Every summer growing up, I went to camp in Maine and made wonderful friends there, several with whom I am still close today. One winter, I got to visit my friend, Sarah, at her home in Kansas City. I still remember the trip like it was yesterday.
While I was there, we made beer bread. I still have the index card with the original recipe which called for self-rising flour. Over the years, I have adapted the recipe, swapping out the self-rise flour and incorporating some whole wheat flour.
Following is the basic recipe with variations noted. While this isn’t the same as some of the other breads I bake, it is rather tasty for a super-speedy loaf and is perfect with soup or spread with your favorite jam.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle beer, room temperature (I usually use a lager, but anything will work, and you can experiment with flavors.)
- 3-4 tablespoons melted butter, optional
- cheddar cheese and dill or Italian herb blend; cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts or sunflower seeds; chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives and feta.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Stir in additional add-ins, as desired. (As a guideline, I tend to use about a quarter cup of seeds, a third to a half cup of nuts, a half to a full cup of cheese, one teaspoon of cinnamon–not all together, of course!) Pour in beer and stir just until the flour mixture is all moistened. Spread the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Drizzle melted butter over the top, if using.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack and cool completely. I love plain beer bread with a smear of strawberry jam and usually toast the leftovers.