Make it Naked


Irish Beer and Cheese Bread

Growing up, no holiday went unnoticed in our house and I remember especially loving St. Patrick’s Day for a number of reasons. My mom would make us green eggs and ham. Literally, green eggs. And ham. They certainly weren’t naked but as a 6 year old, I loved it.

I’d write a note the night before to the leprechauns wishing them a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. That was never embarrassing until just this moment. And then, magically, we’d find a letter, written in riddles, from a leprechaun leading us on a scavenger hunt through the house. Clue after clue ending at a stash of candy he left behind. It was so clever and everything I hope Amazing Race is whenever I’m finally selected to be on the show. Sorry, daydreaming…back to the food.

Of course now, I don’t eat green eggs. And I’m certain Jon’s not sending me on a riddle-driven scavenger hunt to find me lucky charms. But I still want to celebrate…like adults. With beer. And cheese. Lots of cheese. Baked together in a savory, warm, melty bread. It’s magically delicious.

In the spirit of the holiday, I was sure to use Dubliner, a hard Irish cheese, and Smithwick’s, an Irish red ale. The beer and cheese are the superstars here, so get the good stuff. I know it’s a lot of grating, but freshly grated cheese has a creaminess you lose in pre-shredded bagged cheese.

I also used sharp cheddar and extra sharp white cheddar cheeses. The combination is even better than I anticipated. The sharp cheddar is, well, appropriately named while the white cheddar adds a little smokiness. The Dubliner is harder than the cheddars and has tang similar to Parmesan but not nearly as pungent.

I’ve never been to Ireland, but I’m going this summer. If this is how the Irish do it, I may not return. The bread is quick – no yeast, just beer. No rising. No punching. No rolling. No kneading. Really, the hardest part is grating the cheese. It’s a St. Patty’s Day celebration in loaf form. It’s incredibly moist and perfectly spiced to make the best savory bread I’ve had – ever. Go ahead and try it yourself. Once you do, you might want to KISS ME. Although, I’M not IRISH – but I understand.

Irish Beer and Cheese Bread (recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients:

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup Dubliner cheese, shredded
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
¾ cup sour cream
1¼ cup beer, I used Smithwick’s Irish Red Ale
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Grate all the cheeses, keeping them separated. Measure out the necessary amounts listed above. From the measured piles of cheese, separate out  about ¼ cup of the sharp cheddar, ¼ cup of the white cheddar and ⅛ cup of the Dubliner and reserve for topping the bread later.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining cheeses, the flour, baking powder, salt, mustard, peppers and garlic. Stir to coat the cheese in flour.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, beer, worcestershire sauce and egg. Pour into dry mixture.
  5. Mix the dough just until combined. Scoop dough into prepared pan and push down to evenly spread the dough across the pan. Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  6. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and let cool further. When the bottom of the pan can be touched, flip bread out and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes:

  1. I’m sure you can use any combination of cheddars or similar cheeses, as well as any beer, but the combination above is really something outstanding. I don’t think I’ll change it. But let me know what you use if you decide to switch things up.
  2. I tented the top of my bread with tinfoil after about 40 minutes of baking. I didn’t want the cheese to get any darker and the center was not baked through yet.
  3. Don’t have a cooling rack? Flip over your muffin pan so the cups face down. Air will be able to get under the bread in the spaces between the cups so it’ll work in a pinch.
  4. Should you refrigerate it?  Nope. It won’t last that long.
  5. Ok so I lied when I said the hardest part was grating the cheese. The hardest part was slicing the cheese to fit into the grating attachment on my food processor. If you have one of these attachments, find it, dust it off and hook it up. It’s the key to making a quick bread quicker. And the faster it’s done, the faster you’re eating it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Posted on March 11, 2011


Recipes By Tag