There’s nothing quite like the smell and taste of a steaming loaf of freshly made bread. Imagine being able to achieve this in under 60 minutes without the hassle of preparing ingredients, kneading and proving.
The company Barrett’s Ridge, which was founded in South Africa by Tayrene, has developed a range of pre-prepared ingredient mixes which provide a quick and easy way to make bread. Each bread mix simply needs to be combined with beer (or alternatively cider, non-alcoholic beer or soda water) and baked to produce a tasty loaf. The mixes are highly versatile- they can be used to make other types of bread such as burger buns, mini loaves and wreath bread, or to batter chicken, fish and onions.
But Barrett’s Ridge does much more than provide a convenient way to make delicious food. Each mixture is packaged in a calico bag by women of the Ukama Community Foundation which provides ongoing training, mentorship and support to black-owned microenterprises. The calico bags, which are reusable, are handsewn by the women of Deaf Hands at Work, a charity that creates employment opportunities for deaf and disabled individuals.
Good Taste have recently begun selling several different varieties of Barrett’s Ridge Beer Bread (Original, Chilli and Garlic, Italian Cheese, Olive and Rosemary and Garlic and Herb), each costing £4.90.
When the Beer Bread mixes appeared on our shelves a few weeks ago, I immediately earmarked them as potential Christmas gifts for several of my more difficult to buy for family members. Before giving them as a gift, I thought I’d try one out for myself using the recipe below.
- Preheat oven to 190˚C.
- Lightly grease a loaf tin.
- Combine bread mixture with 330ml of beer of your choice (or alternatively cider, non-alcoholic beer or soda water). It’s best to use a room temperature beer as this ensures yeast activation.
- Stir to form a dough.
- Scrape into the loaf tin.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
The recipe was very simple to follow- literally just a case of stirring your beverage of choice into the bread mix. I was a bit surprised at how wet the dough was (in fact, it was more of a batter than a dough), but I just scooped it into the loaf tin using a wooden spoon and used a palette knife to spread it into the corners. I also followed the optional extra step of melting 2 tablespoons of butter and brushing it across the top before baking to ensure an extra crispy crust.
I used the chilli and garlic mix and a 330ml can of Blue Moon, a combination which produced great flavour. The loaf rose really well and had a lovely texture- light and fluffy on the inside with a hard crust on the outside. Overall, I was really happy with the result and think the Beer Bread mixes would make a great gift!
I enjoyed a slice of the bread warm with butter, but it could also be paired with one of the delicious jams, pickles, chutneys, marmalades or spreads sold in Good Taste. Personally, I think the Mixed Fruit Chutney or Lime Pickle from Eswatini would be a great accompaniment for the Chilli and Garlic Beer Bread, but please do pop into Good Taste to browse our full range of preserves and decide for yourself!