Oct 18, 2011

Homemade crusty beer bread

Bread is awesome. If it were socially acceptable (and physically possible) for me to eat an entire loaf in one sitting, I would do it. But despite my enthusiastic appreciation for bread, I'd never once tried to make it myself. This might have had something to do with growing up in the 90s and assuming that owning a breadmaker was a necessary part of the process (do people still use those?). Luckily, turns out it's not - as it happens, bread is actually pretty easy to make. Who knew?

For my first attempt at bread baking, I decided to start with (what else?) a bread with beer in it. I used Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale, and it turned out great - with a nice, almost honey-like flavour. You could use any light beer for a more subtle result, or try a darker, spicier beer for more of a noticeable flavour. I'm looking forward to experimenting with different brews in this recipe.

Crusty beer bread
(adapted slightly from this recipe - thanks Jacob!)

1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted*
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted*
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 355 ml. can or bottle of beer
1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (regular butter or margarine would work too)

*note: sifting the flour is key - if you don't you might end up with more of a biscuit than a loaf. If you don't have a sifter, buy pre-sifted flour, or spoon the flour into the measuring cup instead of dipping the cup in the bag and leveling it off. 

1. Preheat oven to 375°C
2. Mix all dry ingredients together
3. Add can of beer to dry ingredients, mix
4. Knead lightly
5. Smooth dough into greased loaf pan
6. Pour melted butter or substitute on top of the dough (this is what creates the crusty top layer - if you don't want a thick crust, just mix it into the dough instead)
7. Cook for one hour, remove from pan and let cool

It came out a little lumpier than I would have liked, but regardless, I can now honestly say that there's almost nothing better than a slice of crusty, warm bread straight from your oven - especially when it's this simple to make and has tasty local beer in it to boot! Makes a great side for the Riptide Pale Ale Veggie Chili.

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