Beer bread can be a simple quick bread or a yeast bread flavoured with beer. Both beer and bread have a common creation process: yeast is used to turn sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol. In the case of bread a great percentage of the alcohol evaporates during the baking process.
Beer bread can be made with simply flour, beer, and sugar. Some bottled beers, especially craft beers may intentionally have visible live, but dormant, yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle. However, many mass market beers have the live yeast filtered out. Without sufficient leavening from the beer, a loaf of beer bread will be fairly dense and heavy unless an additional leavening agent, e.g., baking soda and/or baking powder, or baker’s yeast and sugar, is added. Self-raising flour may be used because it is a mixture of flour and leavening agent. Beer bread without a leavening agent is very sturdy and tends not to lose moisture if it is overcooked. The only consequence of overcooking tends to be a thicker crust. Pre-packaged Beer Bread mixes may also be purchased with the dry ingredients and leavening agents already included.
Different styles of beer bread can be made by using different beers; for instance, a stout or dark beer will give a darker bread with more pronounced flavour. Using a beer that is spiced, or has a flavour added, will make a bread with a similar flavour, but less intense than the beer.
One can add any flavourings to this simple recipe when mixing the dry ingredients to enhance the flavour of bread. Some suggestions include cheddar and dill, sundried tomato and herb, garlic and feta, etc. A consideration when choosing flavours is that if the beer bread is not going to be eaten straight away then the flavours will become enhanced upon storage.
- 3 cups unbleached self-rising flour
- 1 - 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
- 3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1½ cups beer
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a 23 x 13 x 8cm loaf pan.
- Mix the flour, sugar, 2¼ tablespoons of the melted butter, and the beer, stirring until fairly smooth; don't worry about a scattering of small lumps.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle with the remaining ¾ tablespoon melted butter.
- Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 1cm into the top of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack to cool.
- Wait until the bread cools completely before slicing. Store airtight at room temperature.