Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

Beer bread.  I had heard of beer bread, but never tried any before yesterday.  Wow.  This was, without a doubt, the fastest, easiest, tastiest bread I have ever made.  It took around five minutes for the ingredients to come together, an hour in the oven, and I had a fresh loaf of delicious beer bread.  My bread came out soft, fluffy, slightly sweet, and with a malty aftertaste.

I used mostly whole wheat flour to give my bread more nutrition, but you can use all white flour if you prefer.  After you decide what kind of flour you want to use in your bread, you have to make the most important decision:  what kind of beer to use?  I read on Wikipedia that different beers result in different types of beer bread.  A dark beer will give you a darker, heavier flavored loaf, while a spiced beer will give your bread some spice flavor.  However, after baking, your loaf of bread will retain only a little bit of beer flavor, so subtler flavors may be lost.  And non drinkers need not fear-all of the alcohol bakes off during the cooking process.

I chose to use Moose Drool partly because it is delicious, and partly because I had a bottle in my fridge.  I was hoping the delicious malty sweetness would come out in my bread, and I was right.  My bread had a lovely aftertaste of malt.

Once you have your flour and your beer, you need only a couple more ingredients.  I added 3 teaspoons of baking powder to my flour.  Some recipes call for self rising flour, but if you use regular flour like I did, go ahead and add some baking powder to your recipe.  After the baking powder, you only need one more ingredient:  sugar.  And that's everything.  So simple.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
3 tea baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. beer

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan really well.  Sift together your flour and baking powder and mix in the sugar.  Pour in your beer and mix until just combined.  Pour into your loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Melon Bread!

Ever since high school, when I saw Yakitate Japan, I have been obsessed with melon bread.  Melon bread, or melonpan (メロンパン), consists of a soft roll of bread coated with a sugar cookie exterior.  It is sometimes filled with cream cheese,pastry cream, and more.  Every time I go to the Korean market, I am tempted by the melon breads at the bakery.  Melon bread originates in Japan, but it is popular throughout Asia.  At first, I was confused as to why it was called melon bread-melon bread contains no melon.  It turns out the name comes from the appearance of the bread, which is said to resemble a melon.

Melon bread is fun to make at home.  It involves a bit of work because you make a yeast dough and a cookie dough, but the results are well worth the effort.


1/2 tea sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 packet yeast
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tea salt
3 T melted butter

1 1/4 flour
1/2 tea baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Extra sugar for rolling

Start by making your yeast dough.  Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water and sugar.  Make sure you water isn't too hot.  You don't want to kill all of your yeast.  In a big bowl mix together the flour, salt, melted butter, and yeast mixture.  You can mix it with a stand mixer or by hand.  The mixture will start off crumbly, but as you mix it it will come together into a dough.  Add more water if your dough is too dry, or more flour if your dough is too sticky.  Knead your dough for ten minutes or so.

Grease your bowl lightly and put the dough in, turning it to get oil on all sides.  Cover your bowl with a damp kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise.  I heat up a pot of water on the stove until it is boiling and pour the hot water into a casserole dish.  I put this dish in my oven with my dough to create a warm place for my dough to rise.

Once your dough has doubled in size (with my set up this took an hour), knead it lightly for five minutes or so to get some of the air out.  Divide your dough into twelve pieces and roll them into balls.  Put your dough balls on a cookie sheet and put them back in a warm spot to rise for another 15 minutes.

As your dough balls rise, you can make the cookie dough.  Mix together the flour and baking powder.  Add in the sugar, egg, and melted butter.  Stir it up until it forms a dough.  Stick your cookie dough in the fridge for a few minutes if it is too soft to work with.  

Take your bread dough out of the oven when it is done rising and turn the oven to preheat at 350 degrees F.

Divide your cookie dough into 12 pieces and roll them into balls.  Between two pieces of saran wrap, smoosh the balls down with your hand until they form circles of cookie dough.  

Take your now puffy bread dough and put a piece in the center of a cookie dough circle.  

Wrap the cookie dough around the bread dough until the ball is covered in cookie.  Dip the top of the cookie covered ball in a small bowl of sugar to coat.  Using a knife, cut diamond shaped marks in the top of your melon breads.

Put your completed balls on your baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until slightly browned on top.  Do not be alarmed if some of the cookie topping spreads out onto the cookie sheet a bit when baked.  This can happen if you add too much cookie to a dough ball.  It is still delicious!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Kickass Fruit Salad

I am a big fan of fruit salad.  I love how sweet and fresh it tastes.  It tastes like desert, but since it is reasonably healthy, you can justify eating it for breakfast.  This fruit salad is one of my favorites.  Crunchy, tart, and full of flavor, you can bring this sucker to parties, pour on yogurt or ice cream, or just eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon.  Even better, it is super easy to make!

Pint of strawberries
Pint of blueberries
1-2 apples (depending on their size)
2 kiwis
1 lime

Chop up your strawberries, kiwis, and apples into little chunks.  I made mine pretty small because I like the texture of my fruit salad to be sort of like a fruit salsa.  My chunks ended up being about the same size as the blueberries.  Add the chopped fruit into a big bowl.

Pour in as many blueberries as you like.  Next, zest your lime into the fruit bowl.  Once you are done zesting, cut open the lime and squeeze the juice into your salad.  Finish with a squeeze of honey, sweetening to your preference.

Delicious!  This salad keeps about a week in the fridge, but it never lasts that long in my house.