Beer and Bread

Ever since I started taking food and cooking seriously (about 8 years ago) I have always tried to adapt recipes to suit me or whatever ingredients I happened to have on hand.  I would scour cookbooks (old and new), browse blog after blog, and question interrogate friends, family member, and sometimes strangers, in order to formulate a recipe that suited my tastes.  I was never afraid of trying new things, and luckily, that fear has remained at a distance. 

Sometimes, though, a recipe comes along that needs no alteration.  The ingredients and process are so thoughtful and perfect that it would be a crime to make any drastic changes.  The recipe I offer to you in this post is exactly that.  And it comes from one of my most favorite food bloggers, Deb at Smitten Kitchen.  I’ve been reading her blog since 2007, and have adapted many a recipe in whatever small apartment kitchen I had at the time.  Now, I share a house with my lovely fiancé, Scott, and although our kitchen is not large by any means, it is more workable than the broom closets of my past.

The other night, Scott and I attended a birthday/poker party at the house of a lovely couple we’ve known for awhile.  The charge was to bring “finger foods” and oddly enough, I had just read her post about Beer, Mustard, and Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread.  Truthfully, I needed no occasion to make this bread, but a birthday/poker party was the perfect “excuse.” 

For the last two or three years, I’ve really gotten into baking; everything from brioche, to cakes, to pies, to tortes, to the occasional cupcake.  Baking gives me comfort and when I saw this recipe on Deb’s site, I absolutely could not pass it up.  There’s something so satisfying about the smell of bread baking away in the oven.  And who could say no to anything with beer and mustard in it??  And cheese??

If you don’t already know about Smitten Kitchen, you should.  Please.  Visit her blog, marvel at her gorgeous photographs, and be grateful for her thorough instructions.  When I consult with Smitten Kitchen, I feel like I’m talking with a friend, and when I adapt her recipes, or in this case, bake by the book, I really feel like she’s here in my kitchen, cheering me on. 

So, thank you Deb, for being my go-to mentor in my time of need.  Thank you for the inspiration I need when I feel my life is just too busy and I can’t be bothered to switch on the oven.  We share an affinity for bourbon in food, conquering culinary obstacles like homemade pasta, and indulging whatever our current craving might be.  In my book, that’s as good as gold.  Cheers to you, Deb.

You can find this recipe for Cheddar, Beer, and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread, here.  While you’re there, stay awhile and look around.  You won’t be sorry.

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