Parmesan Pesto Swirled Beer Bread / by Chelsea Zwieg

For someone who doesn't like beer, I sure am cranking out the beer inspired recipes lately. There are just some things that are made so much better by beer. Like chili. Mac and cheese. And, of course, beer bread. The first time I made beer bread was because of this recipe from one of my favorite blogs. 5 ingredient bread with no yeast, no rising time and the most unbelievable sweet, yeasty taste and doughy texture. Yes, a thousand times over. And from there I went a little beer bread crazy. I posted this apple cheddar beer bread which is still my all time favorite and most often made. Then I wrote an article about beer bread using local Milwaukee beers. That was a year ago and I'm still not over the miracle that is caramel apple beer bread (make it!). But truthfully, you can never have too many beer bread recipes. So I decided to add another one to the masses by way of pesto swirls and lots of parmesan cheese .

You can use any kind of beer you want, just remember that the darker the beer, the more prominent the flavor will be. If you use a stout, the bread will be dark in color and taste pretty much only like beer. Since my beer enthusiasm doesn't stretch far beyond beer bread , I like to use a mild, lightish variety. For this one I used Oktoberfest because I'm not one to pass up on a limited-time-fall-gimmick. If you could do without the flavor of beer altogether, try using a hard cider. The texture will still be there but the flavor won't knock you off your seat. 

Just don't make my mistake and forget to buy the beer until the morning that you want to bake this. Unless you like going to the grocery store at 8:30am and purchasing nothing but a single bottle of beer. Naturally I had to explain to the cashier (in many, many words) that this wasn't my breakfast, and I just needed it for a recipe and blah blah blah. I don't think she cared or believed me. But really, it was worth it. I will take the stone cold judgement of a thousand early morning cashiers if it means I get to eat beer bread all week. 

Parmesan Pesto Swirled Beer Bread

My forever go-to beer bread base recipe is from the lovely Half Baked Harvest

| Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. beer (I used Oktoberfest. The darker the beer, the more prominent the flavor will be. So be sure you pick one you like.) 
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pesto 

| Instructions

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the beer and stir until combined. Stir in the cheese. 

Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Drop half of the pesto in spoonfuls across the dough. Use a knife to gently swirl it into the batter. Add the remaining batter and top with spoonfuls of the pesto. Swirl again with a knife. To get big, noticeable swirls make sure you are not stirring it around too much. Use the knife to drag the batter up from the bottom and fold it over the pesto pockets, rather than just moving it back and forth which will make the pesto blend and disappear. 

Sprinkle additional cheese on the top of the loaf, if desired. Bake 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the middle is set. Don't bother using a knife to test, it will just come up all pesto. It's worth noting that slightly underbaked beer bread is the best thing in the world, so don't fear that. Err on the side of pulling it a little early.