Beer Bread: In 3-2-1
I was introduced to Beer Bread in high school.
(That didn’t sound as nerdy in my head as it does now, but it is the truth.)
We had three options for foreign language classes: French, Spanish and German. Having grown up with German-speaking grandparents and a family who occasionally sang verses of hymns in German, it was an easy decision. Finding out I could travel to Germany with a small group the summer after my junior year sealed the deal.
Bake sales funded a portion of our trip and Beer Bread was a big seller. This is one of the very few recipes I have committed to memory. It’s not really impressive, it’s just that easy.
Three ingredients. No kneading. So many options.
3 … 2 … 1 … BEER BREAD
THREE: 3 cups of self-rising flour
TWO: 2 tablespoons of sugar
ONE: 1 12-ounce can/bottle of room-temperature beer, and maybe another cold one for yourself…I don’t judge.
Mix together and bake. Seriously. It’s that easy. See the “detailed” recipe below.
craft(ING) beer bread
Grocery stores are carrying amazing varieties of beer: ales, lagers, IPAs, stouts, porters and sours.
Look for seasonal beers to help you choose one that will flavor your bread and compliment your meal.
SPRING: citrus, herbs, hoppy IPA’s,
SUMMER: lemon, wheat, shandy
FALL: pumpkin, molasses, ales and hard apple ciders
WINTER: vanilla, coffee, porters and stouts
Another way to customize this recipe is to mix in other ingredients prior to adding the beer:
one tablespoon of Italian seasoning + 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder + 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of diced chili/jalapeño/poblano peppers + 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dried currants + 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios + 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
This recipe can also be made into muffins, biscuits or three small loaves. The only thing to take into consideration is baking time. Drop biscuits will require the least baking time (check after 10-12 minutes). Muffins should be first checked at 14-15 minutes and small loaves at 20-25 minutes.
Don’t want to use alcohol? Any carbonated beverage will work: club soda, ginger ale, ginger beer, sparkling/mineral water, etc.
The flavors will be different but that’s the point. Be creative.
from bread to bowl to crust
BREAD BOWLS: Click here to learn how to make Beer Bread bowls for soup.
PIZZA CRUST: Place a sheet of parchment paper over a pizza pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and carefully press and pull the dough into a circle. The dough may tear but it can be pinched back together. Allow crust to rest and rise for 10 minutes. Drizzle/brush with olive oil and place in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add sauce and toppings. Return to oven and continue baking until cheese and sauce are bubbly and crust is well browned.
be prepared … be generous
SIMPLIFY: A 5-pound bag of self-rising flour will make 5 loaves of bread. Make this recipe even easier by portioning 3 cups of the flour into each of 5 quart-size resealable baggies. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to each bag and stir a little to mix. Seal tightly, removing as much air as possible and place in the freezer. (Writing the date on the bags is always a good idea for things that get lost in large freezers.) When you are ready to make a loaf, just proceed as directed in the recipe.
GIFT-GIVING: Instead of using a resealable baggie, put flour and sugar in a decorative cellophane bag. Place the bag of dry ingredients, a bottle of beer, some napkins, a bottle opener and the baking instructions in a 6-pack beer carton as a fun and simple gift. A disposable aluminum loaf pan could also be used as a container for the gift. Add a block of cheese and a jar of fancy pickles or jam to embellish the gift more.
leftover beer bread?
- TOAST: Add butter, honey or jelly.
- SANDWICHES: Create-your-own grilled cheese or panini sandwiches.
- CROUTONS: Cut the bread into 1/2″ cubes, drizzle and toss with olive oil, garlic salt and black pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes until golden brown. Store in a cool, dry place or in the freezer.
- BREAD CRUMBS: Homemade bread crumbs make the best meatballs. Cut the bread into 1/2″ cubes and place in a food processor or blender. Process cubes until fine crumbs are formed. Place in a resealable bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.
PROST! is the German equivalent for CHEERS! This was one of the many wonderful things I learned on my adventure in Germany and every time I make beer bread, memories return:
there’s a polka playing at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich …
everyone has a big mug of beer in hand and joins in the chorus …
Eins … Zwei … G’suffa!