There is something special about making a simple beer bread. Besides the ease of baking, I believe the aroma that comes from the beer bread is what delights me the most. Extremely yeasty and malty, beer breads give off the smell of a mini brewery working its magic in your kitchen.
For a basic beer bread, I typically stick with a red ale, although wheat beers, Oktoberfests, märzens, or winter ales provide a warmer flavor. I guess you could say that the red ale kind of stand in the middle on this made up spectrum of beer bread flavors that exist in my head. So it is always my go to suggestion for people starting out in baking. Also, my nostalgia for Red Trolley beer bread grows strong as of recent which is a sign for making a basic beer bread.
For a basic beer bread, we add half a cup of sugar, if you were going to for a beer that is bitter and hoppier, you will need to add more sugar. For warmer beers, less is required. Pairing with a basic beer bread is typically something more heartier in flavor such as pastas, stews, sweeter curries (Japanese curry), and chili.
Cloudburst Red Ale
I had the opportunity to talk to Steve Luke, head brewer and owner of Cloudburst brewing. He told me of his time at Elysian Brewing Company and his departure for brewer to brewer and owner. IPAs are his specialty, but he provided me with a red ale and a winter warmer to do some baking. Remember when baking with beer, it isn’t about using the same beer, but rather finding similar flavor profiles to replicate. Also be sure to use what you personally like. Use your favorite red ale in this situation.
This bread comes off hearty and slightly sweet. The baking powder and salt gives provides a crumbly texture on the outside and the chewy texture on the inside. Slice off a piece and add more butter.
- Add dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour half the beer into the bowl and give it a mix with a spoon or spatula. Pour the remaining beer into the dough and continue the mix. It should be lump and sticky.
- Lightly butter a loaf pan. Pour the dough into the pan and bake for 50 minutes at 350º F. Remove from oven and rub the remaining butter on top of the loaf. You can also melt the butter and pour over the bread. Place back into the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool before slicing.