I’m just going to say it: on St. Patrick’s Day, I’m really only celebrating the opportunity to drink beer. And eat beer cupcakes. And bake beer bread. I can’t speak for the cupcakes, but the beer bread is simple to make at home. And it really deserves to be a year-round favorite, since it lets you put a crusty loaf of homemade bread on the table in under an hour.
In its most basic form, a loaf of beer bread can be made with three ingredients: 3 cups of self-rising flour, a few tablespoons of sugar, and 12 oz. of beer. And if you’re lazy you can mix it up in the pan you’re going to bake it in — no dishes!
If you don’t have self-rising flour it’s only slightly more complicated; you have to add baking powder and salt to the flour yourself. Buttering your pan or the top of your bread isn’t necessary, but it will add a little buttery crunch to your bread’s crust.
You can make beer bread with any beer, but keep in mind that the flavor of the beer will influence the flavor of the finished loaf. A stout beer is a good choice, with its roasty flavors and slight sweetness. I used the Elysian Brewing Company’s Dragonstooth Stout. And just to be sure — for you, readers! — I also baked a loaf with their Immortal IPA. Both were delicious toasted and drenched in butter and honey.
But why stop there? The recipe below offers two variations: a savory bread with sharp cheddar and dill and a sweet one with vanilla and chocolate chips (hey, it’s no crazier than those cupcakes — in fact, it’s pretty great). You can vary the flavors infinitely by adding other ingredients: rosemary, chives, parsley, onion, garlic, and black pepper would all be great, as would grated hard cheeses or orange zest with a little extra sweetener added.
Take it easy on the bread if you think it’s going to sop up all that green beer you drank, though. Contrary to popular belief, the USDA says that alcohol doesn’t evaporate entirely when cooked or baked.
3 c. flour
¼ c. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. (that’s 1 ½ c.) beer
Optional: more butter, or additional flavoring ingredients (see below)
Preheat oven to 375⁰ and butter a bread pan. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add beer and mix to combine. Scoop dough into buttered pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack.
Optional: pour ¼ c. melted butter on top of dough before baking bread (this will make the edges of the bread a little crispy rather than just crusty). Or you can rub a few tablespoons of butter on top of the bread just after removing it from the oven.
Cheddar-Dill Beer Bread: Follow recipe above, adding 2 tsp. dried dill and 1 c. finely diced or shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients.
Chocolate-Stout Beer Bread: Follow recipe above, using a stout beer. Add ½ tsp. vanilla along with the beer, and stir in ½ c. chocolate chips as you mix the dough.
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