Hard Pumpkin Cider and Sage Bread

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I love bread. Well, I actually love all baked goods but honestly, is there anything better than homemade bread? The only problem with making bread from scratch is that it usually takes hours, or even days, to make. And even if you follow the recipe exactly, bread ingredients are so fickle and the procedures are so intricate that your finished bread might not even turn out as you hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I love my time spent in the kitchen when I’m baking a sourdough loaf, but sometimes I just want a quick bread that can easily be a finishing touch to a main dish. Enter beer bread. Typically containing only a small handful of ingredients, beer bread can be prepped in the amount of time it takes you to pop the cap off of your favorite brew. The trick that makes this bread so successful is in the beer itself. The yeast and sugars, combined with a leavening agent like baking powder, transforms the dense dough to a fluffy, crusty bread. And since there are basically a bazillion types of beer out there, no two beer breads have to be alike. I happened to have some hard pumpkin cider in my fridge so I opted for seasonal flavors with this recipe. But seriously, the sky’s the limit. Can you think of a better way to use up that beer you have crowding up your fridge? Besides drink it, of course.

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Hard Pumpkin Cider and Sage Bread

Yields 10 slices

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz beer or hard cider
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. minced sage, fresh or dried
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tbsp. shaved pecorino romano cheese (or your favorite salty, hard cheese)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

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Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease the inside of a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl, mix the sifted flour, baking powder, sage, salt, and 2 tbsp. pecorino cheese together. Pour in the beer or hard cider and stir until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Pour the butter over the top, sprinkle with remaining shaved cheese, and place in the oven. Bake the bread for 50-55  minutes, or until the top has a golden crust. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack for an additional 10 minutes before slicing.

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