Cooking With Beer Part I: Crunchy Beer Bread

By Melissa Schneider January 24, 2013 No Comments

Chances are, you’ve been cooking with wine for years, right? Reductions, deglazing, wine sauces, you’ve tried it all. But that can of Guinness, or your favorite IPA?  Maybe not.

You’ve probably avoided tipping an ale into to your favorite dishes either because you need a good recipe, or you’re watching your diet. Well, let’s resolve the second bit right now: ounce for ounce, wine has almost twice as many calories as beer!  We just think of beer as “worse” because a can of beer (12 oz) is two or three times the volume of a glass of wine (4-6 oz).  Thus, at a restaurant, wine is always the waistline winner.  In the kitchen, though, the tables shall turn: 5 ounces of red wine will run you 127 calories, whereas 5 ounces of Budweiser a mere 77. Not to mention that some of the calories will cook off anyway. Beer can add sweet, bitter, yeasty, or chocolatey flavors to everyday dishes. So, let the cooking with beer experiments begin with this recipe for crunchy, buttery beer bread!

Crunchy Beer Bread
My mother-in-law passed this recipe along a few months back and it’s simple and delicious. Growing up, my husband remembers eating it with hearty lentil stews (luckily, it’s Legume Month on Fooducopia!), but we just munched it happily right out of the oven. The flavor is complex, tasty, and unique, and the butter gives the crust a wonderful crunch!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (I used “Better for Bread” flour, but All-Purpose is okay too)
  • 3 teaspoons baking power (omit if using self-rising flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using self-rising flour)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 12-oz can beer (I used Guinness, but a medium lager or Pumpkin Ale would work too)
  • ¼ cup melted butter

Method: Preheat the oven to 375 °F and place a rack in the center slot. Mix the dry ingredients and beer, skipping the butter for now. Sift the flour if you can, or spoon and level it gently into the one-cup measure, avoiding compressing. Grease a loaf pan well (don’t skimp on the bottom like I did) and pour the batter into the pan. Spread it out, then slowly dribble melted butter evenly over the top. It sounds strange, but as the bread cooks and rises, it will lift up through the butter, glazing the surface with a fantastic brown crust. Bake for one hour, then loosen the loaf, carefully remove it from pan, and cool it on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

P.S. Pressed for time? Consider the whole wheat bounty beer bread mix from Lu Austin Preserves instead!

Photo (cc) by Flickr user jmholloway

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