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Monday, May 28, 2012

Beer Bread

If you decide to try out this recipe, I promise it will be one of the most satisfyingly simple things you've ever made. This beer bread has a buttery, crunchy, lightly salty crust on the outside, all the way around, and is soft, airy, a little chewy, and slightly sweet on the inside. There is absolutely no sifting, kneading, proofing, resting, or anything even remotely complicated about this recipe. Just some pouring, stirring, and placing into a hot oven. You can do this!

I would almost venture to call this bread "foolproof" - and that's a legitimate claim, coming from me. I make many foolish mistakes in the course of recipe experimentation. One of these days I'll post blooper pictures. No, I probably won't. But seriously, make this bread. If you have last minute company (summer is coming - it happens!) and want something impressive to serve but don't have time to go to the store - make this bread. You probably already have all of the ingredients.

Beer bread, fresh out of the oven.
 I believe I've mentioned to you before, dear readers, that I am a bit of a nerd. Just a tiny bit. I sometimes attend luncheons hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, at which they report on economic indicators, present summary statistics on voter sentiment with respect to current policy issues...and serve incredible beer bread. It really is incredible. Everyone I know who has ever attended one of these presentations remembers the bread. It's that good. Figuring out how to make it myself was really exciting. And now you can make it, too - and I won't even make you listen to an explanation of the standard deviation and margin of error in a simple random sample. I get a kick out of that stuff, but it's not for everyone - unlike this bread!

I found the recipe on another blog - leave it to the blogger community to rise to a challenge - and I ended up bookmarking it for future reading because she has it all: clever name, creative ideas, pretty pictures, great recipes - it's a good blog! Go check out Jam Hands.

Like I said earlier, you probably have all of these things in your fridge/pantry already:

  • 3 cups flour ***sifting is recommended, but I didn't do it because I hate sifting, and it turned out great anyway!
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bottle or can of beer ***I used Newcastle, because it's my favorite and therefore what I had. I could taste a bit of the nutty-caramel flavor in the finished product. I'd like to experiment with different types of beer (I think a hefeweizen would be particularly good) but I really don't think it matters what kind you use.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter ***I recommend using salted butter, but use what you have. You can just sprinkle a little extra salt on top if using unsalted butter.

1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a med-large bowl.  A whisk works especially well for this part.
3. Pour in the beer and mix until just combined. It's going to be very thick, like biscuit dough. A whisk does not work well for this step; a wooden spoon will work better.
4. Pour some of the melted butter (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the melted 1/2 cup) into the bottom of a loaf pan; swirl to coat the bottom thoroughly.
5. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. It's going to be in giant, spoon-sized chunks. That's OK. Don't worry about smoothing it out much. The butter will seep into every nook and cranny and that's what creates the wonderful, crunchy crust on the outside.
6. Pour the rest of the butter over the top of the loaf, giving it a good coating.
7. If desired, sprinkle a little course sea salt on top.
8. Bake for about 50-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
9. Let the loaf cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board or cooling rack. Best if served warm, but really, this bread is good anytime!

Close up of the buttery crust: can you see the sparkling sea salt?

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**posted by Jacqueline** 
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  1. I'm so glad to read that you enjoyed the recipe :) I haven't made this in forever which is a shame because it is just like you described it -- yummy and fool proof. I am loving your blog and I subscribed and pinned a few recipes. Thanks so much for the link back to me too!

  2. Okay, so it's super weird and probably illegal but I've never had beer bread! And I want to try it SO BAD and now I have my chance :) I just picked up a bunch of beers at the store, too... it's fate, methinks.

  3. Looks great, Jacqueline! I'm sure the boys loved it no matter their level of chicken-coop-making starvation. :) When do we get eggs? ;)

  4. Thanks Ali! I love "meeting" other bloggers :)

    Hayley - definitely illegal. You better make this bread, stat!

    Ellen - I don't think the dream of farm fresh eggs will be realized this year, but I'm hoping for next year :)

  5. I love this when I don't have the time to wait for yeast to rise, but I admit, I have to go get more beer before trying it again. Not that I'm a drinker, but I use beer in my chili and it's been a long winter and very cool spring:-D

  6. Hi,

    I’ve started My Sweet Party, where I every month host a party with a theme (MAY theme is CHOCOLATE). The party is ongoing the entire duration of the month and then I will choose my top three favourites and feture those blogs. I would LOVE you to join My Sweet Party!

    The last day to link up for May is the 31st of May.


  7. Wow. That looks awesome! I can almost taste the crunch.

  8. Yum! I don't like beer, but I love beer bread! :) This looks fantastic, Jacqueline!

  9. I made the Beer Bread yesterday for supper and it was Yummy. This morning I didn't want to cook breakfast so I slice me a piece of the bread and spread it with Brummel and Brown Strawberry spread, it was outstanding. It is a must try.

  10. Glad it turned out and you enjoyed it! The B&B sounds good, with the salty & sweet combination. You really don't taste the beer so much as just a tiny bit of a hoppy/yeasty flavor so it's a very versatile (and, did I mention EASY) bread! :)


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