Beer Bread Two Ways: Jalapeno, Pipelchouma, and Cheddar, and Black Olive and Feta

Jalapeno Cheese Beer Bread!
Jalapeno Cheese Beer Bread!

I’ve been on a bread making kick lately.  See my previous post about jam!  Good jam needs good bread.  Also, the more pregnant I am, the more fruit I want in all the different ways I can get it.  I like it fresh, frozen and blended into a smoothie, baked into a croissant, and made into a bright, fresh jam slathered onto a piece of good bread.  So I’ve been making ciabatta every weekend for weeks now, and I love ciabatta because it’s versatile (post on easy ciabatta loves coming soon!), but I wanted to change it up a little last weekend.

I had jalapeño beer bread on my mind.   I had seen it flash by in a Twitter post and while I don’t think I even clicked the link, it stuck in my mind you know?  A few days later, I was searching recipes online.  I found this one from Spicy Southern Kitchen, and made it exactly as is the first time.  It took about 10 minutes to throw everything in my mixer, mix it, and get it in the oven.  45 minutes later, we were slicing cheesy bread and slathering it with butter, jam, cream cheese, and even just eating it by itself.  And it. Was.  Amazing.  Both spicy, cheesy, and bursting with yeasty flavor, it has both sweet and spicy elements, and is crispy on the outside, velvety soft on the inside.  I like it by itself, topped with just some melted butter, or topped with butter and jam, or cream cheese cand jam.  No!  Seriously!  Try it like that if you like savory, spicy, creamy, and sweet together.  It’s either delicious, or you can blame my pregnancy 🙂

But then I got to thinking.  This seems like such an easy, adaptable bread.  Why  not try something different with it?  Especially as this bread is so quick and easy.  You can whip it up for impromptu company, and you can wrap it up nicely and give it as a gift.  I’m planning on making several loaves for our upcoming baby shower, as thank you to people who bring us gifts.

Jalapeno Cheese Beer Bread is surprisingly light and tasty.
Jalapeno Cheese Beer Bread is surprisingly light and tasty.

I have in my pantry a lot of spices.  I have in fact a door of spices.  I assure you this is normal and I AM IN NO WAY STRANGE.  You probably also have a spice rack the size of your door bulging with spices, right? Right?  I can’t be the only one?

So as the recipe calls for a touch of red cayenne pepper, I decided to play with it a bit.  Like any good self respecting New Orleanian, I added a bit of Tony Chachere’s.  But I have this middle eastern spice collection from Trader Joe’s, and the Pipelchuma sounded (and smelled) like it would be a great fit.  It’s a blend of chiles and garlic, and is great added to a bit of olive oil for dipping bread into.  So I added it in.  And in my opinion, it really sets this bread off.  My recipe adaptation follows below.  You’ll notice I also cut down the butter.  I really don’t think it needs as much as the original recipe calls for – this bread is pretty moist, and has tons of flavor and crispy edges without it.

But then I was thinking.  I have friends coming over for dinner who don’t like jalapeños.  Could I make this bread with a variation?  I decided to try olives and feta.  Let me just say, I like this bread almost as much, though it seems to me a very different animal.  I think this bread gifts equally well, and would also be delicious served along with a soup, chili, or topped with a runny egg at breakfast.  In other words, I could eat this any time of day and be happy.

Jalapeno, Cheddar, and Pipelchouma Beer Bread
Adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen

3 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of salt
1.5 to 2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Teaspoon Pipelchouma (you can me this blend by adding in….)
1/4 Teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided in to 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup portions
1 12 oz bottle beer (For this bread I use Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale)
2-3 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pats
1-2 Jalapeños, depending on size, sliced

  1.  Preheat oven to 35o degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, Pipelchouma, and Tony Chachere’s.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of cheese and beer and mix until a wet dough has formed.  Be careful not to over mix, or you’ll end up building up too much gluten.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Top with sliced jalapeños.
  7. Place pats of butter all over the top of the batter.
  8. Top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges look crispy.

 

Black Olive and Feta Beer Bread

3 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of salt
1.5 to 2 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Teaspoon Pipelchouma (you can me this blend by adding in….)
1/4 Teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
1 cup shredded crumbled feta cheese, divided in to 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup portions
1 12 oz bottle beer (For this bread I use Abita Amber – but feel free to experiment!)
2-3 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pats
1/2 cup sliced olives, plus a few whole olives for decorating the top

  1.  Preheat oven to 35o degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, Pipelchouma, and Tony Chachere’s.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of cheese, 1/2 cup of olives, and beer and mix until a wet dough has formed.  Be careful not to over mix, or you’ll end up building up too much gluten and macerating the olives.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Top with sliced remaining sliced olives.
  7. Place pats of butter all over the top of the batter.
  8. Top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges look crispy.
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