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Anise & Guinness Bread

This Friday I’m making Anise & Guinness Bread from Dough: Simple Contemporary Bread, by Richard Bertinet, my favorite bread baker. I’ve written about Richard Bertinet before, and wholeheartedly recommend his books to anyone who wants to learn to bake bread. Most of the recipes in his books are simple and get bread on the table within a couple of hours. However, his Anise & Guinness Bread is a rye dough, and that’s a bit of a game changer. This recipe takes about 6 hours from start to finish, most of the time spent rising while you watch telly or read a good book or take a nap with the dog on a lazy Sunday. The steps are very simple, though. Richard Bertinet uses a traditional French kneading method that is probably different from what you’ve seen before. I suggest watching his video on making doughnuts to see his technique. This method of kneading is what he uses for all dough. I have included the recipe below, but there’s no substitute for his book, which describes each step with detailed photos, and includes an instructional DVD.


Storyboard: Beer

Beer Storyboard (c)2011

What is Beer Made of?


Reading The Complete Handbook of Beers and Brewing by Brian Glover, my eyes were opened to the key role each ingredient plays in making a good beer. Even the minerals found in the water that goes into beer can have drastic effects on the color and flavor of the end product. Minerals like bicarbonate can affect acidity which changes how much sugar is extracted from the malt. Magnesium found in water is a nutrient yeast depend on for fermentation. For these reasons, breweries truly treasure their water sources. Some believe Guinness made in Ireland tastes better than Guinness made in other countries because of the water. The Coors Brewery here in Colorado boasts that snow melt from the Rocky Mountains gives their beer a better, more refreshing flavor.


According to The Complete Handbook of Beers and Brewing, malt is “the body and soul of a brew.” Malt determines much of the color and body in beer. Several cereal grains can be used for malt, such as wheat, oats, and rye, but barley is most commonly used because it provides the most sugar. To make malt, barley is dried for storage, then taken as needed and steeped in water to promote germination. The barley is removed from the water and spread onto a large area. It must be aerated regularly to allow the barley sprouts to grow. Germination produces sugar which will later feed the yeasts for fermentation. To preserve the sugars the malt is baked. Malt comes in several varieties depending on how much it is cooked and how strong the flavor is.


Cook in the Moment: Shellfish in German Beer Broth



Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I shared a recipe for Shellfish in German Beer Broth. Shrimp and mussels are cooked in Weissbier, a German wheat beer. It’s a casual appetizer or meal where guests peel their own shrimp and dip rye bread in the flavorful juices. The dish takes only minutes to prepare and makes for a generous platter of seafood to be shared family style. For the full article and recipe, click on the icon below.



10 Ways Tuesday: Beer

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with beer in autumn:

1.  Beer is for Braising

Dave Lieberman’s recipe for Ale Simmered Chicken with Dried Plums was created to use up leftover beer from a party. Affordable but flavorful chicken pieces like thighs and drumsticks are braised in beer until the meat is falling off the bone. The stew develops depth as prunes soak up the beer, becoming plump and juicy. Ale contributes a malty and slightly bitter taste to the stew which is perfect for autumn. Ale also goes well with pork, as in this recipe from Martha Stewart for Braised Bone-In Pork Shoulder.

2.  Beer-and-Cheddar Soup

I found a rich and hearty recipe for Beer-and-Cheddar Soup (by Chef Jonathon Erdeljac of Jonathon’s Oak Cliff in Dallas) in the Thanksgiving issue of Food & Wine Magazine. He flavors thick and creamy Beer-and-Cheddar Soup with spicy jalapeño and salty bacon. Use a lager or pilsner for this recipe, which will play off the smoked cheddar without overwhelming it. Serve the soup with a fall salad of bitter greens.


Ingredient of the Week: Beer

Beer (c)2011


This week at la Domestique, we take a look at the magic that happens when malted barley and hops combine and ferment, resulting in beer. We’ll cover the spectrum from light, crisp and refreshing lagers to full-bodied, hoppy ales with a bite. It’s a world adventure spanning the globe from Irish stout to Belgian ale to German wheat beers and micro-brews from the United States. As fall settles in and the last of the golden leaves drop from the trees, I begin to crave a good beer with a nice foamy head. I seek a nice warm pub and a pint to escape the misty gray days. But beer isn’t just for drinking. The unique flavors found in beer (just as in wine) are well suited to autumn stews. Beer adds body, herbal notes, and a bitter edge to steak pies and braised chicken. Beer is used in sweet as well as savory dishes. The Irish add their beloved Guinness to cakes and breads. Join me this week to explore the many ways to cook with beer inspired by cuisines across the world. Learn the different types of beer and recipes they are best suited for. Understand how beer is made, and expand your palate by trying something new- maybe a seasonal brew by a small, local producer? I’m excited to cook in the moment with you here at la Domestique!


This Past Week at La Domestique: Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese (c)2011 La

In honor of Halloween, this past week at la Domestique was dedicated to the somewhat scary blue cheese. Some people are a bit freaked out by blue cheese, with its iridescent blue-green veins and pungent smell. For the timid there were recipes utilizing blue cheese in pastry and soufflés. For the brave, there were fresh cheese plates and blue cheese based pasta sauces. We explored types of blue from all over the world, including the U.S., Britain, Australia, France, and Spain.


In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:


Monday:  Announcing blue cheese as ingredient of the week.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with blue cheese during autumn.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Irish Blue Crackers.

Thursday:  The story behind blue cheese- making, purchasing and storing, cooking, plus food & wine pairing.


Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear & Blue Cheese

I’m starting to notice a trend: it seems I like to bake bread on Fridays. It’s true, I’m happiest with yeasty dough in my hands, kneading and shaping loaves. Friday is the beginning of the weekend, a time to relax. It’s a time to slow down and do something fun. Subconsciously I turn to my pantry, eying canisters of flour and dreaming of my next loaf. The stresses of my week melt away as my hands to combine flour, water, and yeast. The mixture sticks to my fingers as I pull it from my trusty stainless steel bowl onto my large wooden board, worn and splitting at the ends. I’m present but my hands are on auto-pilot as the ritual movements take over. Kneading is rhythmic and comforting. The dough morphs from a sticky, wet blob to a silken ball. It’s so soft. I smile and announce to my husband, “I love dough.” He laughs and says, “I know.” I’ve said it a thousand times.


Storyboard: Blue Cheese

Making Blue Cheese

Blue-veined cheeses are a family that shares the characteristic appearance of blue mold bursting through creamy white or orange flesh. Cheesemakers innoculate cow, sheep, or goat cheese with a strain of bacteria spores (such as Penicillium gorgonzola or Penicillium roqueforti, among others). These spores give rise to an edible blue mold that contributes complexity of flavor to the cheese. The Cheese Lover’s Companion describes the process and I was interested to read that the blue-mold strain is added to the milk or curds, which are scooped into cylindrical molds and allowed to drain naturally, with out pressing. Once the cheese has set it is removed from the mold, rubbed with salt and sent to an aging environment (cave or cellar). The most fascinating part is that the cheese’s interior will not turn blue in color until exposed to air. Cheesemakers use metal skewers to pierce the cheese and allow the bacteria to feed on air, producing the blue veins.


Cook in the Moment: Blue Cheese Crackers

Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I’ve baked Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Irish Blue Crackers from How to be a Domestic Goddess. Incorporating blue cheese into a cracker dough is a great way for those who aren’t into the texture/color of blue cheese to enjoy its earthy, pungent flavor. As always, the queen of comfort shows us how to whip up something quick and delicious with just a handful of pantry ingredients (exactly five).These buttery crackers are so good it’s hard to resist plucking them from the baking sheet before they’ve had a chance to cool. If you can wait, I suggest serving the blue cheese crackers with a glass of port and some dried tart cherries. For the full article and recipe, click on the icon below.


10 Ways Tuesday: Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese On Leaves (c)2011

I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with blue cheese in autumn:


1.  Meat & Cheese Pie

Meat pies are hearty sustenance perfect for autumn’s colder temperatures. I came across a recipe for Steak and Stilton Pies in an article on rural English cooking called “Butchers’ Banquet” from the October issue of Saveur. Beef stewed in malty stout beer is combined with mushrooms, English Stilton, and peas under a puff pastry crust. Like the taming of the shrew, comforting and full flavored beef stew take the edge off pungent blue cheese but its boldness can still be tasted.

2.  Gratin

The newly released cookbook, Homemade, is a treasure trove of rustic, flavorful recipes with inspiring food styling and illustrations. The recipe for Fried Salsify and Carrot Au Gratin with Gorgonzola is a rich  dish of roasted sweet root vegetables covered in a gooey, pungent blue cheese sauce. It’s best served alongside lamb or beef roast with plenty of bread for sopping up sauce. And you won’t believe the aroma coming from your oven as the cheese melts and browns- it will drive you mad, in a good way.


About Jess

Jess O'Toole is La Domestique

Hi, I’m Jess, aka La Domestique. No matter how busy or cooking-challenged you are I can help you live the good life and enjoy fresh, healthy meals at home every day. Find out more

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