Have It Your Way Beer Bread

As summer fades and trails cooler weather in its wake, the kitchen oven becomes our friend once again. Yay, kitchen oven [muah!].

Sorry, Florida and South Texas. You’re still screwed.

When the tree outside my kitchen window begins to blush its rusty red autumn glow, I develop an inexplicable need to bake bread. Maybe it’s my northern European roots — my grandmothers were bread-bakers, one and all — because the impulse runs deep. Like the squirrels who have been half-burying walnuts in every pot on my deck. Surely they realize that half-buried is 50% not buried enough, but they seem compelled to do it anyway.

So … maybe not exactly like the squirrels, because I bake the bread, like, all the way through. But, you know, compelled. Like squirrels. With their nuts. And stuff. [Awkward silence]

(Dammit, SoupAddict, think your metaphors all the through before you use them.)

So … anyway … now, you’ve had beer bread before, right? What makes this recipe different, you ask, eyebrow cocked.

Well, I’ll tell ya: It’s the only beer bread recipe you really need. Delicious on its own — sweet, savory and salty, all in one — it’s also a fine host for your favorite quick bread add-ins.

Nuts? Yes.  Herbs and spices? Yes.  Onions? Yup.

Caramelized onions? Hell, yup.

Cheese? Yes, please.

Olives mustard leeks scallions chives bacon sun dried tomatoes salami smashed bananas zucchini sunflower seeds jalapenos garlic.

You get the picture.

Then there’s the prep time: five minutes, max. One bowl, one spatula, one pan. Done.

And the best part: experiment with different beers. A dark honey lager will produce something richer than Bud Light. Try a honey lager with sharp cheddar cheese and chives, and Bud Light with Italian herbs and sun dried tomatoes.

Oh, and it all goes really, really well with soup. But then, you knew I was going to say that. :)

Have It Your Way Beer Bread

adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 55 minutes
Yield: One loaf, about 8 one-inch slices

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat or whole wheat flour (or use all-purpose)
1 tablespoon baking powder (non-aluminum is best)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar (granulated or raw)
12 ounces your favorite beer
2 tablespoon butter, melted
coarse finishing salt, for topping (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter the inside of a loaf pan, or spray well with non-stick spray, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and beer and mix to combine. (If using add-ins, add them now and stir.) The dough should be stick-to-your-fingers sticky.
4. Pour dough into the loaf pan and smooth evenly with a spatula. Bake for 55 minutes.
5. At the last 5 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter (use it all), sprinkle with the coarse salt (if using) and return to oven to finish.
6. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

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  1. That bread is just plain beautiful and so are your pictures.

  2. 12 Oz of Sam Adams lager in the bread & another 12 Oz to drink along with the bread… And a hunk of sharp cheddar in hand. Just sayin’.
    I am so happy that “bread season” is back, until it snows – then, not so much.

    • SoupAddict says:

      Now, you’re my kind of bread baker! I’m the same way about the season. So happy for Fall and of the cool weather cooking … but then the snow hits and I’m reminded that I’m a Summer girl.

  3. yum, yum, yum. I want to get up and make this bread right now!

  4. Fun! I’m slightly to the west of you in Chicago!

  5. I wonder how this would work with Guiness? That’s a great winter brew by the way. Drink a little, bake a little, drink a little more, bake a little more.

    One bread I love making is Ciabatta bread. I keep a jar of yeast in the fridge just for the purpose. It’s a seriously simple recipe too, but it requires TIME. About 18 hours for the first rise, then another couple hours of rise time after that, and then back the sucker! Yum!

    • SoupAddict says:

      It totally works with Guinness. Seems like it would overpower the bread, but I didn’t find that to be the case. For add-ins, I would stick to things that can stand up to the Guinness, like onions, cheese, bacon. (The bottles are 12 oz, of course, but I can say that the bread doesn’t suffer from a little beer being, uh, siphoned off the top :) )

      Agree about the ciabatta – such a lovely bread and insanely wonderful right out of the oven.

  6. Although I am in Florida, I am not screwed. My weather in the morning is in the low 60’s, and it doesn’t get to 80’s til afternoon. I love bread baking and this looks like a great start to a baking season. Thanks.

  7. Ok, so I’m looking at a recipe for BREAD that involves BEER, and could possibly also contain CHEESE, and the only thing I can think is how awesome that bread pan is.

  8. I made this last night and I’ve almost finished the loaf! I made a Kilkenny, caramelized onion and thyme loaf. Must go have another slice, but wanted to say thanks first.

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