Irish Beer and Cheese Bread

For a carbaholic like myself, there aren’t too many things that can top a cheesy loaf of bread. All you need to do is watch how quickly I can devour things such as pepperoni bread, my grandma’s bacon and cheese bread, cheesy breadsticks with pizza, and the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say, you can’t put bread and cheese in front of me and not expect me to inhale it like I had just suffered the rigors of one of those survivor men shows. A few years ago, I made a three cheese beer bread that was darn near awesome. It had loads of cheese, tons of flavor, and, of course, beer. Last year, Krissy over at Make It Naked gave me a heads up that she had adapted my recipe to make it Irish-themed for St. Patrick’s Day. Brilliant! I loved her version and couldn’t wait to give it a try myself once the holiday rolled around again. So, here we are!

This is an amazing loaf of beer cheese bread that includes Irish ale as well Dubliner, an Irish cheese spiked with stout that adds a really nice tang and sharpness to the bread. It’s a perfect way to work Irish beer into a recipe that doesn’t necessitate busting out any Guinness. I found Smithwick’s at the local grocery store, but if you have a particular favorite, feel free to use it, just make sure that you use an ale, not a stout. A stout would be too heavy and overpowering in this recipe. I found the Dubliner cheese in the specialty cheese section of the local grocery store. If you are unable to find any Irish cheese just increase equal amounts of the other two cheddar cheeses.

This bread is heaven, in a nutshell. Aside from all of the cheese and the beer, it has robust flavor and just a hint of spice. It’s the perfect backdrop for endless variations depending on your personal tastes. I am already brainstorming some ideas for an Italian version of the bread that I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, I encourage you to bake this up for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. It would make a fabulous breakfast bread. You know, to eat alongside your first green beer of the day.

One year ago: Homemade Shamrock Shake
Two years ago: Irish Soda Bread Scones
Three years ago: Irish Soda Bread
Five years ago: Super Sugar Cookies

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Irish Beer and Cheese Bread

Ingredients:

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

8 ounces extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

4 ounces Dubliner cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

3¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon white pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1¼ cups Irish ale (I used Smithwick's)

¾ cup sour cream

1 egg

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.


2. Measure out ¼ cup of the sharp cheddar, ¼ cup of the white cheddar and 2 tablespoons of the Dubliner and reserve for topping the bread later.


3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining cheese, the flour, baking powder, dry mustard, salt, cayenne, white pepper, and garlic. Stir to ensure that all of the cheese is coated with flour.


4. In a small bowl, whisk together the beer, sour cream, egg, and Worcestershire sauce.


5. Pour the beer mixture into the cheese and flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the dough until just combined. Spoon the dough into the prepared loaf pan, using a spatula to even out the top. Mix together the reserved cheeses and sprinkle evenly on top.


6. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (or, if you have an instant-read thermometer, the middle of the bread reaches 190 degrees F).


7. Remove bread from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and continue to cool. When the bottom of the pan can be touched, turn the bread out and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.


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(Recipe adapted from Make It Naked)


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