Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beer Bread

If you don’t have a lot of prep time or rise time, but you do have some beer on hand, this a great quick-bread for soups and salads. I use just a few tablespoons of ale in some of my rustic artisan loaves, so I often have the remainder of a bottle hanging around in the fridge (we aren’t big beer drinkers ;-)

It’s such as basic recipe you can change it up with whatever additional flavors you want. One of my favorite variations is a bunch of fresh basil from the garden and a generous handful of grated cheddar and asiago; or some chopped sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and crumbled feta. You can simplify it and use all one type of flour and sugar, but I've found this combination produces the best crumb.

2 cups (8.5 oz) white wheat flour (sifted)

1 cup (4.25 oz) all purpose flour (sifted)

1 Tbsp baking powder (preferably aluminum free)

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp granulated sugar (raw works fine)

Herbs, cheese, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, etc, as desired (optional)

1 (12 oz) can beer (cheap, old, or flat beers all work just fine)

2-4 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in medium sized bowl. Make a well in the middle and add beer. Stir until well combined, but no more. Pour into a greased loaf pan and level the top. Pour melted butter over the dough surface. Bake 50-60 minutes until top is brown and crusty. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes more.

Slice thickly, as it tends to crumble otherwise. Eat within 1-2 days, as texture deteriorates after that. Leftover slices make a great platform for egg salad sandwiches!

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