I’m not a beer drinker.
I really don’t like it all that much.
That is, unless it’s super cold, served in a plastic cup, while I’m at a Cubs game. Really, that’s the only time I’ll drink beer to drink beer. It’s a requirement of being a Cubs fan, but that’s a whole other post.
However, I have absolutely no problem cooking with beer. There’s something about the bitterness and bite of a good ale that can lend something incomparable to a stew or chili, and a bit of stout cooked with corned beef makes for an amazing meal.
But, there’s one recipe that will always call for beer, no matter what. That recipe is cheddar fondue. Cheddar fondue is one of the first things that I cooked for Adam, and no matter how many times I try to make another type of fondue, I always come back to cheddar. With the beer.
What is up with all my talk about beer? Well, FoodBuzz, my lovely sponsor, offered me an opportunity to come up with a recipe that features or pairs with New Belgium Beer, and I jumped at the opportunity! So, you’d think I’d make fondue.
You’re wrong. However, you’re kind of on the right track…
That my friends, is New Belgium Trippel Belgian Style Ale, which is brewed with coriander (or cilantro, depending on where you’re from).
See, when I make fondue, I reduce two bottles of beer down to about the volume of one. Then I add garlic, mustard, salt, and a ton of really really really sharp cheddar cheese. It’s best eaten with hearty bread and apples. Tart apples. Granny smith apples… much like these.
In lieu of fondue, since that’s really a winter thing, ABC Bread was born. Apple Beer Cheddar Bread. (Not to be confused with ABC gum. Remember that from second grade? Already Been Chewed?)
The first step to any good bread is a good dough.
Whole Wheat Beer Bread Dough
- 12 oz New Belgium Trippel Ale
- 1 Tb. active dry yeast
- 1 Tb. white sugar
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 Tb. corn oil
- 1 1/2 Tb. kosher salt
- 1 whole egg
In a small saucepan, heat the beer to about 110*F. It should just barely feel warm. Transfer the beer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the beer. Allow to proof about 10 minutes.
Stir in the white flour until a sticky paste forms.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix in the egg and oil.
Gradually add the whole wheat flour until a smooth and slightly sticky dough forms.
Add the salt.
Knead about 10 minutes, then transfer to a well-oiled bowl and allow it to rise about an hour. It will not double in size, but it will rise slightly.
Continue with the steps for ABC bread, or simply transfer to a loaf pan, allow to rise another 30 minutes, then bake at 350* for about 45 minutes.
Slice the tart apples thinly.
Transfer your bread dough to a well-floured piece of wax paper. The dough will be sticky! Roll the dough out to about 3/4″ thickness.
Arrange the sliced apples on the rolled-out dough. Eat the remaining slices. Well, make sure to save a few.
Sprinkle the grated cheddar on top of the apples. Save 1/4 c. of the cheese. Devour the extra cheese. Maybe with the extra apples.
Roll the dough from end to end and plop it into a loaf pan.
Top the loaf with the reserved cheese and apple slices.
Bake at 350* for about an hour. It seems like too long, but trust me.
Remove from the oven.
Remove the loaf from the loaf pan…carefully. There may be hot cheese and oil in the pan that can burn you. Not that I know anything about that…
Slice and enjoy!
I’m really proud of this actually… it’s like amazing fondue in one perfect bite. Or five. Or twenty…
Thank you FoodBuzz and New Belgium Brewing Company for the opportunity to create a delicious recipe with your beer!
So, in true blogger style, I leave you with a question:
Are you a beer drinker or would you rather cook with it?