Since returning from a short jaunt east of the mountains, I’ve been knee-deep in beer bread. I had a slice at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Wenatchee, Washington, and was unable to sleep until I re-created the recipe. Pregnant palates are mighty picky, and mine needed another slice of that warm, yeasty bread. Several loaves later, I’ve come as close as I can manage.
Lucky for me (and for you), this bread needs no kneading, no rising, and practically no work. If you have 5 minutes, a spare bottle of beer, and a few basic pantry ingredients, you’re all set.
The “moist-makers” (name that show!) include honey, one bottle of beer, butter, and a little club soda.
For the dry stuff: bread flour, baking powder and salt. I never attempted a loaf using all-purpose flour, but I’m sure it would turn out fine.
Pour in the beer, club soda and honey…
…and stir just until the flour mixture is moistened. It will only take a moment, and the dough will be lumpy and not very pretty.
Spread it into a greased 9×9″ pan (don’t poke and prod it too much—the unevenness lends nice texture later on).
Melt half a stick of butter and brush it over the dough…
…and then pour the rest right on in. For the moment it will look like a butter dough swamp, but the oven will quickly remedy the mess.
Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
See? Texture, my friends. Crusty, beer-bready texture. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing and serving.
For the non-incubating crowd, enjoy it alongside a frosty cold one. But for those of us with more than beer bread in the oven, eat it with chili, dip it in soup, pile it high with pastrami and mustard, or simply spread with butter.
I’ve made breads that take hours and days, and very few of them compare to the flavor of this bread. The beer lends a deep yeast flavor, but without all of the kneading and rising that yeast breads require.
Does it taste like beer? Slightly. A lighter beer will provide less flavor than a darker variety. The honey adds a slightly sweet note that works nicely alongside the hops. And all but a teeny, tiny bit of the alcohol bakes off, which means I can enjoy this treat in all of my pregnant glory, even when an actual stein is far out of reach.
Honey Beer Bread, loosely adapted from this recipe from Epicurious
Yield: one 9×9″ loaf of bread.
- 4 c bread flour
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 12 oz bottle or can of beer
- 1/2 c club soda
- 1/4 c honey
- 1/4 c (4 tbsp) butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour in the beer, club soda and honey. Stir just until moistened—the dough will be lumpy and sticky.
Spread into a greased 9×9″ pan. Brush the dough with melted butter and pour the remaining butter on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool before serving.