There's something really appealing about country-style food. I was leafing through a magazine recently (can't recall exactly what it was but there was a lot of celebrity gossip) when I stumbled upon a country-themed recipe section. Loads of good stuff: scones, chunky soup, pot pies etc.
When I think of country food, I'm thinking 'hearty', 'fresh' and lots of milk, eggs, cheese and herbs. Mmm... I spent a while copying out recipes by hand. One that I decided to follow through today was the beer damper recipe.
I must admit I have a bit of Chris-from-MasterChef in me... I think beer in food seems kind of quirky and interesting, rather than tacky. Besides, I did a quick Google search and beer damper is apparently quite traditional so I'm not just honing in on a fad.
I halved the original recipe when I made mine and ended up with a little cob loaf that serves about 2-3 people. You can double this recipe to make more.
- 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour (I used 1 cup plain and 1/2 cup wholemeal)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley (packed)
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 a 375ml can of beer (about 180mL, I used VB)
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together (word of warning: don't sift your wholemeal flour, if that's what you're using - I did this out of stupidity and all the husky bits got stuck in my flour sifter).
3. Stir in the Parmesan, parsley and caster sugar.4. Make a well and add beer. Mix gently (do not overmix). If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour until it comes together to a ball.5. Kneed the dough lightly on a floured surface. Form into a ball.
6. Place onto the tray and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Score the surface of the dough (I forgot to score mine but it came out OK).7. Bake for 35-40min until the top is golden and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it from the bottom.8. Cool for 5-10min before serving. Serve warm with butter.
I had a great time with this... I've mentioned in the past that nothing beats really good bread and butter. Simple but freaking awesome. This struck a note with me for similar reasons. I sliced my damper into wedges and had a couple of pieces slathered with butter. So good (not TOO unhealthy either because remember, we didn't add oil/butter to the dough).
The texture is a bit like a savory scone, slightly sticky and moist. The crust is divine - cheesy and crunchy. When I took the bread out of the oven and cut it, the beer aroma was pretty heady and I got a bit anxious but the flavor of the beer isn't overpowering at all. Even the cheese and parsley flavors are subtle and just compliment the damper nicely.
I was going to have mine with a bowl of soup but I think it's great just on its own (with butter of course).