Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beer Bread

This morning I was in a baking mood.  Having already got some Scottish morning rolls and a sandwich loaf rising, I spied a bottle of beer hiding in the corner of the kitchen.

Fig 1. Bottle of beer.

This particular bottle was a "Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale" (From the Flying Monkey's Brewery).  For those that have never had it, it's an interesting beer; It's got a taste that is reminiscent of the label on the bottle; complicated, fun, in-your-face and exposure to it will give you a headache long before you expected it to.  In other words, it's a real beer that is unlike that mass-produced bland stuff put out by the big breweries.

The cool thing about alcoholic drinks is anything that isn't drunk can normally be turned into food.  Whether you're sloshing meat and veg in gallons of wine, shoving beer cans up chickens, putting vodka in your pasta sauce or in this case, turning beer into "bread" (technically, it's not real bread, but a "quick bread" as there's no yeast).

  1. Turn on oven to 375F
  2. In a mixing bowl, throw in 3 cups of flour, a tblsp of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of baking powder.
  3. Mix for a few seconds.
  4. Throw in an entire 355ml bottle of beer (don't worry about frothing foam - it all disappears into the bread). 
  5. Mix for a minute or two on medium speed until you have some form of thick batter-like substance.
Fig 2.  Sloppy goop.

5.  Throw this into a greased bread tin.
6.  Spread the batter around, to cover the bottom of the tin.

Fig 3. Goop in the tin.

7.  Throw the tin into the oven for about 45 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean when done).  When done, let it cool about 10-15 minutes in the tin before tipping it out.

Fig 4. A slice of finished beer bread. 

As you can see this is super easy to make.  

Two notes:
1.  You'll notice in Fig 3, that my tin isn't greased even though the instructions say to grease it.  There's a reason for this; I use the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch pans.  Now, you might scoff at the thought of buying bakeware from Williams Sonoma due to the expense, but although these are expensive as far as tins go, to your breads and other baked items they are also as slippery as an eel sliding down a greased fireman's pole. This means, less fat gets into your food just for the sake of lubricating it in order to get it out of the thing you bake it in.

2.  The height on this bread should be about half as high again.  This is down to my baking powder (something I don't use too often) getting a little old.  If you use fresh baking powder, this loaf will have far more height.