KitchenWise: Onion Beer Bread is a crowd- pleaser. It's also easy to make. Unlike more conventional breads, this one doesn't involve yeast or require multiple risings.
A larger-than-usual crowd meeting up at your house for dinner? This Onion Beer Bread would add a lot to the menu. It's delicious, of course, but it's also very easy to whip up. Unlike more conventional breads, this one doesn't involve yeast or require multiple risings. And except for the rosemary, you probably have all the ingredients in the house.
The dough is a basic mix of flour, sugar, salt and leavener combined with your choice of beer, topped with buttery onions, garlic and more butter. The result has a very moist and tender crumb.
Fair warning, though — this dough is thick and sticky. It will look like nothing but a lumpy mess when you put it in the pan and spread it out. Twenty minutes later, after it's been baked, it will be transformed into enticing, golden, glistening bread.
The best gizmo for spreading the dough in the pan is a baker's tool known as an offset metal spatula, but a rubber spatula will also get the job done. Whichever you use, grease it by dipping it into the onion butter mixture so that it won't stick to the batter as you spread it. And, by the way, the surface of the bread doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. This is rustic bread.
Onion Beer Bread will make your whole house smell heavenly as it bakes. I recommend serving it right out of the oven, but it's still darn tasty at room temperature or even cold.
Onion Beer Bread
Start to finish: 60 minutes (20 active)
1 stick butter
2 cups thin sliced onion rings (about 1 medium onion)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
360 grams (about 3 cups) unbleached flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
One 12-ounce bottle beer (your choice)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the butter, onion and garlic in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish and set the pan in the oven while it is preheating (keep an eye on the butter; it might brown a little which is fine, but don't let it get too brown).
In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the beer and stir just until it is mixed. The dough will be sticky and heavy.
When the butter is melted, pour the butter, onion rings and garlic into a bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon of butter in the baking dish. Using a pastry brush coat the bottom and the sides of the baking dish evenly with the butter. Spoon the bread dough into the pan and spread it evenly. Divide the onions over the top of the dough and drizzle the melted butter and garlic over the onions. Sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the dough.
Bake the bread in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. Cut the bread into 24 squares and serve right away.
Nutritional information: 201 calories; 71 calories from fat; 8 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 394 mg sodium; 26 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 3 g protein.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sara Moulton is host of public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals." She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows including "Cooking Live." Her latest cookbook is "HomeCooking 101."
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