Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beer Bread

When I got to my sister's house last week, she told me to help get rid of the beer in her fridge. While there's a nice stash of micro brews and other tasty beers, there were also a couple cans of Bud Light floating around. I used to think Bud Light was great when I was in college, and still for a while afterward. But after I opened up one of the cans, I realized that I'm getting old. I have crossed over from being a Bud fan to thinking it tastes pretty average. Since just drinking Bud Light was no longer sounding like a good idea, beer bread was the next best option.

I'd never tried this recipe before, but this bread is so easy and good. I often avoid making breads because I usually waste hours in the kitchen with an end result that is dense and inedible, but anyone can make this one. You just mix beer into your sifted dry ingredients, cover with some butter, and wait. One hour later you have homemade bread. The melted butter makes the top of the bread crunchy while the inside and bottom are softer. This bread is still denser than something like a baguette, but considering how simple and quick it is, this is now my go to homemade bread.

The flavor of this bread changes with every bite. Sometimes you taste a slight sweetness from the sugar. Other times you'll notice a bit of salt, or the butter. I baked this yesterday afternoon and now there is only a 1 inch slice left. We all loved this bread and kept walking back to the kitchen to cut off another slice. Have it warm out of the over or spread some butter on top, you'll enjoy the (minimal) effort you put into making this.

Adapted from Gerald Norman
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or use all-purpose, but the whole wheat is really good)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 12oz./355 ml can/bottle of beer (you could use a flavored/seasonal beer, but this tasted great with only using Bud)
3 tablespoons/42 grams butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Grease a loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt (don't slack off, sifting the flour prevents the bread from getting too dense). If there are some larger flakes from the whole wheat flour, just add those back to the bowl after everything else has been sifted. Gently mix in the sugar. Add the beer and mix until combined.

Put the dough into the loaf pan, spreading it to make it even. Pour melted butter on top. Bake for one hour (it will be golden on top).

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