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Friday, March 11, 2016

Guinness Bread ♣

We recently had one of the best meals we have had in a long time at l'écrivain in Dublin.

Everything about the evening was perfect.   The restaurant's decor was elegant and comfortable, the staff were friendly and helpful, the service was excellent and the food was imaginative with great flavor combinations, showcasing really good ingredients. What was even better, was the lack of pretension that you can sometimes have in these kind of places.  When we were leaving, the chef, Derry Clarke (very well known in Ireland) waved to us from the kitchen.  Here are a man and woman (he and his wife work together) who love what they do and it shows in every aspect of the dining experience.  It was a great night.

We were given a selection of bread to choose from to accompany our meal and were both intrigued by the Guinness bread.  Well, when in Dublin ....

This was a wonderful discovery.  The bread is slightly sweet because of the molasses and has the texture of a light banana bread. The hint of Guinness flavor is interesting but not at all overpowering.  Served with a nice whipped butter, it was delicious. 

As I thought about different ways of serving it, I imagined the flavours would go very nicely served with cream cheese or fresh chèvre and smoked salmon.  Check out the end of this post to see how to make prepare it this way.   I hope you enjoy.

Guinness Bread:   makes one loaf

How to make it:  
  • 3 cups (360g) of flour
  • 1/3 cup (40g) oats
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick - 55g) of cold butter
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) of buttermilk (use regular milk and add 2t of white vinegar to create buttermilk if you don't have any - let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) of molasses
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) of Guinness beer
  • Chopped walnuts/pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).  Oil and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour (3 cups - 360g), the baking powder (4t), the salt (1/4t) and the oats (1/3 cup - 40g).  Stir to combine.

Add the cold cubed butter (1/4 cup - 55g) and using either a pastry cutter, 2 knives or a fork, cut it into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients: buttermilk (3/4 cup - 180ml) the Guinness (3/4 cup - 180ml) and the molasses (1/3 cup - 80ml).

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  

With a fork, begin to pull in the flour a little at a time and mix it into the wet ingredients.  Continue until everything is well combined.   

Add the chopped walnuts (about 1/3 cup - 80ml) and stir just to combine - don't over mix. 

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, sprinkle the top with some oats and bake for 50 - 55 minutes in the middle section of your oven (insert a toothpick into the centre - if it comes out  clean and dry, it is ready).   Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.  Try it toasted the next day.  Excellent.

1/2 cup (120ml) of cream cheese or fresh chèvre with zest of one lemon and some freshly ground pepper + smoked salmon and pea shoots as garnish.  Try the bread toasted too.  It is delicious.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you I can postpone a desirable trip to Ireland...because now, I have this recipe. With these ingredients...how can I go wrong ;o)
    Did I mention how much I love bread! It must be the the sugar high that gets me every time.

    Flavourful wishes,


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