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Having been an avid bread baker for a few years I decided to branch out and experiment a little. I found that beer works well for yeast breads and quick breads too. From savory, herby and dense to sweet and soft these breads add greatly to any meal. I like to serve beer breads along with hearty bowls of soup or stews or at a cook-out; they add a robust charm to any open-air meal.

In keeping within the title of this article, I used a few Kentucky Beers in my experimentation. The beer I picked was Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Beer. It is a smooth tasting; fragrant beer so I assumed it would do well in the recipes I was compiling.

I tried this beer in two types of bread, one being a loaf of bread using the beer in place of yeast. The other type is a quick bread, again using the beer to replace part of the leavenings agents called for.

What makes breads differ from one another is the yeast. There are methods of making your own yeast from the wild yeast live in our homes, this is Sourdough, and that is yet another article. Yeast is what gives bread its distinction, it can have a mellow flavor, or it can be wild as a buffalo and have a kick to it.

The yeast used in beer and ale is brewer’s yeast and it is a mild yeast made up of good mellow easy to handle yeasts, giving breads made with beer a deep mellow glowing yeastiness. Making tender and delicious bread that lends itself well to being dunked into savory stews, slathered with thick grilled steaks, or even painted with pizza sauce, layered with meatballs and cheese for hot meatball sandwich.

NOTE: Beer breads are batter breads, which mean they are a thick batter as opposed to dough you knead on your counter. After beer bread is mixed together, it is poured or spread into its prepared loaf pans and baked immediately. They raise nicely in the oven.

-Hearty “Kentucky Beer “Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup oat meal

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt, sea salt or kosher salt

1 tsp. cream of tartar (used in baking as a stabilizer)

1-14 oz. bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Beer, at room temperature

Butter, grease, or spray with non-stick cooking spray, a regular sized loaf pan. Preheat oven to 400oF.

Stir dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon add the beer and stir in well. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake bread for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes before taking out of pan. Allow to cool before slicing.

-Kentucky Beer Quick Bread with Basil, Garlic, and Parmesan Cheese

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. molasses

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, diced

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1-14 oz. bottle Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Beer

Butter, grease, or spray with non-stick cooking spray, one regular sized loaf pan. Preheat oven to 375oF.

Stir dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl; add the beer, herbs, and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, stir well. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes before taking out of pan. Allow to cool before slicing.

This good recipe makes great bread to brush with fragrant olive oil and grill to serve alongside tender grilled shrimp, scallops or garlic and herb seafood on skewers.

On the other hand, try cutting up a few slices of this dense bread, tossing them with a bit of olive oil and then crisping them up in the oven to use as croutons on a crisp green salad!

Kentucky Beer Bread is a great addition to your bread recipe collection. I used the Bourbon Barrel brew from Altech’s Lexington Brewing Company. However, any beer will do, although it might not be as good as this one. Try these recipes next time you are yearning to make beer bread, see which one suits your tastes; they both will to be sure!

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