Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not at All Fancy - Just Old-fashioned Tasty Beer Bread

If you're expecting a rich bread like challah or brioche, this is not it. This bread is somewhat dense and heavy and therein lies its magic. It's quick and very simple to make. It goes great smothered with butter. Basically, the technique is this: you mix equal parts self-rising flour and beer to make a batter, not unlike the method used for muffins or a batter cake. It's OK if there are a few small lumps! It's OK if there are a few small patches of dry flour. Mix it together, spoon it into a prepared pan and let it rise at room temperature for an hour or so before baking. Then bake.

This bread, alas, does not keep well so it's best to eat it all the first day. Like that's a problem. If any is left over, btw, it makes great toast. The other thing is that, by itself, this bread is actually a little bland. So... you are invited to use your imagination to liven it up a bit. Here's the basic recipe, followed by some suggestions for variations. Believe me, you love it.

Here's What You'll Need:
3 1/2 cups (about 500g) self-rising flour
1 large can (500ml) beer (don't bother buying fancy expensive beer, plain is just fine)
1/2 Tbs. salt

Here's What You'll Need to Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
2. Mix the flour, and salt until evenly distributed, then add the beer slowly until you achieve a fairly smooth batter. It is important that the beer be at room temperature so it does not delay the baking time, or, if you use yeast (see below) it will slow the action of the yeast.
3. Pour/spoon the batter to a loaf pan that has been greased and floured lightly.
4. Bake for about an hour (the long baking time is to let the beer evaporate) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
5. Let the bread cool on a rack for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool. This bread can be served warm or at room temperature.

* OK, that's the basic beer bread. Like I said a little plain. The great thing is the way it can be varied. Here are a few ideas.

a) Add a teaspoon of yeast to the batter, in which case, let the bread rise in the pan for about an hour before baking. It will be more 'bready' and less 'cakey'.

b) Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped olives and 1/2 cup kashkeval  cheese to the batter and mix evenly before placing in the baking pan.

c) Add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts to the batter.

d) Add 1/2 cup carmelized onions (sauteed lightly until they release their natural sugar and brown) to the batter.

e) Add 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes and some rosemary.

f) Add a handful of coarsely chopped basil and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

g) Add 1/2 cup oven-roasted eggplant and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

and on and on... you get the idea!


  1. First visit to your blog. Your breads look wonderful, can't wait to try some of your recipes!

  2. Thanks so much! Glad you like the blog. I am having a lot of fun with it and eating a lot of good bread. Please recommend it to anyone you think might be interested.
    All the best,