Tuesday, January 3, 2012
So my friend had a home show. The one where a sweet woman shows up and mixes up a bunch of different delicious dips and appetizers that only require the mix she sells and an ingredient or two from your kitchen. And it was all delicious. This company sells a mix for beer bread that is ridiculously simple--dump mix in bowl, add beer, bake. And it's incredibly tasty. But it's also like $6 a pop for a box of this stuff. Given that I quickly acquired an addiction to this beer bread, I didn't think I could fund that sort of habit. The bread will change flavors with the beer you use, so I suggest something with a lot of flavor (domestic light beers need not apply) to provide a subtle kick to a soft bread that has a crispy crust begging to be dunked in chili or served along side a big bowl of steamy winter soup.
After consulting my budget, I confirmed that spending $30 a month on bread mixes was a little excessive (yes, yes I could eat 5 loaves a month--well, maybe 4 for me and 1 for Dave). So to the internet I went where someone posted this recipe on Epicurious from Stephan Pyles, originally published in the book New Tastes from Texas. This stuff tastes exactly the same as the $6 a box stuff from the home show. Sold! It's now my go-to beer bread recipe and it really will change flavors depending on the beer you use. I've used a dark lager, an ale, an IPA, even a chocolate stout, and each time have gotten a slightly different taste. This bread is so good that one time I took a loaf to my in-laws for dinner. Following dinner, my mother-in-law was packing up leftovers to send home with Dave and I. She gave us all the leftover cake from dessert, but when I got home I noticed we didn't get any of the leftover beer bread. I think she considered it a trade! Go gentle on the mixing and use a good beer. Then make a big pot of chili and settle in for some playoff football.
12 ounces good beer, room temperature
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
Pour beer into a mixing bowl, being careful to tilt the bowl as you pour so as to not create a head or foam.
Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt all at once into the beer. Stir until combined and all ingredients are wet then stop. Don't overmix--the batter should be lumpy.
Transfer batter into a greased 9 x 5 bread pan. Pour or brush on as much of the melted butter over the top of the bread as you like.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely.
Makes one loaf.
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