Beer, Onion and Fontina Quick Bread (Taste & Create IX)

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recipe: Beer, Onion and Fontina Quick Bread

Taste & Create IX (May 2008)Taste & Create IX

My partner for this month’s Taste & Create is Becke (Columbus Foodie). There are lots of delicious looking things on Becke’s site. As I wandered around through her site, I managed to narrow the field down to the following:

  • B’s Mom’s sticky buns
  • Balsamic Chicken, Israeli Couscous, and Spinach
  • Chicken (Pork) Piccata and Italian Green Beans
  • Cincinnati Chili
  • Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • Jilly’s Taco Pasta Skillet
  • Mexican Chicken with Almond-Chile Cream
  • Onion and Fontina Beer Batter Bread
  • Pan-Seared Salmon over Red Cabbage and Onions with Merlot Gastrique
  • Pappardelle with Red Wine and Meat Ragu
  • pico de gallo

And then came the tricky part to narrow the field down again to just one recipe… To do that, I looked at ingredients listed for the various dishes to see what things we would have to search for: taco seasoning, crema Mexicana, (what are those?!) Israeli couscous and decent tomatoes (I’ve bookmarked “pico de Gallo” for when tomatoes are in season).

Narrowing the field down a little further, I realized that we have just recently made our version of Cincinnati Chili (we added cinnamon and chocolate to the chili as per Becke’s instructions. Thanks Becke! Good additions!) And we also JUST had made two new recipes from SAVEUR magazine: “Bolognese ragu with egg noodles” and “sole piccata”. (Remind me to post about those three dishes soon!)

So that left these two:

  • B’s Mom’s sticky buns
  • Onion and Fontina Beer Batter Bread

I was really close to making the sticky buns (they’re bookmarked), but the sticky buns are quite similar to our cinnamon buns and I really wanted to try something completely new. I have made a yeasted cider (or beer) cheese bread. But the addition of the onions and the lack of yeast in Becke’s bread really intrigued me. So at last, the choice was made:

beer quick bread Onion and Fontina Beer Batter Bread

It’s hard to believe this rich tasting bread is “light”!!

(click on image to see larger view and more photos)

All that we didn’t have on hand was the cheese. Nor were we familiar with it even though I thought I had heard of it. According to Wikipedia (isn’t the internet wonderful?), Fontina is made with milk fat content of 45%! But that’s okay. We love fat. :-)

I was pretty certain it would be readily available. But just in case, I looked it up on the Cook’s Thesaurus to see what we might use as a substitute. (Gruyere, Emmental, Edam and Gouda are some of the suggestions.)

As it happens, there was no need. I was right; there it was in the dairy section of our local supermarket. But at only 27% milk fat. Which is okay too. We also love less fat. :-)

When I was grating the cheese, we tasted it and immediately thought, “Gouda! It looks and tastes just like mild Gouda!”

Please note that I did make a few changes to Becke’s recipe. (I hope the Taste & Create Police don’t come after me.) Here’s what I did:

Beer, Onion and Fontina Quick Bread
based on Becke’s Onion and Fontina Beer Batter Bread (from a recipe in “Cooking Light” magazine)

It’s hard to believe this rich tasting bread is “light”!!

  • 1 c (250 ml) whole wheat flour*
  • 2 c (500 ml) unbleached all-purpose flour*
  • 1 Tbsp sugar**
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100gm (roughly 4oz) fontina cheese, grated***
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c diced onion (medium onion)
  • 341 ml (1 bottle) dark beer****
  • Cooking spray*****
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.
  3. Stir in grated cheese (let your hands be your friends).
  4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until tender (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and deglaze the pan with the cold beer. (Pour it gently down the sides of the pan) Cool to room temperature ******
  5. Add onion and beer mixture; stir just enough to encorporate the flour.
  6. Gently put the batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper or silicone liner. Drizzle the top of the batter evenly with 2 Tbsp butter. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack.*******

If you plan to make this bread, use Becke’s recipe!

* Becke’s recipe calls for only all-purpose flour. I just couldn’t do it. I had to add some wholewheat flour.

** Becke’s recipe calls for 3 Tbsp sugar. Again, I just couldn’t do it; I just couldn’t bring myself to use the 3 Tbsp sugar! Not with all those onions and beer already sweetening the batter.

*** Apparently, other people have substituted mozzarella and “Italian four cheese mix” (whatever that is). We didn’t have any of those either. We only had a decent parmesan and a medium cheddar (I didn’t think either of those would be suitable at all). I’d definitely substitute gouda.

**** Becke suggests using a 12 fl.oz(USA) bottle of an amber ale. I used what we had in the house: a bottle of the embarrassingly named “Wee Willy” that just happened to be in the fridge. It is a dark Scottish style beer made with hops and barley. At 341ml, it’s not quite as much but I didn’t think that would really matter.

***** Instead of oiling the bread tin, I used a silicone liner.

****** After the onions are cooked, Becke says to “Cool to room temperature” and then add the beer, onions and cheese to the dry ingredients. This is undoubtedly what I should have done! Stupid me. I FORGOT to let the onions cool down before adding them to the flour mixture. I’m now suspecting that the melted butter should have been left to cool down to lukewarm as well. Please learn from my mistakes and read through the instructions!

******* If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat unsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

beer bread So… Did you hear the timer bell go off half way through the cooking? No? Neither did I… :stomp:

So I guessed how long the bread had been cooking, and continued with the final step. And when the timer bell went off (this time I heard it!) I checked it in a couple of spots with a cake tester and as far as I could see, the tester came out cleanly. And I let the bread cool on a rack as per Becke’s instructions.

We reheated the bread just before serving and sliced into it. Hey!! What are those whitish spots near the bottom?! It’s not cooked completely, is it? I tell you… I DID check with a cake tester. I DID!

We put the slices into the toaster oven briefly to try to cook them through and served the bread with baked beans (with the small amount of left-over chocolate/cinnamoned chili added) and salad. If only I had followed Becke’s instructions for making the bread! Because we could tell that if the bread was cooked through properly, it would have been great.

Happily, the bread WAS great sliced and fully toasted for breakfast the next day.

Thanks go to Nicole for the Taste & Create event, but especially to Becke, for introducing us to her Onion and Fontina Beer Bread.

Taste & Create (T&C)

Taste & Create - © Nicole King Nicole (For the Love of Food) runs the Taste & Create event. The participants are assigned (randomly) partners and invited to wander through their partners’ archives to find and recreate one dish that appeals to them. And then blog about it, including a summing up of the dish in 1 phrase…. She wrote:

What it’s all about: community, sharing, tasting, and blogging. This is a gathering point for the food-blogger community to come and have their recipes tested by their peers.

For complete details about Taste & Create, please see

  • For the Love of Food: Taste & Create: guidelines (
  • For the Love of Food: Taste & Create IX (includes roundup for Taste & Create VIII)
  • For the Love of Food: Taste & Create IX Partner List (

My T&C partner Becke chose to make arroz con pollo. Here is her version (do look! the photo she took is stunning!).


edit 2 June 2008: Nicole has posted the T&C IX roundup: (

3 responses to “Beer, Onion and Fontina Quick Bread (Taste & Create IX)

  1. Sophie

    I’m Sophie and we would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email sophiekiblogger [at] gmail [dot] com if interested. Thanks :)


    As the recipe wasn’t a resounding success (too many errors were made) I feel I must decline your offer. You would be much better off to feature the original successfully rendered recipe. Please contact “the Columbus Foodie” to see if she would like her recipe to be featured. -ejm


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