I’m more of a cider girl but Mr Tiffin doesn’t mind a beer on a hot summer afternoon. Our friend Andrew brews beer so we always have plenty on hand, Sometimes, there’s a little too much so it got me thinking about ways to use some up. Beer Bread was the answer.
The Quick & The Bread
If you’ve ever spent any time in the cookery section of a secondhand book shop, you’ll have seen an array of unloved, oddball cookbooks. ’50 Ways with Lentils’, ‘Cooking with a Serial Killer’ and ‘How Famous Chefs Use Marshmallaows’ (all real titles). Inevitably, there will be a book on Beer Cookery containing recipes for French Onion Soup, Cheese Fondue and Beef Casserole – all including beer. There’s also likely to be a recipe for Beer Bread.
Beer Bread is a ‘quick bread’. What’s a quick bread? Anything that can be made on the spot and doesn’t need time to rest or prove. Irish Soda Bread is a classic quick bread, using baking (bi carb) soda instead of yeast as a leavening (rising) agent. Quick breads can be made in a hurry or at the last minute. The rising agent in this bread is beer which is not only frothy and full of bubbles, but has yeast as a key ingredient.
A matter of taste
This bread takes less than 5 minutes to pull together and 1 hour to bake. It’s a great standby for picnics or last minute visitors. The final flavour of the bread is very much determined by the beer you use. There will be a slight hint of beer but not overwhelming. I prefer to use a full flavoured ale rather than pale lager or a bitter (which can be a little too bitter for a bread) but it’s really a matter of taste. Avoid using a stout or porter as they are too heavy and not effervescent enough to assist the bread to rise. Including the sugar assists the rising by interacting with the yeast in the beer. Two tablespoons allows you to get away with a neutral flavour that means the beer bread can accompany savoury dishes or can be enjoyed with sweet toppings like pear and ginger jam.
Cheese & Pepita Beer Bread
- 375g Self raising flour (aprox 3 cups)
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 330 ml beer at room temperature
- 1/3 cup cheese (optional)
- 2 tbsp pepitas
- Place flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir briefly to combine.
- Make a well in the centre of flour and slowly add beer.
- Stir to combine into a sticky mixture. Do not over mix – a few bits of unmixed flour is fine.
- Spoon the batter into greased and parchment lined loaf tin. Sprinkle cheese and pepitas on top, if you are using.
- Place the beer bread in an oven at 180c for 60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven when a skewer comes out clean. Allow the beer bread to sit for a few minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool.
Makes 1 loaf
There’s no end to inclusions and toppings. You could add tasty cheese to the actual mixture itself (1/2 cup) or cubes of feta, chopped fresh spinach or finely diced capsicum. Sweet ingredients may extend to crystallised ginger, cranberries or sultanas, walnuts or flaked almonds. You’re only limited by what’s in your pantry!
This loaf is best eaten on the day it’s made, as it has no preservatives. If you intend to use it over a few days, it is best sliced and toasted or, gently reheated in the oven.