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.
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.
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!)
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.
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
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)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together to remove lumps.
- Pour in beer and stir until just combined.
- Fold in cheddar and bacon, if using.
- Spread evenly into prepared pan, then top with remaining oats.
- Bake 50-60 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool on the counter about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve with butter, either solo or alongside your favorite chili.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a pan or coat thinly with olive oil.
- Combine broccoli, olive oil, and spices in a bowl; stir until well coated.
- Spread evenly on prepared pan and roast until broccoli is starting to char, about 20 minutes. (Or to your desired texture.)
- When the broccoli is nearly done, heat additional oil or butter in a small lidded frying pan over medium-low heat.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve immediately; would be extra fantastic with a cup of broccoli cheese or beer cheese soup for dipping!