As much as I love to drink, I’m a total light weight. I blame my cursed Asian genes. Every time I drink, my entire body turns bright red. I tried looking up the reason for this embarrassing epidermal experience but most of what’s online is incomprehensible (read: too much big science talk). Basically, I’m an extremely cheap date. I can nurse one drink all night and get pretty buzzed from it.
I didn’t really start drinking until law school, which, besides from the hardcore studying, felt like three years of high school. I was with the same group of 200 students the entire time, in the same building. We had lockers downstairs, a low-budget cafeteria, we joined clubs and sports teams, and there were parties every Friday afternoon. More specifically, boozing parties called “Beer Ups.” The purpose behind beer-ups was to raise money – each Friday, a different club would host it, sometimes with sponsors (free stuff, yay!), and we’d all crowd into the caf to buy beer and complain about school. It was fabulous. We.drank.a.lot. Even all five foot two inches of lil’ ol’ Asian me.
Now that I’m in the work force, I can say that my colleagues still drink. A.lot. Now it’s for survival. A way to cope. Otherwise we’d go crazy. Why else would we keep scotch in our desk drawers and break it out every Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.? Or send the articling student to the liquor store to pick up a few six packs? Or drown our sorrows…excuse me, enjoy a few glasses of wine at lunch?
Sadly, my current firm is very proper so those boozehound shenanigans don’t happen to me anymore. Instead, I drink (my one glass) alone at home. And put booze in my baking. Like this amazing cheesy beer bread that I made from a recipe my friend, Jen, of Juanita’s Cocina posted here a few weeks ago.
Make it, pop it in the oven, let your home be pleasantly overwhelmed by the incredible aroma of it baking, and sip on a beer while you wait. Perfection.
Cheesy beer bread (adapted from Juanita’s Cocina)
2 cups shredded cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for topping the bread (I used three types: cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey Jack)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp baking powder
24 ounces of beer (2 bottles) (I used one light and one medium-bodied)
2 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease two regular loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and green onion; toss together so that everything is well combined.
Add the beer and honey to the flour mixture. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and there are no dry bits of flour. Don’t worry if your dough is lumpy, it’s supposed to be that way.
Divide the dough between the loaf pans and smooth the top of the dough. Bake for about 40-50 minutes (at the halfway mark, pull the bread out and cover the tops with the reserved 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Place back into oven and continue baking), or until the top of the loaves is a golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
I didn’t wait for the bread to cool completely before I started eating it. I can’t even begin to tell you how tasty it was. The salty cheese and fresh green onion complement each other perfectly. The crust of the bread is gloriously crispy and it has an incredibly soft, dense crumb inside. You can really taste that yeasty tang from the beer.
The Husband loved it – actually, neither of us could stop eating it. The recipe makes two loaves and we didn’t have any problem polishing them both off (although next time, I’d probably freeze one of the loaves to save for later). This bread is wicked good toasted. I didn’t butter it or use it for sandwiches, which I’m sure would be amazing, but it was just so darn good on it’s own.