Inspired by Bisoux at The Great American Breakfast Quest (former Cairene, by the way), I decided to try a Cairo twist on her recipe for Agave Beer Bread. While she suggests the bread as a perfect activity for those snowed in on the East Coast of the US, ideally paired with blanket fortresses and Scrabble extravaganzas, I didn’t think I could wait till I see snow again to try this creation. I’ll also have to wait to try her Guinness, Vermot Wheat Beer, and Pennsylvania Lager variations, but that just can’t be helped, so until then, I’ll settle for Stella.
This recipe is for those of you who simply can’t get enough Stella for all the Baladi Bars in Cairo, those who claim Stella runs through your veins, who scoff at foreigner friends’ inquiries of “Oh, do you mean Artois?” – and also for those of you who have admitted to yourself that, garnished with a lemon or not, you’re just holding out for those beers from home, and perhaps “The Taste of Egypt” will taste better baked in the oven.
The advantages of this bread, as Bisoux enthuses, are that it takes just an hour to make – no kneading, rising, or entire afternoons needed. “It’s a good way to use up those extra bottles of beer leftover after a party. Oh, and it’s pretty much foolproof!” The crust to this bread is simply divine: thick, crusty, and obviously blessed by the Stella Fairy (surely it’s not due to the amount of butter drizzled on top pre-baking!). The bread itself is somewhere between a traditional savory loaf, and a sweeter, more cake-y bread like banana bread. Try it with cheese (Egyptian Cheddar is always a good choice), jam, or more butter, perhaps graced by a sprinkling of cinnamon & sugar.
Recipe after the jump.
Honey Stella Bread
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 small can beer (330ml)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 °F / 175 °C. (Our oven, temperamental creature that it is, insists on burning the bottom of everything we bake, even at the lowest temperature setting. Consider investing in an oven temperature gauge, as TBE has previously suggested, or if you’re as of yet unfamiliar with the disposition of your oven, remember to check the loaf frequently, and adjust the temperature as needed. Also, the copious amounts of butter melted overtop the loaf have a tendency of bubbling over as the loaf rises, dripping on to the bottom of the oven, and burning. If the loaf nearly fills the pan you’re baking it in, put something underneath the pan to catch any dripping butter.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the beer and honey.
3. Pour half of the melted butter into the loaf pan. Spoon batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (While the loaf is in the oven, try your hand at the online Stella Bar Game.)
5. Let cool, and serve!