Thursday, May 17, 2012
Beer, mustard and cheese bread recipe, inspired by Welsh Rarebit
Are you familiar with the British pub classic, Welsh Rarebit? It's a slice of toasted bread topped with a melted cheese, mustard and beer concoction. Excellent, if rich, comfort food. Those three flavourings are all present in this soft yeast bread that's been a favourite for years - I even included a recipe in my first cookbook. It's soft and tender, with plenty of gutsy flavours going on. It's obviously not a bread that you'd toast and slather with jam, but with some extra cheese or a slice of good country ham - oh yes!
See also Felicity Cloake's post How to cook perfect Welsh rarebit in the Guardian to give you some insights into the dish that inspired this bread.
Beer, mustard and cheese bread
Makes 2 loaves
500 ml dark beer (ale, porter, stout - all work; 2 cups)
50 g fresh yeast or 2 envelopes fast-action instant yeast
3-4 Tbsp light syrup (golden syrup or corn syrup is fine; about 80 g)
2 tsp fine salt
150 g hard cheese, coarsely grated (Cheddar's good, or any Estonian cheese :))
600-650 g all-purpose flour*
1-2 tsp English mustard powder (I use Colmans)
100 ml vegetable oil or 75 g butter, melted and cooled
Use a large mixing bowl. If using fresh yeast, then crumble it into lukewarm (37C) beer and stir until dissolved. Add the syrup, then fold in the grated cheese and about half of the flour. Add the salt, mustard powder and knead in the rest of the flour. Finally add the oil/melted butter.
(If you're using the fast-action instant yeast, then simply mix all the dry ingredients, then add the beer, syrup, cheese and mix, finally adding the oil/butter).
* A note on the amount of flour. I've successfully made this with 600 g flour, which is about 1 litres or about 4 heaped cups. You may need a little more - you're aiming for a soft, dropping consistency.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel, place the mixing bowl into a warm and draught-free location and let the dough raise until doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured worktop. Lightly knead the dough and divide into two equal parts. Form into oblong loaves and transfer into buttered or lined baking tins. (I've used 22 cm/2 litre bread tins to make high loaves and 30 cm/3 litre bread tins to make smaller loaves).
Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 175 C/350 F oven for about 45 minutes, until well risen and golden brown on top.
Alternatively, you can free-form the loaves and bake them on a baking sheet, as above.
More unusual takes on Welsh Rarebit:
Welsh rarebit lamb nachos @ Endless Simmer
Cheddar, beer and mustard pull-apart bread @ Smitten Kitchen (an idea not so dissimilar to this)
Welsh rarebit souffle @ Amuse Bouche