|Smoky bacon cheddar maple bacon beer bread: booya.|
Really, I thought that I likely wouldn't even need to write a post to go along with the photo and the recipe.
But it's a good story...
On a drive home to Vermont from Boston a few weeks ago, we stopped for dinner at the Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon, NH. Our waiter, Fred, who was a complete hoot, gave us a taste of their new Maple Ale, brewed on site with local New Hampshire maple syrup.
You know how you go to these microbreweries and they're serving their special, seasonal Cherry Prune Tangerine Yeasty Goodness or whatever and it tastes nothing like cherries, prunes or tangerines, only yeast?
This was not one of those. Honestly, I could taste the maple.
So, of course, we had to buy a growler of the stuff. We are impulse buyers like that. Waiters like Fred love us. So much so that they give us free dessert.
Once home, however, we realized that a growler holds a lot of beer -- beer that will go flat if you don't drink it or use it within a day or two. So, over a glass or two, I contemplated what I could cook with leftover maple ale. Here's the gist of the conversation I had with myself in my head:
How about beer bread? Yes, maple beer bread, that sounds wicked.Behold: Smoky bacon cheddar maple bacon beer bread.
And what goes with maple? Bacon. Duh. Bacon goes with everything.
Oooh! You know what would be awesome in there, too? Cheddar cheese. Cheesy maple bacon beer bread. Perfect.
Oh. My. GAWD. I just remembered: Cabot makes a smoky bacon cheddar cheese.
Double bacon. You're welcome.
Oh, and another thing? Not only is this smoky bacon cheddar maple bacon beer bread awesome alongside a bowl of southwestern bean soup or crockpot turkey chili, it also makes an over-the-top toad-in-the-hole breakfast: butter it on both sides, cut out the middle with a biscuit cutter, pop it in a frying pan and crack an egg in the hole.
You're doubly welcome.
Smoky Bacon Cheddar Maple Bacon Beer Bread
Note: This bread freezes well so go ahead, make two loaves and freeze one for another time.
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
14 ounces maple ale (or any darker, flavorful ale or beer -- NOT light beer or pale ale)
4-5 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
1 1/2 cups Cabot Smoky Bacon cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the maple syrup, ale, bacon and 1 cup of the cheese. Mix until combined. Scrape the dough into a prepared loaf pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.