Cooped Up Cooking: Episode 03

Brunch & Bread

Brunch & Bread Bonanza by Chef Amy

This week we are making one of my favourite quick and easy no-knead breads, beer bread! The reason I love this bread so much is it requires no prep time, no sourdough starter required, no rise time required, It’s a one-bowl, one loaf-pan bread, simple and easy cleanup! The version that I make is a very hearty dark brown bread and I usually load it up with lots of seeds. This time I made a version with everything bagel seasoning. I like my original recipe better so I am going to post that one. The other beauty of this bread is that you can basically use any type of flour; white, whole-wheat, spelt, etc. You can use almost any type of beer, I just recommend avoiding IPA’s or bitter beers and avoid bitter non-alcoholic beers. The other beauty is you can make this a sweeter loaf like cinnamon/raisin or a savoury herby loaf with rosemary, garlic and cheese. Let’s get creative!

(I know that some of you won’t have a beer at home and so for you folks, I’m going to post a link to an Irish soda bread recipe that uses buttermilk and baking soda as the raising agents and stay tuned for some GF bread options in the future)

Easy Beer Bread

2 cups beer (500ml)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of sesame seeds (toasted/optional)
2 tablespoons of flax seeds (ground/optional)
2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds(optional)
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of wholegrain flour
2 tbsp distilled water

1. Mix all ingredients together, mix well with a wooden spoon. (Save some seeds to put on top.)
2. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan well and dust with flour to stop the bread from sticking, add bread mix, and top with leftover seeds.
3. Bake for 45-55min at 375F, check by inserting a knife into the center of the bread and if it comes out clean then the bread is done. 

No beer at home? Try this Irish Soda Bread instead:

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

(great addition to stews & soups)

Ingredients
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2¼ cups buttermilk (add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk let stand 10 minutes)

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with a little flour.
2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk.
3. Using one hand, stir in full circles (starting in the center of the bowl working toward the outside of the bowl) until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, in a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Clean dough off your hand.
4. Pat and roll the dough gently with floury hands, just enough to tidy it up and give it a round shape. Flip over and flatten slightly to about 2 inches. Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet. Mark with a deep cross using a serrated knife and prick each of the four quadrants. Bake the bread for 20 minutes.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to bake until the loaf is brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes more. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.
Easy cleanup: Recipes that require cooking spray can leave behind a sticky residue that can be hard to clean. To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you apply the cooking spray.


Basic Frittata Formula

12 eggs, whisked just until the egg yolks and whites are blended
3 tablespoons full-fat dairy
3 cups cooked and seasoned vegetables or other add-ins
1 cup grated or crumbled cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Common veggie combinations:

• Spinach, artichoke and feta cheese
• Broccoli, cheddar and green onion
• Cremini mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese
• Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella and basil
• Yellow onion, carrot, bell pepper, goat cheese and chives

Refer to this blog post for all the tips and tricks to doing this at home in different methods.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for the traditional stovetop method, or 350 degrees for the baked methods (casserole or mini/muffins).
2. Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Add your dairy of choice. Whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are blended. Whisk in all or half of the cheese (you can reserve the other half for topping the frittata before baking). Set the mixture aside.
3. Warm the olive oil/veg oil/bacon fat in a 12″ cast iron skillet or oven-safe non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the vegetables, starting with chopped onions or other dense vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then add any softer vegetables such as zucchini. Cook until those vegetables are tender, then add any garlic or greens, and cook until fragrant or wilted. Season with salt, to taste.
4. Traditional stovetop option: Whisk the eggs once more and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir with a spatula briefly to combine and distribute the mixture evenly across the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata now.
5. Once the outside edge of the frittata turns lighter in color (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), carefully transfer the frittata to the oven. Bake for 7 to 14 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the center of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shimmy. Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.

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