiastically.  Nancy prefers the mixer method and with all the successful loaves of bread she has made, she has this bread thing down pat.  Claiming this to be a good tasting bread, a bit extra yeasty from the beer, it had a nice amount of "chew".  The picture on her blog show an amazing interior texture and crumb with beautiful height. 

Root-Beer Beer Bread.  Elle and Vicki made this bread together while under the same roof.  Neither being one for beer,  the perfect solution was beer that professed to taste exactly like root-beer.  Indeed it did;  both smelling and tasting like root-beer with nearly 6% alcohol content.  We found the dough easy to mix up with the Kitchen Aid mixer.  It was watched like a hawk for over browning.  The dark caramel root-beer gave the bread a lovely deep golden color and faintly sweet flavor, perfect with cream cheese and jams. 

Seven loaves of Beer Bread made with seven different beers and all excellent outcomes.  Another bread baking success!