Cooking with beer… for kids? Well, it’s not exactly as shocking as it sounds. Beer adds a hearty, yeast-y flavor to many baked or stewed dishes. The alcohol content isn’t much of an issue because you don’t use that much beer in any given recipe, and most of it burns off in cooking. And for many of us with German or other European backgrounds, it’s not unusual to have a family meal with sausages cooked in beer, beer in stews, or beer in bread.
After touring the Sierra Nevada brewery last month, and with the onset of some chilly weather, we were inspired to do some cooking with beer. At Sierra Nevada, Chef Micheal Iles tempted us with a series of mouth-watering treats, ranging from beer-battered onion rings to hamburger buns made from spent grain. We also were impressed with the whole ethos of the Sierra Nevada company (emphasis on sustainability, minimal environmental footprint) and we knew that this was a company that we could support.
For these Celebration Beer Rolls, we found inspiration from two of our favorite things: The Cheddar, Beer, and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread from Smitten Kitchen, and the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits from MB Post. (Seriously, these biscuits have such a cult following they even have their own Facebook page.) We decided to use the aptly-named Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada, a rich, caramel-colored fresh hop ale that is available in the fall and winter months. With bacon, cheddar, and beer in the mix, we added in a few beautiful shallots from Melissa’s and we knew we had a winning combination.
Celebration Beer Rolls
For the Bread:
4 T. butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup Celebration ale
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 T. granulated sugar
1 envelope instant yeast
1 tsp. salt
For the Filling:
2 T. butter, melted
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
4 strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 T. butter, melted
Heat the 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup of Celebration Ale together in a small saucepan until the butter has melted. Remove the mixture from heat and add the additional 1/3 cup beer. Set the mixture aside to cool down slightly – it should be a little warmer than your hand.
Meanwhile, using a stand mixer, stir together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast and the salt. With the mixer on low, pour in the beer mixture, mixing only until the flour is moistened. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour, stirring until just combined. Using the mixer’s dough hook, knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes on low.
Grease a medium/large bowl and transfer dough to it. Cover loosely with a towel, and set it in a warm, dry place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a large lightly floured counter or board (the dough should be soft and pliable). With a rolling pin, roll it out into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle.
Assembly: Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter. Top evenly with the cheddar, shallots, and bacon. Cut the dough into strips that are about two inches wide and 10 inches long. Roll them up and place them, standing, in a greased 8-inch circular pan (or a large bread pan). Cover the rolls with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 more minutes.
When the rolls have risen, bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until light golden brown. Brush with final 2 T. melted butter. Serve while still warm if possible. Serves 8.
Want other ideas? Check out Sierra Nevada’s Flavor Up the Season page for more tasty recipes.
Blogger disclosure: Sierra Nevada gave us some Celebration Ale to cook with; we were not otherwise compensated for this post.