Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Hello friends – can you believe it’s already the last week of October? As usual autumn has flown by and also as usual, Montana doesn’t care that I’m not ready to have snow in the forecast every day this week. Fortunately, M got my winter bike all prepped for me so if the snow does stick at least I am physically prepared even if I am emotionally reluctant.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

To round out this Oktobeerbreadfest series, this last one is another savory take on a typically sweet palate. Chocolate is an extremely versatile flavor and despite its tendency towards use in sweet recipes, it can add an intriguing depth to savory varieties. A dash of cocoa in your chili can take it to a whole new level – and no, it won’t taste like a brownie. Like vanilla, chocolate is not sweet until you add sugar and so it can be even more interesting in your entrees than in your desserts. My recent love affair with Olivelle’s Vanilla Bean Sea Salt has me adding it to a number of fall veggies like squash and beets and trust me, it’s delightful.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

On that note, this is a chocolate bread not in the way you think of a sweet bread, but more in the way that beer and wine is described as having notes of chocolate in the flavor. (Except with recipe this it’s not a lie – you can actually taste the cocoa.) The addition is  subtle in flavor but adds just a little something extra to every bite.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The small amount of cocoa also deepens the coloring of the bread, resulting in a rich and rustic brown. Obviously this isn’t something that matters to everyone, but for those of us that know you do eat prettiness, it’s a happy side effect.

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This bread blends just as well with peanut butter as it does your favorite stew, making it an easy staple to keep around. I haven’t tried it (yet), but I have a hunch it would make some pretty fun French toast as well. Whether the other breads in the series spoke to you or not, I hope you give this one a try.

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

PS – Isn’t this cutting board beautiful? M’s grandparents gifted it to us when we visited last Christmas and I am loving it as a fall background for my photos!

Savory Cocoa Stout Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

12 oz chocolate/coffee stout (I used Obsidian Stout)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in stout and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan, smoothing the top as best you can.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or alongside stew. (And I haven’t tried it yet, but I would bet it’d be great as French toast, too.)
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Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

In the onslaught of pumpkin recipes that is autumn, there always seems to be a vast majority of them leaning sweet. Excepting the occasional soup, pasta, or chili, nearly all recipes (and certainly most of the baked goods) play with the sweet side of pumpkin’s uses. While I love a sweet pumpkin bread as much as the next girl, I was intrigued with the idea of going savory.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Much like the other breads, a few tweaks to the standard recipe resulted in just what I was going for. Definitely savory and with a prominent beer flavor, this one has gentle notes of pumpkin and sage that work well on their own or will pair nicely with your favorite fall chili.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

In addition to the subtle flavor change, the pumpkin adds a little moistness to the finished product. Lightly toasted, it works beautiful with butter or a spread, or to dip into soup. The savory beer flavor would be a lovely complement to a slightly sweeter squash soup, or make your chili extra hearty.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

The pumpkin-ness of this bread will depend largely on your choice of beer rather than the amount of puree. I made this recipe twice with the same pumpkin beer and the results were only vaguely different. On the plus side, it makes it a great recipe to use up leftover pumpkin, but on the downside it means you need to choose your beer wisely. As someone that doesn’t actually consume beer in its beverage form, I don’t have a lot of experience in beer picking, but the particular beer I chose was not hugely pumpkin flavored on its own. Choosing one that that is heavier on the pumpkin aspect would likely result in a stronger flavor within the bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

 

I opted to top my bread with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. This is largely for show (the pictures are way prettier, amirite?) but it also adds a nice crunch and gives some expectation as to what the bread flavor might be.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If, like me, you get burned out on the overwhelming amount of sweet pumpkin recipes, tone it down several notches and make a cozy loaf of bread.

Savory Pumpkin & Sage Beer Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar1
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped

12 oz pumpkin beer
1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin puree1

Garnish, optional
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried sage
pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan. If desired, mix together seeds, oil, and sage until seeds are coated, and sprinkle on top of the batter.
  5. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Perfect for toast or to accompany your favorite fall dinners.

Notes

There is not a great difference in flavor with this range, so just use whatever amount of pumpkin you need to use up. The larger amount results in a slightly more moist bread but that is the only noticeable difference.

If you do want a little sweeter bread, add up to 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

Oatmeal² Stout Bread

As much as I love getting creative with flavors and mix-ins, it’s also helpful to have a neutral bread that goes with almost anything. This recipe is for that category.

Oats are a staple in our house. M eats oatmeal every morning and it’s a regular option in my own diet in the winter as well. They find their way into cookies, bars, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, and breads for an easy change in texture and flavor without it being overwhelmingly different. Since oatmeal stout is a fairly common beer, combining it with the addition of actual oats seemed a no brainer.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

This bread combines a savory but neutral flavor, a lovely brown color, and a hearty texture into a delightfully rustic experience. Although reminiscent of the brown bread at Outback Steakhouse, it is less sweet and a totally different mouthfeel given the quick bread style instead of yeast. Regardless, it will pair beautifully with almost anything, from steak and potatoes to soups and stews to breakfast toast and lunchtime sandwiches. It is exceptionally delicious when lightly toasted (as I do with all my beer breads), and it will work with a variety of toppings depending on your mood or the rest of the meal.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Keep it savory by ditching the sugar entirely, or add a couple of tablespoons for just a little complement to the bitterness of the beer. Topping the bread with a couple tablespoons of whole oats adds visual interest and a little crunch from the toasted oats. It also makes it easy to differentiate from other breads if, like me, you’re making multiple loaves at once.

Oatmeal Stout Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

If soup season has finally hit your neck of the woods, consider this bread for a dipping companion. If not, peanut butter toast might be more up your alley.

Oatmeal² Stout Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 Tbsp old-fashioned oats, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1-2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

12 oz oatmeal stout

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to grind 1 cup of oats; leave it coarser for extra texture or do a fine ground to better match the other flours.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine ground oats, both flours, brown sugar (if desired), baking powder, and salt. Whisk together to remove lumps.
  4. Pour in stout and stir until just combined.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan, then top with remaining whole oats.
  6. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Perfect for toast or to accompany a hearty stew.

(Bacon & Cheddar) Herb Beer Bread

For week two of Oktobeerbreadfest we are going a bit more traditional. Beer, cheese, and a bacon are a lovely combination in soup form which gave me the inspiration for this bread. I added some fresh herbs (you can use dried herbs too) for something a little extra, and wound up with a bread that really shines alone, as well as being excellent to dip in tomato soup, craft a glorious grilled cheese, or serve with actual beer cheese soup.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Sharp cheddar is my cheese of choice here, but any cheddar or firm cheese would do nicely. Play around with the flavors to mix and match with your entrées and sandwiches. Crumbled bacon adds an extra savory note and a bit of texture, without overpowering the bread itself. If you only want a hint of bacon, I recommend just crumbling a slice or two on top of the loaf (before baking) rather than folding it into the batter itself.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Vegetarian or just not into bacon? Stick to just cheese and herbs and you’ll still wind up with something amazing. Vegan? Herb beer bread is excellent as well, or try your favorite vegan cheese substitute (and let me know how it turns out!)

Cheddar Herb Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

Extra cheddar and/or bacon will result in a grilled cheese for the ages; optionally, pair with a bottle of the beer you used in the bread to bring the whole meal together. For breakfast, top with a poached egg and extra herbs and you are good to go.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Bread {{Baking Bytes}}

 

Regardless of the variation(s) you try, this bread is a super easy way to get that cheesey, bready, goodness without needing the patience for yeast. Let me know your favorite combinations!

(Bacon & Cheddar) Herb Beer Bread

Makes one standard loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup white flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried herbs (I used a mix of basil and chive)

12 oz beer
4 oz sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
2-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together to remove lumps.
  3. Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
  4. Fold in cheddar and bacon, if using.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan, then top with remaining oats.
  6. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool on the counter about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Serve with butter, either solo or alongside your favorite chili.

Notes

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Broccoli Beer Bread Grilled Cheese

We’ve reached the final week of National Grilled Cheese Month and I’ve saved my favorite for last. I hope you enjoy it too!

One of my favorite flavor pairings is broccoli and cheese, and in my opinion broccoli cheese soup is the epitome of perfection for this palate. Although it can be extraordinarily unhealthy, it’s a comforting entrée perfect for a cold winter day. My favorite cookbook has a much healthier version using goat cheese that I meal prep for lunches semi regularly throughout the colder months. Although putting broccoli in a grilled cheese felt a little strange, I decided to try it anyway. The question remaining was which bread would complement it nicely.

Broccoli Beer Grilled Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

Despite not caring for beer in its original beverage form, I often enjoy it as an accent to both sweet and savory dishes and there are a handful of recipes on my blog that call for it. Beer bread is a favorite to serve with stews and chilis, and Guinness chocolate ice cream turns out to be pretty fantastic. Broccoli cheese soup is delicious accented with beer as well, and this thought lead me towards using a beer bread for this particular sandwich.

Broccoli Beer Grilled Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

Crispy roasted broccoli and melty sharp cheddar blend perfectly with the beer bread, and I strongly feel all three components are necessary for the full experience. You could certainly substitute an alternate bread (I would choose a whole wheat or seeded multi-grain) but the beer adds such a great twist that I promise it’s 100% worth the extra effort to make the loaf ahead of time. This sandwich combines several of my favorite things all into one and I can easily see it becoming somewhat of a staple, presuming I have the foresight to roast extra broccoli whenever possible. Great for beer lovers and broccoli lovers alike, this might even be a way to get a few extra veggies into what feels like a decadent meal.

Broccoli Beer Grilled Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

This was the fan favorite (although to be honest, they said that about all of them) and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Whether it’s cut in half for a great appetizer, served with a cup of broccoli cheese soup for a superbly warming experience, or thrown into your regular dinner rotation, this sandwich is surprisingly homey despite its thoroughly non-traditional expectations.

Broccoli Beer Grilled Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I hope you enjoyed the series and if you found a new favorite be sure to let me know!

Broccoli Beer Bread Grilled Cheese
Makes one sandwich

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

2 slices beer bread (reduce sugar to 2 Tbsp or less)
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar
olive oil or butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a pan or coat thinly with olive oil.
  2. Combine broccoli, olive oil, and spices in a bowl; stir until well coated.
  3. Spread evenly on prepared pan and roast until broccoli is starting to char, about 20 minutes. (Or to your desired texture.)
  4. When the broccoli is nearly done, heat additional oil or butter in a small lidded frying pan over medium-low heat.
  5. Mix together cheese with 1/4 cup broccoli until combined. (One head of broccoli is probably enough for 4-ish sandwiches, presuming your bread slices are small.)
  6. Lay bread in heated pan, then top one side with broccoli mixture. Put on the lid and heat until cheese is melty and bread is golden.
  7. Place empty slice on top of the broccoli (toasted side up) and then carefully flip the whole thing; cook an additional 30-60 seconds to allow the sandwich to meld together.
  8. Serve immediately; would be extra fantastic with a cup of broccoli cheese or beer cheese soup for dipping!