Breads & Muffins

Katie’s Test Kitchen

Meet Katie. She’s actually a friend of a friend who enthusiastically reached out to share one of her family recipes.  After learning more about said recipe, we thought it only appropriate to share it with you through the Guest Test Kitchen. We were equally enthusiastic to try it out ourselves.  Some of you may already know that Chrystal has a semi-obsession with bread.  Amir is not a bread fan, but he has been a fanatic of Woodchuck Hard Cider since college (introduced to him by the earlier friend of a friend reference). So, a new bread recipe–especially one with Woodchuck–was only fitting to feature.  Here’s Katie with more.

In all honesty, this is just a sassied-up version of a standard beer bread recipe.  My dad gave me this recipe when I was in college and having fun experimenting with my new-found cooking and baking skills.   My favorite part of the recipe was Dad’s note telling me “you can tweak this recipe in all kinds of ways” and “you can’t mess this up”.  And he was right! (Well, mostly right. I did learn that substituting quinoa flour for regular flour will result in a neon-green, entirely inedible bread.)

Over time, Dad suggested adding things like cheese, browned onions, pepperoni, and various other things to beer bread, although I never got more adventurous than throwing in a handful of shredded cheese. One day, I realized that hard cider would probably act the same way in the recipe, but instead of going in the savory direction, you would end up with something sweeter. One bottle of Woodchuck Amber and one granny smith apple later, I had the most fantastic Hard Apple Cider Bread ever. This time, I decided to put pears in the spotlight, mostly due to my recent re-discovery of my immense love for pears.

Hard Cider Bread – Serves 10
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (plus optional extra for adding to dough)
12 ounces hard cider
1 complementary fruit (in this case, pear), peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
Unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x5″ pan with butter and lightly coat it with flour.

2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the fruit, and then add the cider. If the dough is too sticky and not all of the dry ingredients have been mixed in, you may have to add a bit more cider (hence the approximate measurement). This is a very flexible recipe, and the amount of cider used often depends on the weather and humidity.

3. Place approximately half of the dough in the pan, add a light layer of cinnamon (optional), then add the rest of the dough on top.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on top.

If you take out the fruit and replace the cider with beer, you have Dad’s Beer Bread. And as long as you stay away from quinoa flour and light beer (which for some reason also totally messes up the recipe), it’s true–there’s almost nothing you can do to mess this recipe up!

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


24 thoughts on “Katie’s Test Kitchen

  1. Ooh yummy!! And so quick! I did make a measuring error and I think I only put in about 1/8 cup of sugar, but as we found the sweetness just right, I think it was a good error! My bread baked at 175 C in 45 minutes, but as I have both a new oven and a new pan it could have something to do with them rather than the recipe. 🙂 We had this with salami-tomato sauce and pasta, and it went perfectly with the saltiness of the sauce. Will definitely make again! Thanks for posting!

  2. I made this last night with a couple small changes. I didn’t have any apples or pears, so I left the fresh fruit out. I split the dough in half, put one layer in the pan, added a layer of apple butter and then topped it with the other half of the dough. I also used whole grain flour rather than A/P flour because that’s all I had. It turned out really good, but I can see how the fruit would make it better.

    Very nice recipe.

  3. YUM! I love beer bread….. even though making a fresh loaf of bread after watching it rise all day is very satisfying this is so fast and fun and easy!!!!

    (also I have used those lemon-y summer beers and they are great too!)

  4. What a great idea and recipe! I discovered Woodchuck for marinated pork, and now this…I have a weakness for sweet breads, so this is also going on my keeper list!

  5. I love hard cidar!! But since being diabetic, there are way too many carbs to be insulin worthy – but I do have at least two over the summer! 😀

  6. Ummmm… yeah. I could definitely get down with throwing some cheese in there. Looks DELISH!

    And seriously Amir, you don’t like bread?!?! I’m crushed!

  7. I am possibly one of the biggest hard cider fans out there. It’s a problem because I kind of drink them like soda. (Aren’t they?)

    This quickbread sounds delicious!

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