Beer Bread: Baking in the Spirit of Fall

 

Even though Oktoberfest celebrations around the world came to a close, we’re still inspired to raise our glasses to new ways to enjoy beer – in our bread! From afternoon tailgating to Halloween parties and fall festivals, we welcome beer’s rich malt in the fall, often accented by seasonal flavors like pumpkin or warm vanilla.

Whether you’re hosting your own fall gathering, or just want to get into the spirit of things, beer bread is incredibly tasty and easy.

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 c. sugar (may substitute with 3 tbsp. honey)
12 oz. beer (your preference)
1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan by lightly wiping with oil or spraying with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl; combine the flour, sugar or honey, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, and salt. Add beer to bowl with dry mixture and stir just until combined.

3. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the middle is set.

That’s not a mistake; beer bread really is that simple. The beer’s yeast assists the baking powder in the leavening, so all you have to do is mix the ingredients and bake.

If you’re worried about alcohol content — don’t be! The alcohol evaporates during the baking process, making beer bread a fast and simple family-friendly seasonal side. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a pumpkin beer for an extra layer of savory flavor in every bite.

You can also try these Cheesy Beer Biscuits, made with tangy cheddar and hearty oats. And for those intrigued by the concept but don’t want to make beer the star, Herb Cheese Quick Bread includes enough to enhance the flavor without overpowering the herbs.

But don’t limit your brew to just bread. Even beer that’s gone flat can make a flavorful batter for your onion ring fix. Or try it in dessert! The richness of beer pairs well with these dark, chocolate brownies with buttercream frosting.

Cheers!

DIY Baking Mix

 

We can’t control what our family eats during the day. Sure, we can try, but the one real shot we have is when we all sit down at dinner for a healthy, happy home-cooked meal.

But who has time for that?

From your full-time hectic job to balancing homework and soccer practice, there is hardly time to take a breath, let alone cook a healthy dinner. It may seem far easier to throw some tube biscuits in the oven; however, with a little planning ahead of time, you can be the home-cooked dinner hero, bringing warm, delicious homemade bread straight to the table in minutes.

Baking mixes are an easy way to get bread to the table fast. In the grocery store, baking mixes come in little bags or boxes, some labeled with ingredients you can hardly pronounce. But it’s incredibly simple to create your own baking mixes at home. Start with this simple one:

Clabber Girl Basic Baking Mix

Ingredients:

9 c. all-purpose flour (may substitute up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or your choice of bleached or unbleached flour)
1/3 c. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. shortening

Instructions:

In a large bowl combine flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Cut shortening into mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Place mix into a sealed container to be stored, in a dry place (plastic containers work fine).

Storage Tips:

  1. Place mix into a tightly sealed container in a dry place. Plastic containers work fine.
  2. Counter or cupboard: 3 months
  3. Refrigerator: 6 months
  4. Whole grain mix: store in a refrigerator to avoid spoiling.

This basic blend is the first step in creating a warm, relaxing kitchen, filled with Blackberry Oatmeal Bars, Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and savory Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

Click here for more recipes that use the basic baking mix!

Secrets to Using a Cast-Iron Skillet

Ingredients for cooking and empty cast iron skillet
Ingredients for cooking and empty cast iron skillet

Inexpensive and durable, naturally nonstick and nearly indestructible, cast-iron skillets are a kitchen essential.

They last for generations, so the same skillet that brought you grandma’s juicy fried chicken now helps you whip up a decadent Apple Pecan Skillet Cake. The best part? The more you use it, the better it gets.

Cast-irons season over time. The oils and flavors from everything that’s touched its surface help the skillet become naturally nonstick. Regularly seasoning your cast-iron skillet will keep it in prime condition to bake for years. Here’s a quick how-to:

1. Wash the skillet with warm water and a sponge or stiff brush. Only use soap if you’re preparing to season it. Otherwise, use only water!

2. Rinse and dry the skillet thoroughly, then coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening.

3. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Let the skillet cool completely, then store away.

Here are four ways you can put the cast-iron to work in your own kitchen.

Searing and Sautéing

Take advantage of cast-iron’s reputation for being stovetop and oven-friendly. Begin cooking dishes in the piping hot skillet on the stove, and finish the process in the oven.

Braising that Bursts with Flavor

Since cast-iron skillets heat evenly, and at a steady temperature, they’re perfect for braising meat or vegetables in stock and spices. Try this Braised Winter Vegetable Gratin as a comforting side dish.

Baking – Browned and Buttery

Because the surface of a cast-iron heats evenly and continuously, breads come out toasty and moist, while pies swell with rich, golden crusts. Baking with cast-iron creates sweet and savory dishes that everyone will enjoy. We love the rustic touch of Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits, slathered with warm honey butter. You could also pair a hearty stew with this Easy Mexican Cornbread or finish off a meal with this Blackberry Lime Cobbler.

Frying – The Golden Standard

With cast-iron’s steady, even heat, just an inch or so of oil is all it takes to conjure up some Home Made Corn Dogs or Fried Chicken Wings, two of the most delicious comfort recipes we know.

Using a cast-iron skillet with some of your favorite recipes can open a new world of flavor to your food. A cast-iron skillet that’s well-used and well-loved is more than a kitchen utensil – it’s a treasured family heirloom.