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May 5, 2011 / laughinglivingloving

Beer Bread

Pasta, bread and potatoes have long been some of my favorite foods.  Carbs on top of carbs on top of carbs.  And then I started getting into beer, GOOD beer, when I was working at a brewery/restaurant a few years ago.  Beer = more carbs!  Imagine my delight when I discovered a way to add even more carbs to my carbs – beer bread!

(Please excuse the poor iPhone camera image quality)

I’ve seen this recipe floating around the internet for awhile now, so I can’t attribute it to just one person.  This is not my first attempt at this culinary deliciosity, but my first attempt was a fail for multiple reasons (that I’ll detail below) so I’d like to pretend this is the first.  This is one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever made.

You’ll need:

3 cups SELF-RISING FLOUR*

3 T sugar

1 12 oz bottle of beer

2 oz butter, melted

In a medium bowl, stir together flour and sugar.  Add the beer (slowly, so you don’t make a mess) and stir to combine.  This is going to take some armwork – the last 1/2 cup or so of flour is going to seem like it doesn’t want to incorporate.  Keep at it – I’ve found that taking my spatula and sort of smushing the flour into the batter works the best for me.  When everything is mixed together, scoop into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake at 325° for 45 minutes.  Pour the melted butter over the top and bake for another 15 minutes.  Turn out immediately onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet or wax paper (you’ll have some butter drippage.  But hey, if you want melted butter all over your counters, who am I to stop you).

*If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can make your own!  For every cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 t baking powder and 1/2 t salt.  Stir together before using.  For this recipe, that would come out to 4 1/2 t (or 1.5 T) baking powder and 1 1/2 t (or 1/2 T) salt.  Confused? 1 T = 3t.

I went wrong in three, count ’em, three places in my first attempt.  1, either the recipe didn’t clarify or I didn’t notice that it was SELF-RISING FLOUR.  Hence, my bread was dense and heavy.  2, I only had an 8×4 loaf pan.  Wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if it hadn’t been for #3, the original recipe I used called for pouring the melted butter over the batter before it ever goes in the oven.  When the bread rose as it baked, it pushed the melted butter out of the (too small) loaf pan and all over the bottom of my oven.  And then the melted butter on the bottom of the oven started to burn.  And fill my apartment with smoke.  And set the smoke detector off at 10:30pm.  I am really glad we only share one wall with a neighbor, and it’s not the wall the smoke detector is on.  I’d make a lot of enemies.

It’s not too much of a stretch to say there are a million ways to customize this bread.  The taste varies greatly depending on the kind of beer you use – this batch was made with a home-brewed dunkelweizen, so I get a decent amount of banana and roasty flavors in this bread.  I’d love to try this with a dark stout, as well as a light fruit and wheat beer.  You could add cheese and herbs in different combinations – just remember to keep in mind how those flavors will work with the flavor profile of the beer you use.

This is not a light, springy bread – it’s still a quickbread, so there’s no yeast.  The baking powder is providing all of the rise when baking.  I don’t think it would hold together well enough to make a sandwich out of (but just imagine all those NEW flavor combinations!), but would work well as a side of bread to accompany a meal.  If you experiment with different flavor profiles let me know how it turns out!

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