Badass smoky chilli cheese beer bread

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Badass: seriously scary or seriously impressive. Words related to badass: epic, beast, Chuck Norris.

This bread doesn’t make me think of Chuck Norris. Though Chuck may like eating this bread* – a hefty, moist wholemeal affair, laced with parmesan and slathered in a spicy-smoky-sweet-salty sauce. There are browned crusty bits from the parmesan, and caramelised savoury bits from the smoky-chilli sauce. It’s not your average bread roll, this is chilli, smoky, cheesy, surprising goodness. And, you know, beer bread!

* Actually, I don’t know, what does Chuck Norris like to eat?

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After an eventful two weeks, this bread celebrated being back in the kitchen with time to play with food. It started with mild food poisoning, a few work dinners (ironically…), then a short trip to Singapore, baking cakes for friends who are moving away, and maybe taking on a new job at work (eeeeeep).

Crazy times, calls for crazy bread. Oui?

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The sauce features Korean red pepper paste, gochujang, which looks like a brilliant red version of miso. Sure, it’s spicy, but gochujang also has gorgeous sweet, salty, sour, umami flavours. Traditionally made by fermentation in large earthenware jars, the lingering, complex flavours develop as as hot chlli / pepper powder is fermented with glutinous rice, soy beans, salt and maybe some sweetener (honey, rice syrup).

While gochujang is traditionally used for soups, stews and rice cake dishes, it’s also used in ketchup and aioli, and jazzing up grilled cheese, tacos and quesadillas. So, I thought, why not use it in bread?

I cribbed a few recipes for gochujang ketchup or gochujang aioli. My version included gochujang, smoked paprika, garlic and pureed persimmons. Bold flavours complemented by honey-sweet persimmon, to match wholemeal bread and parmesan.

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The bread was closely based on a beer dough from Smitten Kitchen, except I swapped some of the flour and beer for Patrick the sourdough starter. This gave the bread a richer flavour without having to proof the dough overnight in the fridge, goooood Patrick!

I made two mini loaves. First, the pullapart made of pieces of dough stacked together, a la Flo Baker and Smitten Kitchen. Second, the open braid that is borrowed from Estonian kringle bread and Ottolenghi’s well known Krantz cake. Both gave me gorgeous patterns, and more importantly, fiery-smoky-cheesy bites.

Having used the highly seasonal persimmon in this bread, I’m sending this to Fromage Homage’s Cheese Please! challenge… Also sending to Yeast Spotting. And if you’re up for more yeast baking, head over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday Challenge (which I sadly missed, due to aforementioned crazy two weeks).

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Smoky chilli cheese bread

(cribbed from bits and pieces, particularly SK’s beer and mustard bread, and this gochujang aioli. Quantities are approximate and experimental.)

Ingredients

Beer bread

4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter
110 ml beer, I used a golden ale – not too dark, not too light
90 grams sourdough starter with 50% hydration (ie, 60 grams of flour and 30 grams of water)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 150 grams) plain/AP flour
1 cup (about 130 grams) wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (1/4 ounce or 7 grams) instant yeast
1 teaspoon or a fat pinch (6 grams) salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Filling

2-4 tablespoons gochujang (depending on your tolerance for spicy food)
1 ripe persimmon flesh (if using the fuyu or oval variety, the fruit should be so ripe it is bursting and you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon)
2 tablespoons smoky paprika, or to taste
1 large clove garlic, finely minced or chopped in a food processor
approximately 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) grated hard-ish cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan, pecorino. We didn’t like the loaf with goat cheese – too many flavours clashing and competing, but it may be your thing.

Method

1. Dough: Heat the butter and about half of the beer together, just until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add the remaining beer. Set aside to cool until it’s warm to the touch, about 110F/40C (the liquid shouldn’t make you pull your fingers away quickly). Stir in the sourdough starter until there are only a few lumps.

2. Mix together the plain and wholemeal flours. Stir together 1.5 cups flour, and all of the sugar, yeast and salt. If using a stand mixer, pour in the butter-beer-sourdough starter mixture, mix on low just until the flour is moistened. If mixing by hand, stir the ingredients together until flour is just moistened.

3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. The batter looked a bit shaggy and lumpy at this point. Add the remaining flour, and mix until combined. If using a stand mixer, knead with your dough hook on low for 3 to 4 minutes. If mixing by hand, this is the time to imagine you are playing with mud pies at school, pour/push/coax the dough onto a well floured bench and knead energetically for about 10 minutes – everything will be sticky, shaggy, and despairing. Persevere, and all will be well, eventually. The dough will come together, though it will remain soft.

4. Transfer the dough to an oiled medium/large bowl. Cover and set aside for about 60 minutes, or until doubled (mine took a bit longer).

5. Filling: Add the first four filling ingredients to a food processor, and mix until well combined to an orange-red paste. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, ie, if you prefer more paprika or gochujang. I found the persimmon added enough sweetness, but you could add sugar if you like. Then, mix the paste with the grated cheese and leave in the fridge until using.

6. Assemble: Lightly oil one loaf pan or two mini loaf pans. Punch down the dough and divide it in half if making two mini loaves. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C.

7. Pullapart: If making mini loaves, turn half of the dough out onto a well-floured counter and roll the dough into a rectangle, maybe 15×8 inches, re-flouring the counter as needed. Sprinkle just under half of the filling mixture over the rectangle, right up to the edge. Cut the dough crosswise into 3 strips, then cut into squares/rectangles that will fit into the loaf pan. Place the loaf pan on its short side so you can stack the squares/rectangles, and begin stacking. If you have too little bread, don’t worry as the slices will expand when proofing. If you have too many slices, just tap the loaf pan and squeeze another few. Sprinkle another tablespoonful of filling over the top. Set aside, cover loosely and let it rise for 30-40 minutes.

8. Braid: Roll out the dough as above, spread the filling over the dough rectangle, leaving an edge. Roll up the dough, then, with your best chef’s knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise, leaving one end in tact. Braid the two strands together by placing one over the other. Pick this up and haphazardly place it in the loaf pan. Also set aside, cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

9. Place loaf pans in the oven. If baking one large loaf, bake for 25-35 minutes; if making two small loaves, I found 15-20 minutes was sufficient. The loaves should be golden on top, with darker bits where the gochujang filling has caramelised. Cool and serve.

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62 thoughts on “Badass smoky chilli cheese beer bread

  1. apuginthekitchen 29 May 2014 at 5:57 am Reply

    Thats really impressive, what a loaf!!! It’s creative definitely and I love what you combined to make this bread. Amazing.

  2. The Novice Gardener 29 May 2014 at 6:02 am Reply

    Where you been, Saucy? 🙂 It’s only appropriate that you come back with this super incredible one-of-a-kind bread! You can not be serious! There I said it again. That seems to be my reaction each time I look at my post. Borrowing Suzanne’s words now, what a loaf!!!

    • saucygander 29 May 2014 at 11:24 pm Reply

      Oh Angie, life has been one crazy ride, with a side trip to Singapore (I’m dreamy eyed even now, thinking about the hawker food in Singapore. And that crazy building in Marina Bay Sands!)

      Actually, Singapore is probably one of the things that inspired this bread! All sensory (and heat) overload and all that. Maybe I should travel more and make up more random bits of food. 😀

      • The Novice Gardener 30 May 2014 at 2:35 pm

        Singapore? Yum! Yah, I know, that’s the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of Singapore. Did you get curry puffs from Old Chang Kee and Chilli crabs from Jumbo?

  3. acasadisimi 29 May 2014 at 6:47 am Reply

    wow! very good!

  4. simplyvegetarian777 29 May 2014 at 7:15 am Reply

    I had started missing you on the scene and these you make an. Appearance and that too with a huge bang :). My goodness! What a piece of art! Extremely gorgeous and I sure want to try some! Beautiful fusion.

    • saucygander 29 May 2014 at 11:45 pm Reply

      Hello Sonal! It’s good to be back, a few unexpected things came up (don’t they always happen like that??) and I was away from blogging for much longer than expected.

      This bread was so much fun to make, as I was experimenting all the way through, and am really glad it turned out well!! See you at this week’s FF!! 🙂

  5. Chris @ Shared Appetite 29 May 2014 at 7:17 am Reply

    Wow this is seriously some badass bread!!! Looks incredible!

    • saucygander 29 May 2014 at 11:45 pm Reply

      Thanks! The bread practically named itself!

  6. sabine 29 May 2014 at 7:48 am Reply

    what a fulminant bread from “head to toe”! Love the dramatic swirls of that dramatically composed flavor treat! Sounds great…

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:15 am Reply

      Thank you Sabine! This bread is indeed dramatic, like a drama queen! 🙂

  7. tinywhitecottage 29 May 2014 at 9:16 am Reply

    Can only imagine how pleased you were when you took this out of the oven. And the inside is a work of art! My goodness you know how to bake.

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:21 am Reply

      Thank you so much! The bread was pretty fun to make, since I had an entire afternoon to potter around and knead the dough. But speaking of cheese infused with alcohol (such as your drunken goat cheese), I saw a porter-infused cheddar the other day, which would probably be swoon-worthy tucked into beer bread!

  8. Gather and Graze 29 May 2014 at 9:24 am Reply

    Incredible loaves of bread Saucy… I’m not sure if you could pack any more flavour into these if you tried! This gochujang (which I’ve never heard of before) sounds like a winner. Fabulous photos too by the way.
    Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell… but hoping that the new job is part of that change you’ve been searching for! 🙂

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:26 am Reply

      Thank you Margot, for your kind words! Yes, the new job is hopefully going to make me less restless for a while, though the recent trip to Singapore makes me want to travel a bit more! 🙂
      I think gochujang can be found in good Asian grocery stores, it’s worth trying if you find it, as it is used in a beautiful Korean noodle soup. SBS Feast magazine had the real recipe in a recent issue, my ‘cheat’ version is adding a dollop of the paste to fish stock, adding noodles, mushrooms and Asian vege, and calling it dinner!

  9. Priya Kedlaya 29 May 2014 at 12:24 pm Reply

    Now that IS badass! 🙂

  10. chefjulianna 29 May 2014 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Sensational, Saucy!! This is one kickass bread! And hey, we missed you in the challenge! Good to see you back and with such flourish! 😀

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:38 am Reply

      Thank you! I’m pretty bummed to have missed out on the FF Challenge, but am having a great time looking through all the entries including yours! I’ll see you at this week’s FF!

      • chefjulianna 31 May 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Now I am really excited to know what the next challenge will be! Yeahh, for Angie and Catherine!

  11. At first glance, I thought it was BBQ meat. What a badass bread! Awesome!!

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:39 am Reply

      The filling actually reminded me a little of BBQ sauce, but with more chilli! 🙂

  12. katiebonken 29 May 2014 at 2:36 pm Reply

    oooooh, seriously good looking bread!

  13. FromageHomage 29 May 2014 at 7:12 pm Reply

    Wow, that DOES look badass, some amazing flavours going on. I’m a recent convert to pull-apart bread, it’s so cool. Thanks for sharing this with Cheese, Please! this month 🙂

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 12:59 am Reply

      Thanks! The word badass came to mind and wouldn’t leave until it got onto the blog. Glad I could join your cheese party this month, maybe with a bit of cheese rolling to determine the winner!

  14. […] Nettle Gnocchi with Cashel Blue Sauce Asparagus Tarts, two ways Honey Roasted Fig and Mascarpone Yoghurt Parfait Smoked Cheese and Chive Beignets Cheese-y Omelette Primavera Mexican Cotija Corn Elderflower Cheesecake Hidden Cauliflower Cheese Pasta Sauce Asparagus and Feta Cigars Roasted Grape Tartlets with Mascarpone Stilton, Nettle, Ground Elder and Spinach Eccles Cakes Spicy Paneer Tikka, Feta and Watermelon, and Tricolore Salad Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto Rhubarb Vanilla Compote with Baked Vanilla Cheesecake Badass Smoky Chilli Cheese Beer Bread […]

  15. laurasmess 30 May 2014 at 12:09 am Reply

    Oh my gosh. Badass indeed!! I was staring at that gorgeously glazed, blackened and beautiful crust for ages before I even started reading words. The photos speak for themselves… cheese, chilli aioli, pull-apart chunks of beer bread goodness, what more could you want?! Stunning. Thanks so much for sharing this gorgeousness with us…. and SO good to hear from you! xxx

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 1:24 am Reply

      Laura, I’m so glad you liked this. Your food is always gorgeous and beautifully photographed, I always find myself lingering, gazing and reading.
      I’ve been playing around with the fig jam that you posted recently, using dried figs instead of fresh…lots of fun!!

  16. spiceinthecity 30 May 2014 at 2:47 am Reply

    That looks like a seroiusly badass loaf of bread Saucy!! Wow, all the fantastic seasonings are making me drool!! Amazing!!

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 9:16 pm Reply

      Thank you! This was lots of fun, and I’m glad others liked reading about this experiment! 🙂

  17. Mary Frances 30 May 2014 at 7:32 am Reply

    This is the most intense bread I’ve ever seen! Something tells me it would be perfect for a Superbowl party.

    • saucygander 30 May 2014 at 9:17 pm Reply

      Oh yes! We actually had the bread while watching an annual football game between two states, with beer of course. It was pretty good sports party food. 🙂

  18. […] finally Saucy Gander rounded things up with a riot of punchy flavours in her Badass Smoky Chilli Cheese Beer Bread. Featuring Korean red pepper paste, smoked paprika, garlic and pureed persimmons and still finding […]

  19. Mr Fitz 31 May 2014 at 2:46 am Reply

    That is a wild looking bread for sure.. I reckon Chuck would love it!… Thanks for bringing it to FF18!

  20. […] Saucy […]

  21. FireBonnet 31 May 2014 at 8:12 am Reply

    I’ve never seen anything like this! It’s really beautiful. Very nice. Happy Fiesta Friday!

  22. arlene 31 May 2014 at 8:39 am Reply

    All I can say is wow and yummy!!

  23. toozesty 31 May 2014 at 8:43 am Reply

    Upon consulting google, it appears that Chuck Norris uses pepper spray to spice up his steaks, but I imagine he would like this bread better. Happy Friday!

  24. thebrookcook 31 May 2014 at 12:27 pm Reply

    Wow! Fabulous!! Inspiring too 🙂

  25. Noony 1 June 2014 at 12:46 am Reply

    This is one of the most interesting bread recipes I have ever seen.

  26. cookingwithauntjuju.com 1 June 2014 at 3:35 am Reply

    Oh my this is an impressive loaf of bread. Beer and sourdough together – very interesting and so much so I will have to try out your recipe 🙂

  27. Selma's Table 1 June 2014 at 8:40 am Reply

    Saucy, this looks and sounds amazing – you should go away more often if it means that you are inspired to produce this sort of thing. That gochujang sounds terrific and I will certainly keep an eye out for it when I’m in Soho next…welcome back!

  28. lemongrovecakediaries 1 June 2014 at 10:13 am Reply

    Gotta get me some of that badass bread 🙂 and now you have me intrigued what does Chuck Norris eat hmmmmmm…..

  29. sam 2 June 2014 at 8:23 pm Reply

    Wow, that looks awesome! And the photos are totally droolworthy!

  30. lapetitecasserole 3 June 2014 at 7:33 am Reply

    It’s amazing Saucy! I love this kind of bread, I’m sure even Chuck Norris does!

    • saucygander 11 June 2014 at 1:37 am Reply

      Haha, I wonder…does Chuck Norris even eat bread? 😀

  31. Aneela Mirchandani 4 June 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Love the glamour shots of the bread! And thanks for introducing me to gochujang. I need to experiment with that — spicy and fermented, what’s not to love!

    • saucygander 11 June 2014 at 1:35 am Reply

      Thanks Aneela, gochujang is a pretty cool ingredient, I actually found myself using it in dishes in place of our usual hot sauce. Spicy and fermented is a winning combination!

  32. […] Badass smoky chilli cheese beer bread from Saucy@Saucy Gander. I mean, just look at it! Don’t you just want to tear it apart and scarf it down? It looks so moist and so full of flavor. Actually, I have a hard time wrapping my head around gochujang and persimmon, together. But the bread just looks too incredible not to give it a try. Saucy, it’s been bookmarked for further investigation! […]

  33. polianthus 6 June 2014 at 5:55 pm Reply

    I am going out for BBQ tonight and thought yep this looks great, but where oh where would I find igochujang in the back of beyond where I live – at least when it comes to finding cool ingredients, also persimmon currently not on the market. I will have to just imagine how cool it could be. ..Sadly

    • saucygander 11 June 2014 at 1:31 am Reply

      Hi Poli – you could probably substitute some kind of chilli / hot sauce, and play around with the flavours. Gochujang is a cool ingredient, but chilli and cheese is kind of a universal combination of goodness and should be enjoyed by everyone – and being where you are, I’m sure you can use interesting cheeses to great effect!

      • polianthus 11 June 2014 at 8:54 am

        I am intrigued and will go look for the sauce maybe luckier in the UK will try there 🙂 thanks for the tips

  34. Kirsten 6 June 2014 at 10:51 pm Reply

    Last weekend I picked up a tub of gochujang because we (my family of origin) were eating crabs within hailing distance of an Asian grocery. I knew I wanted to pick up some unagi, because the price of unagi at the markets at home is ludicrous, but once in the store I remembered I’d been looking for gochujang to make bibimbap for the spouse.
    Now I’ve got it–and you’ve inspired me to try it in different things.
    Thanks!

    • saucygander 11 June 2014 at 1:28 am Reply

      Ooh bibimbap is delicious, do you have a good recipe? It’s still on my to-try list. And did you make unagi at home – wow, I’ve only had it in Japanese restaurants, now you’ve inspired me to cook it at home too!

  35. Pang 9 June 2014 at 8:10 am Reply

    Oh my goodness, you are so talented bread maker!!!! It’s so mouthwatering. I am envy your talent with joy 🙂

  36. ninoalmendra 11 June 2014 at 4:48 am Reply

    I must say, your bread is badass tempting!!! This bread recipe is a great alibi for me if ever my Captain saw a beer inside my galley fridge =)
    Thanks for sharing SaucyGander!!!

  37. Cteavin 25 June 2014 at 11:16 am Reply

    Badass doesn’t begin to cut a definition!
    Me wants some NOW.
    (off to the kitchen)
    🙂

  38. joan 28 June 2014 at 1:07 am Reply

    This is seriously wicked loaf! If I had my choice, I would even cook all of meats to look like this. Boy, oh boy, I can taste it.

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