Beer bread is a hearty, simple quick bread that derives its name from one of its primary flavorings, a full can or bottle of beer. It is a versatile variety of bread, with several possible options for flavoring, from different kinds of beers, seasonings, cheeses, grains, and flours. Though it is commonly sold as a mix, the recipe has few ingredients and can easily be made from scratch.
There are several different variations of beer bread recipes, but the basic ingredients are usually self-rising or all-purpose flour, sugar, beer, and butter. If flour is not self-rising, baking powder and salt are also typically added so that the bread will not be too dense. To make the bread, the basic dry ingredients and any other added seasonings or cheeses are mixed together with the beer. Then the mix is poured in a pan and baked for about an hour.
Some recipes call for melted butter to be poured over the mix once it is in the pan. The butter can also be added to the mix instead if a softer crust is desired. Brushing a mixture of egg beaten with water on the top of the bread once it is in the pan can give the finished loaf an attractive glaze.
The taste of beer bread can be adjusted depending on the choice of beer. A flavored beer will lend a subtler version of its taste to the bread. Beers with more intense flavors such as dark varieties or stout will give the bread a stronger taste. Lighter beers, such as a lager or non-alcoholic versions add an entirely different flavor.
Adding ingredients to the dry portion of the beer bread mix can also offer endless flavoring options. Seasonings including dill, garlic, rosemary, thyme, or a mix of several varieties can be used. Different kinds of cheese such as cheddar and feta help to make the bread more substantial, in addition to adding flavor and texture. Mixing in wheat, oats, or other kinds of flours and grains can also enhance the texture and taste of beer bread.
The dry ingredients of beer bread can be combined in advance of baking and stored to have on hand for quick and easy preparation. They can also be given as a gift. Baked beer bread may also be stored in the freezer. The longer the prepared bread is stored, the more intense its flavor will become over time.