Beer Bread

Barbara S. Miller

Beer bread baked by Barbara S. Miller

Always wanting to try out a beer bread recipe, I rose to the occasion when I learned in the Observer-Reporter’s daily morning Zoom conference call that a co-worker was writing about yeast shortages.

Not being a beer drinker, I happened to have saved an unopened can of Iron City premium lager I had found tossed in my yard one morning last summer.

The “waste not, want not” adage applies to food consumed during pandemics, so I brought the cellar-cold can up to the kitchen to reach room temperature a few hours in advance.

Online recipes refer to beer loaves as a “quick bread,” and this was the quickest ever: no bananas to peel and mash, no apricots to snip, no blueberries to wash, no dates to soak, no nuts to chop, as required by other tried-and-true ventures in “Quick Bread Land,” the recipes for which require no yeast and therefore, no rising time outside the oven.

Only three ingredients pre-oven make this recipe as easy as pie – that phrase was definitely crafted by wordsmith who never wrested a hand-rolled crust from work surface to pie pan.

Interestingly enough, there are no ingredients listed on the side of a beer can, but it’s typically fermented from water, grain, hops and yeast.

While baking, the bread produced a slightly yeasty aroma. Hot-from-the-oven bread is so enticing, that I couldn’t resist an almost immediate taste test once the loaf could be handled.

The slice was dense and biscuit-like and lacked a salty savoriness. The melted butter I used was from an unsalted stick, so I actually found myself sprinkling on a few shakes to liven up the finished product. I covered it and let it sit for 12 hours to see if “resting” improved the flavor. The answer? Not really.

Due to time constraints, there was no opportunity to try a second loaf with an added teaspoon or so of salt. And no one bothered to lob an unopened beer can into my yard overnight.

I checked.

Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

12 oz. beer

Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, place first three ingredients. (No self-rising flour? The formula calls for 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour, so this translates, for Beer Bread recipe, to 1 1/2 teaspoons of each of those leavening agents.)

Mix well, The result will be somewhere between a thick batter and a soft dough. Pour and, to use the last bits, scrape into a buttered 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan. Smooth to create a uniform top.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour on rack placed in center. Upon removing from oven, brush right away with about two tablespoons of melted butter to soften the hard crust.

Online, nonalcoholic versions call for 12 ounces of seltzer water or pale soda pop, but a yeastless sugary drink would result in a sweeter end product.

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