The first and only other time I’ve made beer bread, I used a mix that someone gave me as a gift. I don’t remember what kind of mix it was or what kind of beer I used to make it, but while other people really loved the bread, I thought it tasted pretty flat. So when I decided to make beer bread again, I wanted to make sure it had plenty of flavor.
For this bread, I found a very simple, no-nonsense recipe on Food.com that had a lot of good reviews. I decided to use a bottle of Sam Adams Boston and swapped 1 c of all-purpose flour with 3/4 c of white whole wheat flour. (I had planned to use regular whole wheat flour, but it turned out that I only had white whole wheat on hand.) Thanks to the myriad wonders of winter-time artificial kitchen light, the bread looks a touch neon in these photos, but I was really surprised by the deep golden color the crust and crumb had when they came out of the oven.
This is a hearty bread with a dense, chewy crust. Because of its texture, you have to be careful about the way you measure and mix your flour or you’ll end up with a loaf of bread that’s more like a brick. The original recipe recommends sifting the flour, but since I don’t have a sifter, I make sure to scoop my flour into a measuring cup with a spoon and then gently level it off with a knife. Either of these methods will help ensure that you don’t throw off the proportion of dry-to-wet ingredients. As you mix the batter, you also want to be careful to only stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Once I had mixed most of the dry ingredients, I actually stopped stirring and started gently turning the batter over in the bowl to find and incorporate any remaining dry areas. Even taking into account those few careful steps, it only takes a couple of minutes to mix the batter up and throw it in the oven.
This bread was really excellent–a major improvement from the first beer bread I made. The combination of the whole wheat flour and the lager gave it a rich, deep flavor that had a hint of sweetness balanced with just a touch of bitterness at the end. This particular version of this recipe would go really well with a bowl or chili or beef stew. Next time, I want to try using a lighter beer, cutting back a bit on the sugar, and stirring in some cheddar cheese and scallions.
I’m curious: if you’ve made beer bread, what’s your favorite beer to use?
Beer Bread (adapted from Food.com)
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat, but regular whole wheat would also work)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c of sugar
- 12 oz can or bottle of lager (I used Sam Adams Boston)
- 1/4 c butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the beer over the dry mixture (it will foam a lot at first, but it will calm down quickly) and stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it evenly in the pan. Pour the melted butter over the top of the batter.
- Bake for 1 hour, until the crust is golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting.