Beer Bread


Autumn, Bread, Oktoberfest, Originals / Thursday, October 29th, 2009

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When I posted the Cinnamon Biscuits as a quick alternative to cinnamon rolls, I learned something very important: many, many cooks are yeast-phobic. And I get that. There’s nothing like uncovering a bowl of would-be pizza dough (after hours of waiting) and finding a sad, unrisen, murky pool of nothing.

What we need is a baby step. Something that has the flavor of yeast but doesn’t require all the wishing and hoping and proofing and folding. Something foolproof and delicious.

That’s Beer Bread. Simple. Quick. And so good with a schmear of honey butter or vegetable spread. And a big bowl of soup.

The process takes just a few minutes: whisk the dry ingredients, add a bottle of beer and stir. Then pour a little melted butter into your loaf pan, spoon in the batter, and top it off with the remaining butter.

Bake. Eat. Love.

The batter won’t look like much at first, but after 50 minutes in the oven, the planets will align, and you’ll have a perfectly risen loaf of bread. The tablespoon of baking powder makes all the difference. Beer breads made with baking powder tend to be lighter, taller and less brick-like than their baking powderless-cousins. As for all that butter, it adds tons of flavor and moisture (to keep the bread from becoming brick-like) and helps the bread turn a beautiful golden brown.

How you serve the bread is completely up to you. I’ve seen it sliced. I’ve seen it cut into rough cubes, so that every piece has plenty of that buttery top or bottom real estate. And I’ve been at dinner parties where everyone just pulled a hunk of bread off the loaf.

Delicious, yet lacking in pretension. And fussiness. So appreciated.

Beer Bread

From Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)

Makes 1 loaf

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (Note: Feel free to reduce to 1/4 cup.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer into the dry ingredients until just mixed.
  4. Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. Slide a baking sheet onto a lower rack to catch any butter that might overflow from the loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

51 thoughts on “Beer Bread

  1. I'm one of those yeast-a-phobes, so thank you for this. This I can do! Seriously, I want to reach through the screen and just rip off a big bite right now!

    1. Any beer will work, but the bread definitely takes on the flavor of the beer. So, if you'd prefer a lighter beer flavor, use a light beer. I used a lager left from a six-pack I bought to make chili. Light beer, dark beer, spiced beer – any will do the trick.

  2. Say someone wanted to get a little wild of a weekend and throw some cheese in there, what would be your thoughts on that, and how much cheese would you think about throwing in? This looks really wonderful.

    1. You wild thing. Cheese is delicious in this bread, and if you really want to get crazy, add some chives or another herb. Or hot peppers … oooooh.

  3. Thanks so much for this recipe! My friend and I are going to try this out with pumpkin ale (seeing as she has a large quantity of this and tomorrow is Halloween) in honor of the pumpkin season.

  4. I'm definitely going to try this! I'm a yeast-a-phobe because I haven't had much success with recipes calling for yeast. I love beer breads and this one looks so simple and delicious!

  5. Oh my goodness, I haven't made beer bread in years. Thank you so much for reminding me about it!

    You're completely right: it's simple, quick and delicious.

    And as to the type of beer you use, I've used all sorts. I probably didn't use quite the same recipe as you have here, but I've used Red Ale, Guinness, Brown Ale, Bitter… in fact the only one I *haven't* tried is lager!

    Anyway, thank you so much for reminding me about beer bread! Great stuff.

    1. You know, I hadn't made any in years. Had a lone bottle of lager in the fridge and some really good vegetable spread, and it finally dawned on me to make some bread.

  6. Oh my this looks so good and I haven’t made it in years either. I’ve a lonely bottle of TJ’s chocolate stout in the fridge that’s crying to appear in something. Wonder if it would work cause heaven knows the beer’s too good to waste and well, beer bread’s too good too. Whatcha’ think? Should I give it a go?

  7. I've been wanting to try making beer bread as I never have time to wait for bread made from scratch to rise, so this sounds right up my alley.

    A comment on the food science though — I don't think the yeast in the beer has anything to do with the bread rising, as you seem to imply. The beer's yeast is probably not live anymore, and even if it were, it would need time to produce bubbles to cause the bread to rise, just like normal yeasted bread. The yeast from the beer gives flavor, but I would think the baking powder is the only thing doing the leavening here, just like any other quick bread. Am I missing something?

    1. Mary! Thank you for the comment on the food science. I've updated the post based on the issues you brought up, because I'm having trouble finding anything definitive, which drives me NUTS! Where's Alton Brown when I need him? ;)

  8. I just made this to go along with a lamb roast, and it was easy and great, but it does seem like the dough was floating in the melted butter. Normally I'm all for butter, but I would recommend placing a cookie sheet underneath the loaf pan, so that when the butter boils over and out of the pan, it doesn't land on the element and ignite, like it did to me!

  9. Dude, hilarious!
    I just came across your blog from the blogroll at NaBloPoMo – can't wait to try this recipe and following you this month.

    Nice work!

  10. mmmm…..just the thought of this is making my mouth water. going to try this out next week! gonna go filch one can of dad's beer. thank you for posting this up, cos i'm terribly yeast-phobic. everytime i bake a cake i sit by the oven and chant "cake please rise" :)

  11. wow. just…thank you so much. i love bread like crazy, but i've always been scared of yeast. this recipe is amazing and i know i'll probably use it the rest of my life. :)

  12. Made this with Murphy's, turned out fantastic! Though my butter-loving boyfriend insists on putting even more putter on it before he eats…

  13. Delicious! I added grated cheddar cheese and used only 2T butter (just on top – sprayed the pan with cooking spray). It worked out great!

  14. So, this bread made people think I knew what I was doing! It's soooo good. I am getting married in October and would love to make a loaf per family (having a very small wedding) for one of my favors. Does anyone know the freezability of this bread? I would have to make it a week prior to the wedding and then it would have to travel about 5 hours. Am I crazy? I know it's best right out of the oven but . . .

  15. AMAZING! this bread was so easy and turned out perfect! Thanks for the great recipe, I cant wait to try more of yours!

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