Baking Articles

Beer Bread Recipes

When I was a child my father used to make what he called Bikies Bread. It is simple bread made from using beer as the rising ingredient, much like soda bread. While living in remote Tasmania for a while, I found I often run out of fresh bread but rarely beer. So I started making beer bread. We eat it with dinner, toast it for breakfast, make sandwiches for lunch and best of all love it straight out of the oven. The basic recipe is here: Beer Bread Recipe and this page will be used to show some of the variations I try.


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Sunflower and Chive Beer Bread

Generally now I use half wholemeal and half white flour and did in this recipe. I added a handful of sunflower seeds and a tablespoon or so of dried chives to half the bread mixture. This bread is delicious with just butter hot out the oven, just sliced cold or even toasted.


Vegemite and Cheese Beer Bread

I mixed up 3 teaspoons of vegemite with some grated tasty cheese. I put half the mixture for one small loaf (a quarter of the total mix) in the pan and then spread the vegemite mix through the centre. Then I put the rest of the bread dough on top and did the same. Then I grated some more cheese over before baking.


Bacon and Cheese Beer Bread

Added 2 rashers of baoon cut up small to the dough, saving some for the top. Also a handful of grated tasty cheese and a tablespoon of chives. Then I grated some more cheese over the top and a sprinkle of bacon pieces before baking.


Fruity Beer Bread

Added 3/4 a cup of chopped cranberries and sultanas, 1/4 cup of chopped nuts. A tablespoon of honey. Quarter cup of flax seed. When the dough was too dry I added orange juice to get it to the right consistency. This is lovely toasted with butter for breakfast!

Other Versions of Beer Bread

Cheese and Corn: add a handful of cheese and a small tin of corn kernels to a half mixture.
Tomato and Cheese: 2 teaspoons of tomato paste, a handful of cheese and a teaspoon of paprika in a half mix.

Baking Articles

Lazy Cooks – Pastry Cooking

The Secret Ingredient for Lazy Cooks – Pastry Cooking

Onion FlanHave you ever found yourself wondering how you can give a new lift to old favorites? Or worrying over how you can tempt those picky eaters? Try keeping a few sheets of frozen puff pastry in the freezer.Puff pastry is one of the most useful, and at the same time most overlooked, weapons in the cook’s arsenal. It gets less exposure than it should because many people are nervous of using it. If you are one of those, read on. You are about to become an expert.

Frozen puff pastry is one of the food industry’s great success stories. From the cook’s point of view it’s easy to handle, needs no preparation and, even more to the point, it works every time. On top of all that, it’s versatile enough to be used in any number of ways from making mini pizzas to decorating the lamb roast. There is practically no end to its flexibility.

Take desserts for example. Cut one sheet of thawed out puff pastry into four pieces, place a spoonful of fruit into the middle of each one, bring the opposite corners of the pastry into the center and crimp them together between finger and thumb. Lightly glaze with an egg beaten in milk, top with half an apricot and a sprinkling of sugar and pop into a medium hot oven for 15 minutes.

You can use exactly the same technique for individual savory pies or, for a terrific farmhouse-style result, use two whole sheets, one for the base and one for the top. You don’t even need a pie dish. Put the base directly on to a baking sheet, add the filling and top with the second sheet, folding the edges over and pinching the corners together. The base will be light and crisp when cooked and the crust golden-brown and flaky.

Once you get started on using puff pastry in this way, you may find it difficult to stop. One great technique is to cut the pastry into shapes using a cookie cutter, glaze and bake the individual pieces and then use them to decorate whatever dish you are serving.

You could use crescent shapes to top off a casserole, or prepare triangles and place them artfully on cooked meat or chops. You could even cut the pastry into rounds, cover with something like sweet chilli sauce and grated cheese, bake for 15 minutes or so and serve them with pre-dinner drinks. Kids love these min-pizzas too.

The truth is you can go down any path your imagination takes you. As an ingredient this kind of pastry is just so forgiving it’s hard to get it wrong. There are really only a couple of things to guard against. One is incorrect cooking temperature, either too hot or too cool. Most ready-made puff pastry ‘lifts’ successfully at around 200-220 degrees Centigrade. The other thing to bear in mind is not to overdo the glaze. Too much egg-wash may result in a soggy finish that will not rise successfully. Just a light brushing will do.

So there you have it. A great product that is labor-saving, versatile, looks good and tastes great. What more could you ask for?

About the Author: Ian Williamson
For more Cooking Articles by Ian Williamson please visit


Baking Articles

Baking Flexibility

Silicon Sheets and Silicon Bakeware sets: Baking Flexibility

Chocolate BiscuitsEverywhere you look, there is a lot of emphasis on cutting the fat out of our daily diets, but who wants to cut out the fat if it means cutting out the flavor? When it comes to baking, there is a way to cut down on your fat intake without changing the ingredients in your favorite recipes. If you switch to nonstick silicone bakeware, you can cut down on your fat intake with minimal effort. Because the bakeware is nonstick, you never have to use butter, shortening, or grease on your pans or sheets to ensure easy food removal.

The first silicone items made exclusively for baking were small silicone mats that fit nicely on your cookie sheet and allowed you to bake cookies with out greasing the cookie sheet or worrying about the bottoms getting burned. These little mats were a huge success and stores were hard pressed to keep them in stock.

As the popularity of these mats grew, manufacturers decide to explore the idea of making more bakeware from silicone. They began making spoons, spatulas, and whisks that could withstand high heats and could be used with nonstick cookware with no fear of ruining the coating. Silicone utensils were the perfect choice for candy making or any other project that required a boiling and sticky liquid to be stirred.

Kitchen supply manufacturers also introduced silicone potholders and oven gloves. Because they can withstand heats up to 500 degrees, they are the perfect insurance that you won’t get burned when you pull a hot dish from your oven. They don’t conduct heat the way that a cloth potholder does and they are much sturdier and easy to keep clean than traditional potholders. Home canners fell in love with silicone baker’s mitts because they could actually reach into a pot of boiling water to remove a hot jar of food once it was done processing. As an added bonus these durable potholders do double duty as lid grippers making opening jars a snap.

Once silicone hit kitchens in the form of baking mats, utensils, and pot holders, kitchen experts began to see the potential of this material in everyday baking. Suddenly almost any type of bakeware that could traditionally be found in stainless steel, aluminum, glass, or stoneware was being offered in brightly colored silicone. Stores began selling muffin tins, bread loaf pans, cake pans, and pie pans. The most popular pieces tend to be the specialty designed cake pans that allow you to make cakes shaped like everything from roses to pumpkins. They even have mini cake pans that make individual, fancy shaped cakes.

The popularity of silicone bakeware skyrocketed as cooks began to see the benefits of using this material in their kitchens. Foods pop out of silicone pans with amazing ease. You never need to grease, flour, or even use cooking spray on a silicone pan and that adds up to lots of calories and fat grams saved with each meal. Because silicone is very flexible, it is easy to bend and twist it so that cakes and breads pop out easily. You never have to force baked goods out of the pan, so they retain there shape and you don’t see a lot of split and broken cakes.

Silicone is a bakers dream when it comes to making evenly cooked delicacies. The material distributes heat evenly, so you never end up with a cake that is burned around the edges and still not cooked in the middle. It also cools down quickly ensuring that your foods will not continue cooking and possibly drying out once you remove them from the oven.

Because silicone is nonstick, cleanup is a breeze. A little soap and water and any crumb left on your bakeware disappears. It is nonporous, so it never retains any odors from the foods you cook. Completely versatile it goes from oven to table to freezer and can even be thrown in the dishwasher. Once you are done cleaning it, storage is a snap. With its flexibility, you can twist it, bend it, fold it or mash it up so it can fit in the smallest of drawers or cupboards.

If you haven’t tried silicone bakeware, add a piece or two to your kitchen. You will be surprised at its quality and flexibility.

About the Author: Daniel Smith writes aboutCookware & CouponsandCookware, kitchenware and houseware products

An example of silicon bakeware are the Smartware baking sets As seen on TV

Check out a great range ofdiscount kitchenware and cookware.