Weird Al Yankovic once sang – to the backing of Bizet, as you do – about beer and one of the many analogies is that beer is like liquid bread, and (somehow) this makes it good for you. Well I’ll leave it to nutritionalists to debate the accuracy of his ascersion, but what would happen if you combined beer and bread into one thing?
OK, so it sounds a far-fetched idea, but is it really? I don’t think so. Both taste delicious and both rely (to varying extents) on the power of yeast. Naturally this chain of thought lead me to the natural conclusion that I was going to have to make some beer bread. After a little bit of procrastinative Googling (totally a phrase) one afternoon I realised that apparently beer bread is actually a thing. How I’d never come across it before I don’t know, but now I have I feel there is no going back.
From a science-y perspective, the yeast that goes into the beer should totally be enough for rising the bread, and with a few tweaks to ordinary bread recipes I think it works quite well. Sure, it requires a lot less proving and baking powder to boost the rise, but the end product is, essentially, bread. Winning all round, I’m sure we can agree.
There were a lot of options for the beer in question, but I decided I’d go for something light and not too ‘beery’, in case it all went rather horribly wrong (self confidence for you right there). I went for Blue Moon – on the basis that the orange notes would be fun and I fancied drinking the ‘spare’ bottle I’d bought – which worked out rather nicely.
Whilst there are definitely still some improvements that can be made to this recipe and nearly endless types of beer to be used, I think this recipe is definitely a keeper. It’s also a great idea if you’re having people over this summer and need something to nibble on to avoid people getting drunk (too early), since it’s not only fun, but also totally relevant to times when people are already drinking beer!
Anyone got any ideas of beers to use in the next instalment?
This recipe is an original to The Usual Saucepans, based on research covering a whole variety of different recipe styles found in random corners of the internet. I halved this recipe first time round as a trial and it made a nice small loaf (a 1lb loaf tin sized one). I think it would also make a nice focaccia-style tear and share if you added in some herbs and made a few tweaks.
450g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
330ml beer (I used Blue Moon)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC – the oven needs to be hot to help rise the loaf.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the baking powder, sugar and salt in one by one. Combine all of these then make a well in the centre, to this add in a third of the beer. Mix the beer in then add the rest slowly, mixing as you go. The mixture will be quite wet and more like cake batter than bread dough, but don’t worry about this. Leave it to sit for about ten minutes then transfer to a non-stick loaf tin.
Place in the centre of the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly (leave at least 35 mins before checking for the first time).