With Grocery Stores Empty: “Beer Bread” is a Thing!

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To say that the last week has been unprecedented would be an understatement for the ages.  Our family has been held up inside our home under a suggested statewide quarantine, NCAA March Madness has been cancelled and our local grocery stores are out of everything ranging from toilet paper to bread.

With all of this being said, like always, hard times have risen to out of the box thinking and a return to some of the “old ways”.

Case in point: Beer bread.

Because beer and bread have a common creation process it should not be too that some are marrying the two.

Dating back to at least the mid-1800s, “beer bread”, was once a highly popular recipe for bread for many families; however, it grew out of practice around the time of Prohibition and never really made a big comeback… Until now.

The basic ingredients for a loaf of beer bread are: 3 cups self-rising flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 12 ounces beer, and 2 tablespoons melted butter.

The step by step process to creating your own homemade bread from beer is actually quite simple:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine the above mentioned ingredients (flour, sugar, and beer) into a large bowl.   Be sure to mix the contents well.
  3. After thoroughly mixing the ingredients, pour the contents into a loaf pan that has been buttered and insert into oven.
  4. Bake for 55 minutes.
  5. In the final 2-4 minutes of baking remove the loaf from the oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven to complete the baking process.
Photo courtesy of Adam Ginsburg.
Photo courtesy of Adam Ginsburg.

Because the contents of beers vary so greatly, the results of the above recipe are hardly anything uniform.  Some bottled beers—especially craft beers—may intentionally have visible dormant, but live, 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 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 made without a leavening agent is very sturdy, but tends not to lose moisture when cooked for a long time; lengthier cooking tends to produce a thicker crust. Pre-packaged beer bread mixes, with the dry ingredients and leavening agents already included, are available to purchase.

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 flavor. Using a beer that is spiced, or has a flavor added, will make a bread with a similar flavor, but less intense than the beer.

A great percentage of the alcohol evaporates during the baking process.

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