I really do think my most favorite thing to do is bake bread.

Cooking is fun, desserts are awesome, but bread?!? There’s just something about it that truly is satisfying. And they run the gamut from basic 4-ingredient flour, water, salt, and yeast loaves to really complex recipes with tons of ingredients and steps. They’re all fun. Well… mostly… The perfect loaf of sourdough still eludes me and at this stage of the game, I’ve pretty much settled for a pretty good loaf. But that’s not stopping me from trying again, one of these days.

In the meantime, there are a lot of other loaves to be made.

We decided on Ravioli for dinner the other night and Ravioli at our house requires bread. Our local Safeway – .6 mile from our front door – has pretty lousy bread from their in-store bakery, so I wasn’t going to bother with them. On a side note, I’m really hoping that if Kroger is allowed to buy Albertsons/Safeway, the anti-trust rules will make them sell that store and a real grocer will move into the space. 

But I digress…

I had seen a recipe at NY Times a while back for a yeasted beer bread with cheese, so I thought I’d give it a try. Even though my Pre-Diabetes Program doesn’t start until next week, rolls are good portion control for me – and it was a recipe I had never tried before. There are no bad foods in this program. It’s more about moderation and making better choices.

I had all the ingredients, so off I went. Well… until I got to the bread flour. I needed 815 grams and I only had 400. I did have several other flours, so I blended some all-purpose with an organic white whole wheat my brother gave me to make up the difference. The rest, as they say, is history!


They were incredibly light for having so much cheese in them. Great texture. And the three flours and the cheese really gave them a fantastic flavor.

My biggest mistake was using beer from the refrigerator. (I used a Fortside Brewing Orange Whip Hazy IPA from across the river in Vancouver, WA.) Silly me. The bread took a really long time to rise… Our oven does have a proofing feature which helped, immensely, but it still took twice as long as it should have.

The end result was worth it!

Cheddar Beer Bread Rolls

adapted from the NY Times

  • 6 cups/815 grams bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons/55 grams unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened, 2 tablespoons melted), plus more for the bowl and pan
  • 1/4 cup/60 milliliters honey
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters beer, such as pale ale
  • 1 3/4 cup/200 grams shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, preferably white

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine bread flour, yeast, salt, 2 tablespoons softened butter, honey and beer. Mix on low speed for 4 minutes. The dough should come together around the dough hook. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 minutes more, occasionally stopping to scrape the dough from the hook. Add 1 cup/115 grams of the Cheddar cheese and mix until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly double in size, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 even pieces. Gently round each piece of dough into a ball, and place into the prepared pan. (The rolls may not touch now, but they will fill in the gaps when they rise and bake.)

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until they look visibly puffy. Toward the end of rise time, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter, and top each roll with 1 tablespoon of the remaining white Cheddar, being careful to keep the cheese away from the edges of the pan.

Bake the rolls until golden brown, and the cheese on top is melted and browned 22 to 28 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.