Friday, October 1, 2010

Recipe 6: Beer Bread

If there is one thing I can't do in the kitchen, it's bake bread from scratch. It's my kryptonite. I've burned more bread and had more baking mishaps than I'd like to talk about. My attempt at making white whole grain wheat bread for my wife this spring was a huge disaster. And it ended up tasting like paste with crust. 

The only bread recipe I’ve been able to make successfully over the years is a simple beer bread recipe I’ve learned from my parents. I’m not sure where they got the recipe. They baked it long before they had the Internet. If I asked them now, they’ll probably give me 3 different answers.

I'm not a big drinker. I only consume 1 or 2 bottles of beer a month. So, you don't have to be a beer drinker to enjoy the bread. Both my mom and my wife hate beer, but love beer bread. Also, you don't have to worry too much about the alcohol content. At least 75% of the beer bakes out. So even if you ate the entire loaf at once, it would only equal a quarter bottle of beer (3 oz). That being said, I still don't serve the bread to my 2-year-old. If you are worried about how much alcohol is retained in cooking, check this link for more information:

Okay, here are the ingredients. The cool thing is, is that you probably have all 4 ingredients in your home already. Oh, and I do use measuring cups for this recipe. I don’t take any chances when it comes to bread.

3 cups self-rising flour*
3 tablespoons sugar (I use Splenda)
12 oz. bottle of room temperature beer. The more flavorful the beer, the more flavorful the bread will be.

* If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can use 3 cups all purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. I’ve never done this, so I had to look it up.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan with butter. You can use Pam, or what ever, but I find butter gives it more flavor.

Step 2: Take a kitchen spoon, and spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then pour into a large mixing bowl. It is important to “sift” the flour and not compact it into the cup. I found this little tip on the Internet. If you don’t sift the flour, you get a loaf that’s like a brick.

Step 3: Add the sugar and beer and mix well with a wooden spoon. Also, I like to add a tablespoon or 2 of soft butter into the mix, to give it a nice buttery taste. You can leave it out, if you want.

Step 4: Pour the dough mixture into the bread pan. The dough will be a little sticky. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Step 5: Let it cool in the pan then turn it onto a rack.

It goes great with chili (recipe posted last week), grilled steak, or beef stew. 

Try experimenting with different beers. My brother likes his with dark beer. I prefer mine with Samuel Adams seasonal beer, though I used Saranac for this blog.

Anyway, enjoy the recipe. And search the Internet. There’s probably fancier recipes out there.

Next week: My wife's peach cobbler.

Guten Appetit!

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