from an old newspaper comes this recipe for a bread which is quite similar to an irish soda bread.  this is not a light and fluffy bread, but rather a bread with character and density.  it would be wonderful to serve with a chili recipe or even a swiss or cheddar fondue.

it is easily made but will take at least 45 to 55 minutes to bake in the oven.  it does not require rising before baking. i would think that the basil could be easily substituted with a variety of herbs if desired.  personally, i like the flavor of basil which gives this bread a nice fresh taste.  it is terrific alone toasted in thin slices with butter, jam or honey.

to make the basil beer bread:  preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  lightly spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside.  in a large bowl, combine 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, with one .25 package active dry yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese.  stir together and add 12 ounces of beer.

stir just long enough for the bread to become a dough consistency.  using floured hands, knead the bread in the bowl until it comes totally together into a nice ball.  add in the basil. if using fresh chopped, add one cup.  if using dried, add 1/4 cup or less to taste.

shape the dough and place on the oiled baking sheet.  bake at 400 degrees for at least 45 minutes until golden brown.  a baking hint:  be sure to flatten the loaf to make it thinner, so it will cook evenly in the oven.  the loaf will be done when it passes the clean cake tester test.  transfer to a cooling rack and wait at least 10 minutes before slicing.

the bread will store in the refrigerator for several days and will be a tasty toasted snack later in the week.



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