Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beer Bread

If you have never before had beer bread, you are certainly missing out. I have fond memories of making beer bread with my mom at the restaurant when I was just a little tyke. I remember being fascinated by the way the beer bubbled over the flour and mixed together to make a yeasty, doughy blob of deliciousness... and of course the alcohol cooks out while baking, but even my mom would let me swipe my finger along the edge of the bowl and taste the batter, beer and all.

Yesterday I had a craving for two types of beer bread at the same time... I wanted a sweet, fruity beer bread, but then I also wanted a cheesy savory beer bread.

So I made both.

It's amazing how easy this recipe is. If you search online you can find hundreds of different variations for beer bread. Some are good, some are "okay", and some just don't turn out at all... but I will be honest, it is pretty hard to mess up beer bread.

But I of course, did not search online for this beer bread recipe. I searched in my hand written box of recipe cards (courtesy of my Nana).

There are three ways to make the beer bread: plain, sweet, or savory. I will list all three.

Plain Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar
1 bottle beer (not lite.. blech... we want FULL flavored beer!)

Sift the flour into a bowl. Or if you are like me, you can just shake the flour out of the bag into a measuring cup, kind of eyeball it a bit, and then dump it into the bowl. Remember what I said about beer bread being hard to mess up?

Pretty awesome, huh?

Dump your sugar on top. It is up to you how much sugar you want to add if you are making plain beer bread. Or you can meet in the middle at 1/3 cup and take the guess work out of it.

Stir in the beer and watch your delicious dough form. Dump into a greased pan and bake at a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. I always start checking with a toothpick at 35 minutes.

My mom's recipe calls for the bread to be rubbed all over with butter after you pop it out of the pan to cool. I changed that a little bit. I now melt butter before baking the bread and pour it on top. It makes a delicious crispy outer crust... oh, I still rub it down with butter when it comes out, too.

I really like butter.

Sweet Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Raisins (as much or as little as you like)
1 bottle beer

Stir together first 4 ingredients, then pour the beer on top and stir until a dough forms. Dump into a greased bread pan.

Melt 2-3 T butter and pour on top of the dough. You don't want it to be swimming in butter, just enough to moistened the top so it gets a good crispy crust.

I like to sprinkle mine with a little bit of a cinnamon sugar mixture before popping it in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (start checking at 35 and keep baking until toothpick comes out clean). Run a knife along the edges of the pan and turn onto a cooling rack. Rub with butter, then let cool on the rack.

Savory Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
Grated onion (I grated about 1/3 an onion, but you can do as much as you want, or omit all together)
Dill, Thyme, basil, chili powder
Any herbs or spices you desire

Mix together these ingredients, then, you guessed it, pour 1 bottle beer over the mixture and stir. The rest is like the above recipes, so I am confident you can figure it out from there...

Now yesterday I made a plain cinnamon bread for my husband. I used the sweet beer bread recipe and omitted the raisins. I also made a cinnamon raisin bread for me and Little Man. I used the sweet beer bread recipe, and added about 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup golden raisins.

My absolute favorite bread, however, was my last creation.

I call this one "Artisan Cheese Beer Bread".

It makes me feel fancy.

Artisan Cheese Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour
1/4 c sugar
1/3 cup grated onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
Thyme and Dill to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in a can)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix together, then add the 1 bottle beer. Stir, then dump into a greased bread pan and pour 2-3 Tablespoons melted butter on top.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, though with this bread I noticed I had to bake it a bit longer. Probably because of the melty action from the cheese. I let it get pretty crispy around the edges and it was SOOO good!

So there you have it... A million and one ways to make beer bread. You can change the recipe any way you would like. Experiment with different types of beer. You can use dried cranberries or cherries in place of raisins. You can add cheese to the savory recipe, and use any herbs you would like. I bet a monterey jack cheese blend and chili powder would be a great combo to try for chili night, or to accompany tortilla soup! There are really endless possibilities with this simple recipe.

And like I said, you can't screw it up...

But if you manage to mess it up, let me know about your fail so I can warn others.

Oh and if you succeed with a variation of your own, please let us know what you did!!



  1. Can I use a bread machine for these recipes? I scored a bread machine for $5 bucks over the weekend and I'm dying to use it.

  2. hmmm.. maybe just on the bake setting? i have never tried it, but it would be cool to know if it works!

  3. I make beer bread with bud light and its so much sweeter then with any other beer. Ive tried a little bit of everything from Sam Adams to coors light. Bud has the best flavor. I just melt butter and pour on top, placing back in the oven for 10 more min, then once we pull it out and slice we add more butter that way. <3 Mandee

  4. When making a sweet beer bread, honey wheats (like Sam Adam's or Blue Moon or Michelob Honey Wheat varieties) also gives it a great sweet flavor that compliments the bread... Sam Adam's make a GREAT cherry wheat that is fantastic with a few dried cherries and a swirl of honey mixed in!

    I prefer to use "full flavored beer" because I am not in to the lite stuff... Feel free to use any kind of beer you want, but I stay away from lite beer.

    I have found that budweiser, any lagers, even miller high life (if you like to keep it lighter) make wonderful savory breads.