What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: No Yeast Beer Bread! Never in my wildest dream did I ever realize there would be a shortage of all-purpose flour and yeast. Yet, the grocery store shelves were bare. I don’t know if it had anything to do with panic-buying during the coronavirus quarantine or if people were baking up a storm in isolation. Homemade bread is a comfort food, after all. Kneading dough can be a distraction from stay-at-home kids and social media rants. Plus the incredible aroma of bakery bread is soothing and rewarding. So, the obvious answer was to go to the fridge and open a can of beer. Beer acts as a leavening agent, as long as baking powder is included in the recipe. For those who wonder, the alcohol does burn out and evaporate. Now the results are a more dense and heavy bread with a thicker crust, just so you know. Personally, I like the crunchiness of toast better that way. Then again, it could be the result of “bathing” it in butter before baking. Let’s jam with beer bread!
NO YEAST BEER BREAD
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
12-ounces beer, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Stir until mixed. Add the beer, stirring until the dough forms. Set aside. Warm the butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Brush the parchment paper on bottom and sides of the loaf pan. Spoon the dough into the buttered loaf pan. The dough will have a rustic appearance. Brush the remaining butter evenly over the top of the dough. Bake for 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. The bread will be a golden brown. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert pan to remove the beer bread. Slice and serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Li Hing Pineapple! Talk to any adult who is native to Hawaii and you’ll discover a craze from their youth. It’s Li Hing Mui, a powdered flavoring that can be sprinkled on anything from fruit to candy to popcorn, and even rimming the glasses of adult cocktails. No kidding. So what exactly is this mysterious flavoring, you wonder. Li Hing is plum powder made from dried plums. It has a combination of sweet, salty, and tangy taste. Local children love it on sour gummy worms or shave ice. Anything goes. One taste and you’ll find yourself giggling like a kid.
LI HING PINEAPPLE
Li Hing powder
Peel and core fresh pineapple. Cut into chunks. Using a sifter, lightly dust the fresh pineapple chunks with Li Hing powder. Let rest for a minute. Serve.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Crunchy Rosemary-Olive Oil Croutons! I often top my salads or garnish savory soups with homemade croutons, but these little buttery favorites give you the added crunch you desire anytime of day. And talk about easy! You already have your favorite herbs and spices in the kitchen pantry. I pick up a “day-old” baguette at the market bakery, for starters, but you can use whatever bread you choose. Now you know my secret to fabulous croutons!!!
CRUNCHY ROSEMARY-OLIVE OIL CROUTONS
1 French baguette, day-old
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon rosemary snips*
*Any fresh or dried herb may be used.
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice entire baguette. Take a kitchen sheers and cut each slice into strips and then cubes until entire loaf is used. Place bread cubes into a one gallon ziplock bag. Melt butter in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 30 seconds. When liquified, remove from microwave. Add olive oil and spices. Stir until blended. Pour over bread cubes. Seal bag and shake well to cover until all liquid is absorbed. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Empty contents of bag to form a single layer. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over with metal spatula and then bake 10 minutes longer until crunchy. Do not burn. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.