The Two Key Ingredients
Baking is tough. I don’t quite understand the science behind the chemical catastrophe that allow breads to rise the way they do. It is a daunting process to comprehend when first starting out which is why I suggest staying away from ingredient-rich loafs that requires yeasting, kneading, and rising. These are time-consuming and high-barrier recipes. Remember:
Like all things in life, start small and iterate throughout time
I suggest starting your baking journey by making quick breads. Specifically, start with beer breads. So what are those two magical ingredients needed to make this low-barrier to entry recipe? They are:
- 12 fluid ounces of Beer (1 bottle)
- 3 cups of self-rising flour
What is Self-rising Flour?
Self-rising flour is a low protein flour mixed with a leavening agent (stuff that makes stuff rise), usually consisting of baking powder and salt. In fact, you can make your own self-rising flour by adding about one teaspoon of baking powder and one-quarter teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of flour. Simple to make, however I say “about” because not all self-rising flour packages are created equal. For now buying self rising flour pre packaged is the way to go.
When to use self-rising flour:
- Quick Breads
- Pie Crusts
When not to use self-rising flour:
- Breads that require yeast.
Not only do you need two ingredients for this recipe, but it also only requires a few steps to produce:
- Preheat the oven to 35o˚ fahrenheit and grab a medium sized bowl and your two ingredients. Pour the flour into the bowl and crack open your beer. Slowly pour the beer over the flour while mixing the ingredients all together with a wooden spoon. Continue mixing until all the flour is mixed. The dough should remain lumpy.
- Find yourself a 9 inch loaf pan and pour in the lumpy dough. Place the loaf pan into the oven and let bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and let cool until your mouth can handle it.
This Bread Seems Plain
What these two ingredients produce is a bread that demonstrates how quick breads rise. However, only these two ingredients produces a bland and uninspiring block of wheat. This is because anything after these two ingredients is up to you. Want something on the sweeter side? Add half a cup of sugar and throw some chocolate chips in there. Maybe even some cocoa powder. Looking for something on the savory side? Add garlic, onion powder, and cheese in there and even toss on some butter in the last 10 minutes of cooking. My goal here is to provide you with the basics of making that damn loaf rise. Take this foundation and build on it to the best of your ability!
What is next?
So you created some coconut beer bread and you are feeling confident in your quick bread abilities. The next step is to make the flour rise without the training wheels that is self-rising flour. Find out what makes it rise and understand the different leavening agents:
- Baking soda
- Baking soda with vinegar
- Baking powder
- Bakers’ ammonia
- Potassium bicarbonate
- Home-made potash
- Home-made potash with vinegar
- Active dry yeast
- Sourdough starter
In the next tutorial, I will discuss how to make this same recipe with all-purpose flour.