|beer bread made with Harp...mmm mmm good !|
This really is just about the easiest beer bread in the world...well, short of buying a mix. There's really no reason to buy a mix, though; we're talking 5 ingredients including the beer...most likely things you have around the house, assuming someone in your house drinks beer (or buys it for their friends). Oh, you can throw in more ingredients, if you feel up to it; this can very easily turn into an Italian Herb bread, or a Cheddar-Dill Bread, or even an Apple-Cinnamon Bread. At its core, though, this is simple perfection; beautiful crust, tender crumb, the slightest touch of sweet. Hearty enough to stand up to whatever you want to spread on it, adaptable enough to make friends with whatever meal you want to serve it with, confident enough to stand on its own...this is just damn good bread.
|bread made with - and standing next to - a Sam Adams|
|another shot of the Harp loaf|
|and another shot of the Sam|
- Do follow the cooling instructions at the end...it's tempting to tear right in when this comes out of the oven, but it will very likely fall apart if you do.
- If your beer isn't quite 12 ounces - for example, Red Stripe comes in an 11.2 ounce bottle - just add a little water until you get to 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)
- I've given some variations at the end of the recipe. You can also sub out half the white flour for whole wheat; I would suggest adding another teaspoon of baking powder if you do. (I probably wouldn't use more whole wheat than that , or you will get very dense bread...though if you're into that sort of thing, go for it !) You can also substitute brown sugar for white, if you like the taste of the brown; brown sugar is particularly nice with whole wheat flour, and also goes very nicely with many types of beer.
Basic Beer Bread
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) beer of your choice
Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8" loaf pan (or spray with cooking spray)
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl; slowly pour in beer. Mix with a nice sturdy spoon (this will be thick) until combined.
Spread batter in pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until it's starting to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then remove from pan and cool another 10.
Serve warm, cold, or anywhere in between. Keeps very well.
Italian Herb Bread : add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning to dry ingredients. (I mix my own Italian Seasoning; for this bread, that would basically work out to 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. basil, and 1/2 tsp. rosemary). A teaspoon of minced garlic wouldn't go amiss here either.
Cheesy Dill Bread : add 1/2 cup grated cheddar and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill (or 2 tsp dried) to dry ingredients.
Apple-Cinnamon Bread : increase sugar to 2 tablespoons. Add one peeled and chopped apple and 2 tsp. of cinnamon to dry ingredients.
Irish Beer Bread : use Guinness for beer; add 1/2 cup currants to dry ingredients. (This would work particularly well with the whole wheat - brown sugar version)