beer-bread-3

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.