Adventures with Beer Bread

Since being on materinty leave I’ve had the increasing urge to bake bread.  Not sure where it’s come from or why.  I quite like to cook, and make cakes reasonably often.  But I’e never had the desire to do anything too complicated that might require kneading or “leaving to rise”.  My one attempt at making scones was a bit of a disaster as I couldn’t get right the amount of stirring time.  Too little stirring and you have lumps of flour.  Too much stirring and your scones are hard rather than light and fluffy.  Mine were hard as rock!

So it was quite a surprise when I started clicking on links involving bread related cooking recipes in my news feed rather than just scrolling past. Then I even started bookmarking a few.  Noting down some of the basic recipe ingredients, I thought I’d better buy some yeast to keep in the cupboard just in case the urge got stronger at a time when I couldn’t make it to the shops; I’d better make sure I had the tools in hand! I even bought a bread tin for the oven.

Then one day the following link caught my eye: How to make Beer Bread

There was no way I wouldn’t click on that! And to my surprise the recipe involved no yeast, no kneading, no leaving to rise.  In fact it was easier than most cakes I’ve made! (And in case you’re wondering, no I don’t work for Craftsy, no I don’t receive any money from Craftsy.)  I really did have all the ingredients in the fridge. Albeit the most important ingredient, beer, was in the outdoor fridge!

What appealed to me most (well probably a close second behind how easy it looked) was that it was a great base recipe to which you could add whatever you wanted for endless variety.  I decided to do it by the book for the first time to see how it would turn out.  For those in Australia, to save you doing the conversions, I used the following measurements (only some are different from Craftsy page):

– 3 cups plain flour

– 2 teaspoons of baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 2 tablespoons of caster sugar

– 55 grams of butter

– 1 bottle of Crown Lager (375 mls)

It worked a treat! Was a lovely flavour and perfect to eat warm with dollups of butter (and maybe jam if you’re feeling indulgent) and a cup of tea.  For a week it was my afternoon treat while bubs was napping.

Then last week I tried again only this time I used the following:

– All ingredients above except 1 bottle of Peroni (330mls)

– Generous handful of bottled sliced kalamata olives (and a bit of the juice too seeing as how there was less beer)

– Generous handful or two of grated parmesan cheese

Here is the result.

  

Next time I’m going to try to make it sweeter, with some sultanas and perhaps some spices too.  And I’m even thinking of adding some vegemite and cheese at some point.  So many possibilities!

Finished Objects Friday – Owlie Socks for Ang

Well its been over a year since my last post. 2014 was a big year for me; I found out I was pregnant in February and at almost exactly the same time I completely lost my crafting and blogging motivation.  I was so tired and sick in the first trimester that all my energy was put into my full time work and all hobbies took a backseat.

Things got better after the first trimester but I had lost momentum I guess.  Not to say I didn’t finish anything last year.  There were a few objects that I managed to complete through sheer stubbornness and necessity.  I’ll post a few images at the bottom of this post just to prove it!  But they were few and far between.

My son is now five months old and I think the crafting spark is starting to return.  Being at home on maternity leave doesn’t quite give me the time I’d hoped it would (usually when I get a spare moment I’m trying to catch up on sleep myself!), but I’m finding that taking a bit of time each day to spend knitting or crocheting is helping me to reconnect with the person I was before I became a mother.

Anyway on to the Finished Object! I started these Owlie Socks in January 2014 for a girlfriend who’s birthday is at the end of February.  There should have been no problem getting them done in time!  I completed the first sock by July 2014 and was quite proud of myself despite missing the original birthday.  I didn’t even start on the second sock until January 2015 where once again, I convinced myself that having them done by the next birthday shouldn’t be a problem!

Here we are in March and they’re finally done.  They’re probably the most intricate project I’ve done to date, but so long as you’re OK with double pointed needles, have knitted a sock before, and are familiar with cabling, you shouldn’t have any trouble.  I had never used beads in my knitting before but the pattern gives a link showing how to add them with a crochet hook.  It’s super easy and not something to be daunted by.

It does require concentration so it’s not the sort of thing you want to attempt when you’re tired or distracted or have to put it down constantly (i.e. if you are pregnant or have a newborn!) but the techniques themselves are not difficult.

The result, however, is pretty fabulous and garners lots of very satisfying “Oooo”s when you show people.

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The owls close up.

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There are plenty of mistakes of course; don’t think I’ve managed a project yet without errors! But that’s the charm of something handmade right? If we wanted perfect then it would be much easier, quicker and cheaper to buy these things from a shop.

Now I need to decide whether it’s time to start something new or go back and finish one of my other works in progress.  Perhaps Lempster seeing as how I will now fit into it for this winter?  Or perhaps my Boat Socks?  Or maybe I’ll spend a bit of time reacquainting myself with Ravelry.  Endless possibilities!

Check out other Finished Objects on Tami’s Blog.

And check out a few of the things I did manage to finish last year.

A lovely Beanis, which was a gift for one of my besties for her Hens party.

Beanis

And a couple of Halloween Dishclothes, which were a gift for another bestie who moved to Thailand last year.  Actually I made another of these for myself as my first project after my baby was born.  I needed something simple, but also used it to practice some continental knitting.  That might be the subject of another post!

Halloween Dishclothes