Beer bread + bacon + gruyere cheese = An amazing grilled cheese sandwich.
I love beer bread. It’s so easy to make. And the end result is a crusty bread, with a chewy interior similar to artisan breads but without all the work. A faint taste of beer aroma remains in the bread that is pleasant for beer lovers and for beer haters.
As part of being a member of Foodbuzz, I sometimes get to sample free products. Recently, New Belgium Brewing Company gave a $50 stipend to some Foodbuzz members to sample their beers and create a recipe featuring their beer. I immediately signed up because I knew exactly what I wanted to create. I wanted to take my beloved beer bread to the next level and make a full meal out of it by creating a beer bread grilled cheese sandwich.
Beer and cheese have always been a good pairing, and the idea of a grilled cheese sandwich featuring the crusty chewy bread seemed perfect in my mind.
New Belgium Beer has quite a few different beers to choose from, including their most popular, the Fat Tire amber ale. I went to the store, and was able to find a Spring Folly variety pack, letting me check out a few of New Belgium’s beers. After tasting all the different ones, I ended up choosing the popular Fat Tire. It has just enough sweetness and bitterness to match the cheese and bacon.
The morning of, I made the bread. Prep time is less than five minutes. And unlike most breads that require proofing, this bread is ready to go in the oven right away. Fifty minutes later, a steaming hot loaf of bread was calling my name. It took all my will power to resist eating this entire loaf right then and there. This bread keeps well for a few days so you can make it ahead of time too.
For my cheese, I chose gruyere, a type of Swiss cheese that has a distinctive creamy and nutty taste. Not too strong, but not too mild either. I also wanted to add bacon to my sandwich because bacon makes everything better.
The end result was everything I could have hoped for and more. The bread was warm and toasty. The cheese was creamy and melted. And the bacon gave it that extra flavor that really made this the perfect grilled cheese sandwich for me.
Recipe: Beer Bread Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
For the beer bread:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer (I used New Belgium’s Fat tire)
- 4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted
For the sandwiches:
- gruyere cheese
- olive oil
- Make the beer bread: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the beer until the batter is just barely mixed. (Be careful not to over mix the dough or else your bread may have problems cooking properly. You just want to incorporate all the flour.)
- Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- After removing the bread, let it cool.
- Making the sandwiches: First cook bacon to desired crispiness. I used two bacon slices for each sandwich, so cook as much bacon as needed.
- Slice the bread loaf into slices of your desired thickness. I did mine at about 1/2 inches thick.
- Preheat a skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the heat to medium.
- Take two slices of bread and put a light layer of mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Place the two slices of bread onto the heated skillet (with the non-mayonnaise side touching the bottom of the pan.) As the bread begins to toast on the pan, place a piece of gruyere cheese on top of each piece of bread. Then put two pieces of bacon on one of the breads. When the cheese has melted and the bottom side of bread is toasted a golden brown (about 2-4 minutes), place the bread without the bacon on top of the other to form a sandwich. If desired, you can put the entire sandwich into a George Foreman grill to create grill marks and to help press the sandwich together. Serve immediately.