Cooking With Beer: An Introduction
Beer is a great ingredient for cooking. Just like wine, beer can be used as a essential addition to recipes to create the most interesting dishes.
A Brief History
Some people may have discovered cooking with beer just recently, but in reality it is an ancient tradition. Beer lovers would be pleasantly surprised to know that ancient Sumerian and Egyptian physicians believed that the practice of cooking with beer was a healthy one.
Why You Should Cook With Beer
Most beer lovers prefer to drink the beer rather than cook with it, but there are many reasons why cooking with beer is worth exploring:
- Beer is an ideal tenderizer. It makes marinading tougher slices of meat (like venison) a breeze.
- Beer boosts the flavor of poultry and ham when used in a baste or glaze.
- Beer is made perfect for battering and baking, thanks to the beverage’s effervescence and yeast. When it comes to batter coatings for frying, beer contributes to a lighter, tastier and tender crust thanks to its effervescence and yeast content. Yeast serves as a mild leavening agent, which makes the batter rise and gives it a unique flavor. Yeasty brews are best for pancakes, breads and fritters.
- Beer tones down the sweetness of ingredients such as caramelized onions, carrots and corn with its bitterness.
- Delightful desserts such as the Guinness stout cake would not be created without beer.
General Tips When Cooking With Beer
For those who are interested to learn how to cook with beer, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Never cook with a beer you would not consider drinking. If you do not appreciate it as a beverage, chances are you would not appreciate it in a recipe.
- Cooking with beer almost always requires reduction. Reduction in cooking results in the intensifying of flavor. For instance, to make gravy with beer, try reducing a sweet stout. Using bitter beer as an ingredient will only result in a very bitter gravy.
Beer Recipes for Starters
Germans cook with beer, proven by their famous beer soup. Ireland and Belgium also count beer as a crucial ingredient in their cuisine. The Belgian Carbonnade à la Flamande, a thick stew made of beer, is particularly well-known. If these sound too ambitious, below are some simpler beer recipes to get you started.
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