Beer has a time and place. Sporting events and hot summer nights. Wild concerts and Super Bowl parties. A refreshing side to a slice of pizza or a platter of fries. Whether you enjoy it pale or dark, bitter or balanced, light or filling enough to be a meal, there is a beer for everyone and every occasion. Sometimes the trickiest part is finding the right one for you. In my third year since reaching the legal drinking age, I'm not quite sure I've found my one and only just yet.
That said, I've always been more of a wine kind of gal.
Beer bread, opposed to a mug of frothy ale, is something I can get behind. It's no secret that I love bread in each and every form. Beer bread is no exception. If left to my own devices (with no concept of willpower or prying, concerned eyes), I could very well eat the entire loaf by myself.
After years of baking beer bread from box mixes, it wasn't until I set out on my own that I realized how absolutely easy it is to make without a mix. In fact, it takes only a minute longer to whisk together the base ingredients. A whole minute. Sometimes I'm amazed by the ease bread can come together.
For those of you are hesitant about making yeast breads, this is for you. Beer bread is technically a "yeast" bread but, since yeast comes only from the beer, you don't have to worry about proofing or anything else that comes with that process. Of course, you don't have to share that minor detail with those you are trying to impress.
The special ingredient in this particular recipe is the butter. Though the butter can be optional (especially if you are watching your waistline), I wholeheartedly recommend you brush it heavily on the bread before baking. It really gives the bread a thick, buttery crust that is absolutely wonderful.
In fact, I'm pretty sure it's my favorite part.
Beer Bread is buttery, chewy, and tastes like your favorite beer. The yeast in the beer interacts with the sugar to help the bread to rise (and the baking powder gives the bread an additional boost to keep it from becoming dense). Be wise, however, in choosing the beer you use. A beer with fruit tones will lend a sweeter, fruity bread. Likewise, a dark ale will lend a robust flavor to the final product. I recommend you use a beer you know and love (I've also heard rumor that cheap, regular beer often tastes better than anything else, but I haven't given this theory a true test). Beer bread is excellent when sliced and spread with butter, cubed and sprinkled on top a thick, hearty chili, or dipped into a spinach or cheese dip. Give it a try—the recipe couldn't be easier!
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Yields 1 loaf
3 cups bread flour (all-purpose will also work)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
12 ounce can or bottle of beer (choose your favorite!)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pour in beer and mix until just incorporated. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Pour melted butter over the top of the dough.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is browned. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before serving.