Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Beer Bread

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Beer Bread, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Bread scares me. Not eating it. It’s the making of it that I’m terrified of. Floored with fear, I tell you. The whole yeast thing gets me. It seems too temperamental and unforgiving. Then there’s the kneading and waiting…
Au contraire—there’s beer bread.

Looks and tastes impressive, but couldn’t be easier to prepare. A totally nonthreatening process. Even for a yeast-a-phobic like me.

There’s actually no yeast to worry about at all. The main ingredient is beer (which contains your bubbly yeast). And there are only four ingredients total.
Beer. Flour. Baking powder. Sugar. Butter (optional for the top). Smush and bake.

beerbreadprocess1

You can use any old beer you want. Some say the cheap beers work best. (Miller time!) But I’ve seen that people make Guinness beer bread too (totally next on my list). * Update* So I tried making it with a really hoppy Samuel Adams and it increased the bake time by about 25 minutes for some reason. The bread turned out okay, but a bit of a bitter aftertaste. I also found it too dense. Might just recommend sticking with a cheapo beer or something with less flavor. Perhaps hoppy beers are too heavy? who knows.

Either way, it’s a sweet and salty bread with a golden textured crust and deep yeast flavor that really and truly tastes like beer. Leave the dough virgin for that full beer flavor or add in your favorite herbs. Oregano. Rosemary. Caraway seed. Fennel seed. I kept this one straight up and cracked black pepper on just about every slice I ate. It was magic.

beerprocess2

Beer bread makes excellent toast. Have it with a fried egg. Also glorious with soup. Go crazy.

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Recipe

Makes 1 loaf bread. Coating top of dough with butter before baking in optional, but really adds to the crust’s texture. Omit for vegan. Cheap beer seems to work best. I tried making it with a really hoppy Samuel Adams and it increased the bake time by about 25 minutes for some reason. The bread turned out good, but with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Maybe just stick with a cheapo beer or something with less flavor.

You need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • One 12oz can or bottle of beer. (any beer)
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift well with fork. Pour in beer, stir until a stiff batter is formed, but don’t over mix (best to just use your hands). Scrape dough into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Melt butter and brush across top of dough. This is optional (if you’re vegan), BUT it really adds to the crust. Makes it golden and crusty!
  4. Bake for about 40 or so minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.Bake time will vary with beer type.

HonestFare.com

68 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2010 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    I came here because of Panic Room Ryan’s recommendation, saw this recipe, and *immediately* went to my kitchen to start baking. I’m waiting for my oven to preheat, and then I can pop my loaf in the oven. Went with a Sam Adams Winter Lager- maybe wheat beer leads to wheatier bread?

  2. Posted March 12, 2010 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    Hm, perhaps…you’ll have to let me know!

  3. Posted March 13, 2010 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

    Several of my friends have made your beer bread and have raved about it! So I’ve put it on my recipe blog and gave you credit! I plan to make it soon! Also, I saw your pistachio and white chocolate cookie recipe and it sounded divine, so I also put it on my recipe website, too! Can’t wait to make them, thanks for the recipes!

    Jo

  4. reina.
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    I love the redesign, gabi! and specially the fact that we can leave you comments, too.

    I think I will try this recipe soon, but with guinness. Will let you know how it turns out! =]

  5. gabi
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    So you like it despite the absence of your favorite little knives and forks? Yes! And, please let me know how it turns out with Guinness. I’m curios.

  6. Posted March 13, 2010 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    The wheat beer didn’t seem to leave any discernable wheaty taste, but the bread was still delicious. It was a little sweet for my taste, so next time I might use less sugar. Still, can’t beat tasty bread that’s ready in less than an hour! I’m usually quite a no-knead devotee, but this recipe is winning me over. We’ll see how my husband feels if his beer keeps disappearing into bread…

  7. Posted March 13, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    yes i love that we can now comment! i’m going to make this bread for st. patty’s day.

  8. gabi
    Posted March 14, 2010 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Hey just an update for everyone. I tried making it the bread with a really hoppy Samuel Adams and it increased the bake time by about 25-30 minutes for some reason. The bread turned out okay, but with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Maybe just stick with something with less flavor…Maybe the beer was too heavy?

  9. Angie
    Posted March 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    So, I’m sure I’m just so excited that I don’t see it…but where’s the actual recipe??

  10. gabi
    Posted March 15, 2010 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Click “view recipe” at the top of the post. It’s right under the title. Enjoy!

  11. Posted March 15, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Today I tried this recipe with a stout beer and used 1 cup of wheat bread flour for one of cups of all purpose. I also threw in a handful of wheat germ. It turned out even better than my first attempt!

  12. Robin
    Posted March 16, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    I made 2 loaves for my first attempt at making bread EVER (definitely don’t consider myself a baker). First loaf, I did straight up with Yuengling Lager- took it to a dinner party- it became dessert, toasted with sliced strawberries and vanilla ice cream, yum. Second loaf, I added a bit of Italian seasonings and black pepper- couldn’t stop eating it! With sliced tomato and a touch of olive oil, holy crap. Also makes the BEST homemade croutons of all time, also Gabi’s recipe, of course.

  13. Posted March 16, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    I made a variation of a loaf of this tonight with Guinness. I sort of combined the beer bread ingredients with the no-knead bread method that was around last year. Yesterday I mixed together all the ingredients above (using 16 oz Guinness instead of the 12 oz listed) and let “rise” overnight. I think it developed a subtle sourdough-y tang. Today I dumped the dough onto a baking sheet and baked the bread in a 450 degree oven for twenty minutes (which honestly was just a guess). I thought it would have produced a taller round loaf, but pretty much kept the blobby shape of the first dump.

    The Guinness taste is a little subtler than I was expecting, but the bread is sort of malty and caramel-y. The crust was nice and crackly. Overall, not bad for a random experiment.

    I put a spread of Irish butter on it and it was delicious!

  14. Posted March 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    I accidentally overslept for a brunch I was hosting this morning and this recipe was such a lifesaver! I made it with magic hat’s circus boy and increased the bake time by about 10 minutes or so. How amazing to have fresh bread less than an hour after starting! Great recipe!

    (served with strawberry rhubarb jam)

  15. Chelsea
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 6:41 AM | Permalink

    Gabi -

    Great recipe, I also was referred by word-of-mouth.

    One question, though: The recipe calls for a 12 oz can but the picture shows a 16er. Which is best? And, forgive me, but I’m terrified of bread and kneading and rising. About how long do you mix before it’s “stiff” enough?

    Thanks!

  16. gabi
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    No Problem. It’s 12oz per loaf. And as far as kneading goes, you don’t have to worry too much about it. Make sure you sift the dry ingredients well and then just mix/knead everything until totally combined (no more than 2 minutes), first using a wooden spoon and then your hands. The dough will be pretty sticky.

  17. Jenna
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    We tried this recipe almost as soon as you posted it. My husband now makes beer bread at least once a week. He adds rosemary (quite a bit of it) and it’s divine. It also makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. Mmmmm.

  18. Posted August 21, 2010 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Don’t be scared of bread! We are just getting the hang of sourdough… Making your own starter is soo well worth it.

  19. Paige
    Posted August 31, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Made this last night. I also used Miller High Life (hey, I’m from Milwaukee–gotta use Miller!) and it was very, very easy and very, very good. I liked Jenna’s idea of adding rosemary!

  20. Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Interesting recipe. Using high life is a nice touch.

  21. Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    sounds delish! I will be making it this weekend!

  22. Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Gabi! I just found your blog and I love it. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. So easy and so yummy! We ate it on it’s own and used it to make the Barefoot Contessa’s Croque Monsieur – OUT OF THIS WORLD! I can’t wait to try it with different beers and add herbs to it.

  23. wiggy
    Posted January 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

    There is no “bubbly yeast” in beer. Active yeast has long since been killed off in any beer you buy. If this bread rises, it’s from the baking powder.

  24. gabi
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Okay, thanks for the info.

  25. Walnut Whale
    Posted February 26, 2011 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    Just made this last night with a bottle of Peak Organic pale ale, and added some red onion and jalapeno monterey jack. Was terrific! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Posted April 27, 2011 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    your site is beautiful and this bread is so good! thanks.

  27. Meredith
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    This bread is amazing. Add fresh rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes to it, and a life-changing experience ensues. I’m soooooo glad a friend sent me the link to your blog!

  28. Posted June 23, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Saranac + oregano = awesome :) This recipe was so simple! Heads up for anyone baking this with Saranac- it took about 55 minutes.

  29. Hobgoblin
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    I just found this recipe in a search for beer bread and it looks delicious. I’m going to try it with some of my home brewed pale ale, which would add a lot of live yeast.

  30. Catherine
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    I love this recipe! I made 3 mini loaves last night and ate the entirety of one in a sitting haha. Thinking about using mini loaves as gifts in the future. Thanks for the recipe!

  31. Caroline
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    I recently made this bread with a good ol’ can of Bud and about 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, which I would certainly include again. The result was moist and biscuit-y and yum-yum-yum. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  32. Alex
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    Have been making variations of this bread since I stumbled across your excellent site a few months ago. Once it comes out of the oven, people cannot stop eating until the last crumb is gone! Some favorite variations are parmesan cheese with ground pepper (served with fresh lobster!) and olive with ground pepper…
    I have been using ufo hefeweizen and apricot beers and the bread always comes out perfectly!

  33. Posted September 20, 2011 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    This was amazing! My family absolutely loved it! I sliced it and made grilled cheese on the panini maker. The hubby said it was the best grilled cheese ever!

  34. Rachel
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for this recipe! I finally made this yesterday, my husband loves it even though I didn’t use any of his homebrew to make it, everything he has right now is too hoppy and I didn’t want that bitter flavor you mentioned, so I used a cheap-o light lager. I used 50/50 whole wheat to AP flour, added 2 Tbs of ground flax seed, reduced sugar to 2 Tbs b/c you said it had been sweet and added fresh oregano, basil, rosemary & cracked pepper. I think it took about an hour to cook – any ideas why? The whole wheat or moisture from the herbs? thanks again for posting the recipe for this quick and easy bread =)

  35. Posted October 5, 2011 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    I have made your beer bread too many times to count since discovering it. Whenever I take it to a gathering, multiple people ask me for the recipe. I finally posted your recipe and a link to your blog on my blog: http://www.eatingwithoutmeat.wordpress.com. I can’t wait to try some more of your recipes.

  36. Posted October 25, 2011 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    looking very delicious and yummy, my mouth full of water.. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  37. Sydney
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    Hey, I would love to make this recipe asap! I was just wondering, have you tried making the bread since you posted this recipe with any other beers except miller and sam adams? I was interested in trying a nicer wheaty beer like blue moon, but wasn’t sure if I should go expensive or completely stick to your “cheapo” beer advice.

  38. gabi
    Posted December 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    Hi Sydney -
    Yes I have actually tried making it with heavier beers and it does definitely work. Makes the bread a little more dense. I know a lot of people use darker beers as well. Go for it!

  39. Posted December 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Hoping it turns out well just got mine in the oven used yeungling traditional lager

  40. gabi
    Posted December 25, 2011 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    I hope so too! Let me know :)

  41. Posted January 14, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    This is one of my favorite quickbreads, it’s so simple to make and I love its malty flavor. I’ve generally stuck to using a lager-style beer and agree that cheap(er) is completely fine – I wouldn’t use something you wouldn’t drink yourself but something along the lines of Red Stripe or Coors Light works well. I add a few hefty grinds of black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon) and use brown sugar instead of white for a little flavor boost. It’s lovely really, thanks for sharing this!

  42. Posted January 14, 2012 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    made this with reed’s spiced apple brew, a non-alcoholic carbonated apple cider drink. it was spectacular.

    you can substitute anything fizzy for the beer. it’s awesome with beer (made it with beer the first few times), but sometimes it’s nice to try it with something new. ginger ale would probably work really well. but the reed’s spiced apple brew gave the whole loaf a light apple aroma and subtle spice, and it was slightly sweet. absolutely terrific.

    great recipe!

  43. Lara
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    Stumbled across this on Pinterest and have already made two loaves this week. It’s a new favorite…thanks! Can’t wait to try out some of the variations.

  44. gabi
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    Zach -
    Wow, that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that. I will definitely try it with ginger beer.

  45. Posted January 18, 2012 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    This recipe is absolutely great. Just made it and I love your bread!

  46. Alisia
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    Would an 8×8 pan work? My boyfriend doesn’t have a loaf pan of course… :)

  47. gabi
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    Only one way to find out…give it a shot!

  48. Sue
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    Since craft beers tend to be significantly lower in carbonation maybe upping the baking soda a touch would counteract the denseness people are reporting. I’m going to go try it right now :)

  49. amanda
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    someone brought a loaf to a gathering last night, made with Rogue Dead Guy Ale. she raved about how simple it was, and was surely delicious.she knew the recipe by heart, wrote it out and gave me this website. today I’m baking a loaf with Wild Blueberry Wheat. I mixed in 2T dark brown sugar with 2T white, and I only had wheat flour on hand. fingers crossed!! super excited about the whole website!! Thanks!

  50. Posted March 6, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Miller High Life was my go-to for beer bread. Today I tried to use some leftover Shock Top Raspberry Wheat and Coors Light (yes, together). The taste is different, but still totally edible. Thanks for the recipe! I’m sure it only slightly differs from the one I used to use!

  51. Posted March 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    It’s in the oven as I type this and it smells so yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

  52. Dana Wetherington
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    I make beer bread also, but instead of all purpose flour, I use self rising, thereby omitting the need for the baking soda. It is a great recipe to play with adding different flavors of beer and herbs.

  53. Julie
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    Has anyone tried this with rye flour? I have some in my pantry, been waiting to use it and think this might be perfect.

  54. Emme O
    Posted June 11, 2012 at 5:15 AM | Permalink

    I highly recommend this recipe. 1: its very basic, easy and super quick.
    2: Its fucking delicious and fills the house with a wonderful aroma!

    GET ON IT NOW!

    p.s Thanks for the sweet recipe!

  55. Angela Patti
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    I was just wondering, if I wanted to add herbs and/or cheese how much I should put in? Thanks :)

  56. gabi
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Hi Angela,
    Both herbs and cheese would work great! Just do a pinch or so (like a teaspoon) of herbs to start. Something like fresh rosemary, thyme or oregano. As for cheese, I would start with 1/3 cup. I haven’t actually put cheese in before baking so I can’t attest to the success of it or how it will impact the bake time. Give it a try though!

  57. skot
    Posted August 18, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    can i make this without the baking powder? can i use baking soda?

  58. Jamie
    Posted September 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    I just made this recipe using only whole wheat flour (not 1/2 and 1/2 like you generally have to do with whole wheat, simply because I didn’t have anything else on hand), 4 tbsp honey, and added half of another beer (Bud Light, left over from guests). Turned out just fine! It’s not as sweet as the original, but it is a moist wheat bread. Will definitely make again!

  59. Brent Vermillion
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    I made mine bacon and onion flavored with Bud Light Platinum (I bought a six pack of this to try but it is almost undrinkable, foul stuff). Before I measured the flour I put a heaping tablespoon of onion powder in the bottom of the measuring cup. I also greased the loaf pan with bacon fat and substituted the butter with bacon fat to brush over the top (I was going to use olive oil but I think I will save that for a rosemary/parmesan flavored one next week). I liked this variation of your bread recipe but I think it could be more. This was a little too sweet, did not rise as much as I would like and not enough bacon flavor. I will make it again with half the sugar, add teaspoon of baking soda with the baking powder and 2 slices of chopped up pre-cooked thick cut bacon.

    To do most cheeses in this bread I would recommend dicing the cheese 1/4 inch or bigger and freezing it before adding it in right before the beer. Then make bread as normal, baking time make need adjustment. I have found if you just toss in fresh grated cheese it just kind of melts into the bread and you get a cheesy flavor but not nice little chunks of cheese.

    Overall a great recipe, thank you for this.

  60. malynda
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

    Just made this, added cheddar cheese and finely diced jalapenos. I also added a little extra baking powder and got a nice rise out of it. Had to bake almost an hour but looks and smells delish! I think next time I might do bacon, jalapeno, cheddar mix. Trying to think of more add-ins. Anyone else have some good suggestions?!

  61. Brendan Gramer
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    FYI – Hops contribute bitterness to a beer. If your bread came out too bitter, that’s because the beer was too hoppy. I recommend going with less hoppy beers like Stouts or Porters or Lagers.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll have to try baking this. Thinking of a bourbon porter and throwing in some raisins into the dough.

  62. Olga
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    I just made this and OMG! Soooo good and so easy! I made mine with coors light. I also added a teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary and a handful of chopped kalamata olives. I’m eating it with prosciutto and it is absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  63. Craig
    Posted January 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Very good and very easy! Great recipe. Thanks for posting. I used regular Budweiser and the cooking time was the same as what you posted.

  64. Dan
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    I love beer bread and a loaf pretty much every time I run out of bread. I found that the hoppy breads can be incredibly tasty if done right.

    Here’s some tricks I’ve found through lots of trial and error:
    Omit the salt and baking powder and use self-rising flour instead. It gets rid of the taste of baking powder and helps avoid getting the bread too hard.
    And go ahead and use a mesh strainer for your flour, it helps keep your bread from turning into a brick.
    I also cut in up to a 1/3 of a cup of butter before mixing in the beer; it helps get that buttery taste all the way through the bread.
    Finally, I add up to a 1/3 a cup of sugar, depending on the beer I use. If I want it to be sweeter because I’m using a lighter beer, perhaps more sugar. Less if I’m using like an IPA.

    As for cooking times… they totally vary… I’ve always blamed my oven, but I don’t know. haha.

    My co-workers go crazy when I bring a loaf in.

  65. Jordan
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    Made this exactly according to recipe but with whole wheat flour and sierra nevada pale ale. It turned out great! I had no bread pans though so used a bundt pan and the bread cooked within 30 minutes. So tasty. Definitely going to toy around with this recipe and make it many more times.

  66. TJ
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    My brother makes this all the time from your blog. I taste tested when I visited last weekend and WOW!!! I loved the crusty top and flavor. Mine is in the oven currently! I used Sam Adams Summer Ale (lighter than their normal). You are awesome :)

  67. Posted June 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Delicious!

  68. Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    I found this recipe via mint and pinned it back in 2011 and have made it many times. It is always eaten up lickety split. Thank you for sharing such an easy and delicious recipe!

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