Beer bread is one of the easiest homemade breads because it requires minimal ingredients and no special equipment. It is soft on the inside with a crunchy top. The inside of this bread is irresistibly moist and buttery. Once you make your first loaf of beer bread, chances are you will be making many more.
However, you may wonder, what is the best beer for beer bread?
Generally, any beer can be used for making beer bread. The main thing to remember is that the flavor and color will translate into the end product. Therefore, if you want a light bread with minimal beer flavor, go for lighter beers and vice versa.
Types of Beer for Beer Bread
Beer is mainly categorized into lagers and ales according to their brewing methods. Lagers are cold fermented and are crisp, light, and dry. On the other hand, ales are fermented in warm temperatures and are heavier and more intense in flavor. However, some lagers are heavier than expected. Similarly, some ales are light.
The main difference between dark and light beer is that darker beers are made of barley and have a more complex flavor and body, while lighter beers are made of roasted hops and have a lighter taste.
If you want to play it safe, go for light ales and light lagers such as Coors Light and Bud Light beers for the best beer bread. They are mild and won’t give the bread a strong flavor.
Besides, light lagers are highly carbonated, which helps to make the crust of your homemade bread tasty and crispy. Keep away from hoppy ales (IPAs). Hoppy beer has a bitter taste that can make the bread bitter.
Amber and red ales are malty and give the bread a sweet flavor. They have a nutty flavor that adds a caramel-like taste to the bread. Witbiers have a citrusy note, and infuse zest into your bread.
Blonde ales are similar to a lager and have a lighter biscuit-like flavor that is mildly sweet. A brown ale has a dark amber or brown color. It is slightly sweet and malty with a medium body. It adds moderate flavor to beer bread. On the other hand, seasonal pumpkin beer adds the flavor of fall spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, to your bread.
Stout is a dark beer that has an intense, strong flavor. It makes the bread darker in color with an intense taste. Porters are brewed with dark roasted malt. They add a cocoa/coffee-like flavor to the bread. Pilsner has a mild taste and makes a light bread.
How to Make Beer Bread
Most bread recipes are the one-bowl type—mix the wet ingredients and add the dry ingredients. Then, mix well to make a dough and put it into the oven for baking. You do not need water or yeast for the recipe.
Beer serves as a leavening agent as it contains yeast. You can bake with all-purpose flour, add some baking powder, or use self-rising flour. Although you do not need butter for the main recipe, you can apply a layer on top of the cake—just before putting it in the oven for baking—to make the crust crunchy and golden brown.
Below is an easy beer bread recipe with only 5 ingredients.
- Preferred beer
- All purpose-wheat flour
- Baking powder
- Brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Melted butter (optional)
- Large bowl
- Decide the kind of beer to use. If you had refrigerated it, leave it at room temperature for 1-2 hours
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Sift the all-purpose flour into a large bowl. Sifting the dry ingredients is crucial as it makes the bread light and fluffy
- Add the baking powder and brown sugar, and mix properly
- Pour in the beer gradually as you fold and stir. You do not need to knead the ingredients into a dough. Rather mix them into a thick batter
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan
- Pour the melted butter over the batter
- Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Use a toothpick to confirm if the bread is well done. The toothpick should come out dry
- Allow the bread to cool before serving. You can let it cool completely or serve it warm
Things to Keep in Mind When Making Beer Bread
- You don’t have to go for the most expensive beer. Even cheap beers work well for beer bread
- Experiment with different variations of the beer bread recipe. Try it out at different with different types of beers. You may add cheese, garlic, herbs, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, and other spices. Light beers go pretty well with cheese. Also, try it out with other types of flour such as rye, whole wheat flour, oats flour, etc. For sweetness, experiment with caster sugar, brown sugar, honey, malt barley syrup, molasses, etc.
- Keep a close eye on the bread when it is baking. If the top starts to brown too fast, cover the bread with parchment paper or foil to slow down the browning of the crust
- Allow at least 30 minutes after baking before cutting the cakes. It helps to integrate the flavors and retain the structure of the bread
- Leave the leftover bread at room temperature for up to three days. Alternatively, put it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. Or, cover it snugly with plastic wrap or put it in a freezer bag and freeze for up to six months
- There are numerous ways to eat beer bread. A great way is toasted with butter on its own or as an accompaniment to soup
Making beer bread is straightforward. Technically, you can use any beer. However, it is best to use your favorite beer or a beer you like, as the flavor will reflect in the bread.
Dark beer will give the beer a bold flavor and color, while light beer will give the bread a milder and sweeter flavor and lighter color. If you dislike beer, go for lighter beers such as blond ale, pilsner, and pale beer. If you want an intense taste, go for stouts and porters. It does not matter if you use a bottled or can beer, as long as it is well refrigerated.