If you’re like me, you love a good slice of bread. Slathered with butter, even better. I’m also more likely to hit up my favourite bakeries for their impeccable loaves of all things gluten than to bake bread at home.
I know I’m not the only one just a little intimidated by yeast, kneading, proofing… that whole shebang. But, I’ve recently discovered the wonders of beer bread. And by wonders, I mean the yeasty taste and texture of a risen loaf, without exerting any great effort whatsoever. And all of that magic takes place within one bowl. No stand-mixer, or dough hook required!
The most important part of a good beer bread is, of course, the beer. While you might be tempted to hit up your favourite microbrewery for a growler of their finest ale, go ahead, but you’d be best to sip it than bake with it. In other words, you don’t need a super fancy beer for this bread, it’s best to stay on the side of lager or light beer.
If you find yourself with a lone can or two of light beer in the back of your fridge, that would be just fine. Not a big beer drinker myself, the chance of finding lone cans of lager in my fridge are next to zero, so I just hit up my nearest and dearest liquor store. I picked up a can of Stella Artois, but anything pale will work. It’s best to stay away from the dark, bitter beers, as they will cast a dark, bitter taste upon the bread, and you don’t want that. Assembling the bread takes mere minutes. Preheat your oven to 375º F. Stir together the dry ingredients and pour in the beer.
Give it a good stir and scrape it into the loaf pan. That’s really all the technique involved. You likely won’t need all of the beer, so a few sips remain for you. I bet you’re loving this recipe already! Bake for about 35 minutes, and then pour melted, salted butter over the bread. Bake again, so the butter goes nicely into all of the crevices, then remove from the oven and let it cool.
The smells emanating from the loaf are heavenly: beer, butter, yeast and cheese. The hardest part is waiting for the bread to cool so you can cut it, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded with a slice of deliciousness. The texture is nice and springy, with a good bit of chew. The butter, oh the butter, makes a lovely crust.
There may be arguing over who gets the end pieces, just a word of caution. Fantastic with warm and hearty soups and stews, but also quite lovely when toasted with butter and jam for the next morning’s breakfast, this beer bread is versatile and super easy. It has now gone onto heavy baking rotation in my house, and I’ve tried other add-ins such as chopped rosemary and thyme, minced garlic, pinches of chili flakes and smoked paprika, and using honey instead of sugar. All grand, if I do say so myself. For an easy-to-make quick bread, this loaf really can’t be beat!
See here for Renee Kohlman’s fantastic recipe for One-Bowl Beer and Cheese Bread