For sweet breads the best beer to use is a stout or porter . This recipe is also easily modified to make a savory bread. Use a lighter beer, such as a pale ale, and then substitute something savory for the chocolate, cherries and nuts (think sundried tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese).
And now, without further adieu, here is the recipe:
Chocolate Cherry Beer Bread
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
12 oz porter or stout beer
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped
1/4 cup sweetened dried cherries (cranberries also work nicely)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
2 tsbp sugar
- Add beer, yeast and 2 cups flour to stand mixer bowl. Stir by hand until well mixed. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
- Remove mixture from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
- Place bowl in stand mixer and attach dough hook.
- Add salt and remaining flour. Mix at low speed until dry ingredients are incorporated. Increase speed to medium and knead dough for approximately two minutes. If dough is sticky add flour 1 tsbp at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
- Remove from mixer and place on lightly floured surface. Knead in cherries, chocolate and nuts.
- Coat bottom and sides of a large mixing bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl turning to coat all surfaces. Cover with a dishcloth* and allow to rise in a warm area one to two hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down dough and let rest five minutes.
- Remove from bowl and form a round loaf.
- Place a piece of parchment paper or silpat mat on a baking sheet.
- Place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for one to two hours or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Lightly beat egg white and water. Brush lightly over loaf covering all exposed surfaces.
- Sprinkle with sugar. You may also sprinkle with additional nuts if desired.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking rack.
- Dig in and enjoy!
* Plastic wrap would probably work as well as a dishcloth. However, in my humble opinion, it's not nearly as pretty. Half the reason I bake breads is to put my pretty kitchen towel to use.