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Beer Bread

16 years ago

OK, this isn't very harvest-y except that it calls for fresh herb (more on that later). But it's something I am really pleased with, and wd go well with many savoury Harvest creations (like herbed butter, pepper jelly), so I thought I'd share.

This recipe was in the Toronto _Globe and Mail_ on Saturday with several other recipes involving beer, apparently in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. (Guess it beats instructions for making green mashed potatoes.)

I tried it last night, since we had a couple of bottles of beer that have been sitting around for ages (when we do want to drink, we tend to go for the local cider instead).

Turned out just lovely --- a wonderful texture, sort of between a typical quick bread and a dense risen bread (the reason being apparently the yeast in the beer). So it can be sliced & toasted, even used for sandwiches (GREAT with cheese). As far as I can tell it should have very little fat (only what's in the cheddar). And it was quick to make!

Beer Bread

- from Lucy Waverman's column, Toronto _Globe and Mail_, March 15, 2008, p. L14

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup chopped herbs*

1 cup grated old cheddar

341 mL (12 fl. oz) wheat beer or lager

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat overn to 350. Spray or butter a loaf pan.

Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, & baking powder. Add the herbs and cheese and stir to coat w/ flour. Stir in beer and mustard until mixture forms a dough. (You may need to knead it a few times by hand to bring it together.) [I did OK using a wooden spoon sort of like a dough hook on a mixer --Z]

Turn the dough into a buttered loaf pan and use a damp hand to smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch. [I baked it more like 50 minutes, till a knife came out clean.]


*The recipe called for dill, which I don't have and didn't think sounded ideal. I used tarragon because I had some, but don't recommend it --- the only thing I dont' like about this bread is that hint of flavour. I would try, I think, parsley, savoury, and/or chives. OR maybe rosemary --- it's got a strong flavour that would either be great or terrible.


Comments (11)

  • 16 years ago

    Hey, Zabby, thanks for sharing this recipe! I made a loaf tonight, and it was very easy and very good. I went on a bit of a beer loaf bender this past fall, and believe you me, some recipes yield hideous results. But this one is yummy--I especially like the addition of cheese and the bit of mustard. However, I have to respectfully disagree with you about the dill. It was the PERFECT herb for this bread! However, I used a tablespoon of dried instead. Finally, I baked my bread for 50 minutes, and it still came out a little doughy right in the center. So be careful, folks!

    In any case, this bread was delicious with homemade soup tonight for dinner (sausage, corn and sweet potato chowder), and the leftovers will be ideal with corned beef and cabbage tomorrow night. Thanks again!


    Here is a link that might be useful: Lindsey's Luscious

  • 16 years ago

    It may be that because there is beer in it, that its using he yeast in beer. But some bottled beers are pasturized and lack active yeast. Never seen a wheat beer, only barley types. I suppose it would also work great with a draft type beer that has no pasturization or heated process. I'll be making some beer bratwurst soon and have dried beer for that. My Easter Bubka will be made soon and thats a sweeter bread. Its made with some milk, eggs, bread flower, honey, or sugar, and some mace. I like adding white raisins to it as well as a frosting of light orange flavored glaze.

  • 16 years ago


    Well, thanks for sharing your experience! I will perhaps try dill after all. (I was sure wrong that tarragon was a good idea, so what do I know?) ;-)

    I guess I'm lucky I came across this recipe as my first introduction to the concept of beer bread! Agreed, the cheese and bit o' mustard really make it.

    BTW, the author cautions against using a dark beer as giving it "too much of a beery taste," suggesting to stick to a wheat beer (kind of a trendy thing, Ken) and lager. The one I used was indeed unpasteurized, which is why I really wanted to use it up.



  • 16 years ago

    Tarragon is great with the bean families.

  • 16 years ago

    To test when bread is completely cooked and avoid a doughy center - stick an interest thermometer in the center and when it reads 200 degrees F it is finished, guaranteed. If you think it is getting too brown on top - one of two things; either the oven is too hot or you need to put a light layer of aluminum foil over it to reduce the browning.

    I've been baking breads for many years and have never tried a beer bread. Tomorrow would be a good day to try it! Thanks for the recipe. Gotta go to the store for some lager!


  • 16 years ago

    Just took a loaf or rye bread out of the oven a couple of minutes ago. It was made with rye flour, whole wheat, regular bread flour, some malt (as a sugar), a little ascorbic acid, some wheat gluten (gives more to the low gluten rye), some Heidleberg sour flavor, carraway seeds, lecithin, salt, and granulated dry onion. I started a batch of flour and regular yeast this morning and let it bubble all day. Half will be used to make Bubka tomorrow, and the other half was in the rye bread. The house has a nice bakery smell right now.

  • 16 years ago

    I find the "slip a knife in the centre and see if it comes out clean" method works well for cakes and quickbreads (worked for this beer bread, too). For yeast breads, well, obvivously, the only way to be SURE is to cut one loaf through the middle and cut off a nice, warm, fragrant slice and eat it. Maybe spread with a hint of butter. Which of course means you always have to bake more than one loaf at a time. Just to be sure, you know. Eating that test slice is a sacrifice I'm willing to make to be sure I don't ever serve my guests bread with a doughy centre. It's hard, but I'm willing. ;-)

  • 16 years ago

    Zabby, this sounds wonderful. I have a cheddar/beer recipe that I use, but I really like the addition of the mustard. I have a wonderful, grainy mustard that Melly sent me that would be perfect.

    Definitely I'm making this tonight because we have to have the soft, sweet squishy type dinner rolls from Grandma's recipe for Easter Dinner.


  • 16 years ago

    I just wanted to let people know that I blogged about Zabby's beer bread, and also about another recipe from the same Globe and Mail article--Chocolate Guinness Cake. Yum! If you want to check it out, the link is below. Thanks again, Zabby!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cheesy Beer Bread & Chocolate Guinness Cake

  • 16 years ago

    Wow, Joy, I feel honoured to be mentioned in your blog!

    We have a can of guinness sitting around looking forlorn, too, so I may have to try that cake.

    I did make the third of the three recipes from that article, the slow-cooked salmon with beer in the sauce, and was unimpressed. It was not bad, but not great. Basically, I feel salmon is so delicious just grilled with a bit of butter and herbs that a recipe had better be very good to be worth doing anything else!


  • 16 years ago

    Thought I would share that I made this today with some finely chopped green onion, and I think it was the tastiest version yet.

    Friends came out from the city for the Maple festival and we had a terrifically busy day running around, then came back to my place. I fired up the wood stove, poured out some apple cider, and served a dead-simple dinner of the beer bread and a stew I'd put on to simmer in the morning. It was a fantastic hit --- these are major foodie friends, and they were as complimentary as they've ever been of slaved-over multi-course meals. The kids slurped up every bite, too.

    It was just the right food in the right place at the right time.

    Zabby, very tired but very content

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