OK, this post isn’t strictly knitting, but… This bread recipe is so easy that it ought to be illegal, because such an extreme level of gorgeousness will make folk assume that you slaved over it for hours, and it’s surely wrong to be the source of such deception. When I say that it takes two minutes* to put together, I’m not joking, and I say that as the person who looks at most recipes and thinks, “Yeah right is that gonna take a mere half hour to make: two hours, more like.”
So in case you’ve not yet had the pleasure, permit me to introduce you to the wonderful world of beer bread.
Soft, tearable, slightly sweet-tasting loaves of extreme yumminess.
I first got into beer bread when I was cooking lots of things from a medieval cookbook, but that recipe still used a bit of yeast and so was a (minor) faff. These days we make most of our dull-but-reliable bread in a breadmaker. Beer bread makes a tasty change, and is ready much faster, too. It does taste sweet, which wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, but the sugar is necessary in the same way that you need sugar in conventional bread so that the yeast has summat to munch for its lunch before it flatulently produces all that fabulous carbon dioxide that makes your loaf rise.
So, clear most of the toys from a corner of your kitchen table (yes it’s fine to just move them to the sofa instead) and let’s begin. You’ll need:-
- 375g self-raising flour (that’s 2¾ American cups)
- 3tbsp caster sugar
- 330 ml beer/ale (that’s 12 fl oz)
- Absolutely NO YEAST whatsoever!
Chuck ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix around a bit. Observe how it goes from a fizzing quagmire to a coherent(ish) damp dough after mere seconds.
Plonk dough into a lined loaf tin.
Put in oven at 180ºC/350ºF or Gas Mark 4. Drink the remaining 170ml of the beer you opened. Remove loaf from oven after 50-60 minutes once it’s golden on top and your entire house smells of baking. Try not to eat it all in one snarling, wild-eyed, feeding frenzy, or you’ll feel sick later.
- When I make it, I always pour a small amount of melted butter mixed with salt onto the loaf towards the end of baking.
- Experiment with adding seeds. The Stoic Spouse has an uncanny genius for creating combinations of different seeds in bread that taste just perfect. It’s the main reason I married him.
- Try different beers: the more flavoursome, the better.
- I’ve also tried making it with proper bread flour (ie ‘strong’ flour). Yum.
- Based on recommendations online, I tried something different today. I split the mixture between two tins and left it in peace to rise for half an hour before baking. Really I should have put it somewhere warm, but we don’t have anywhere warm in our house. So although it did rise a bit and the texture was lighter, I wouldn’t necessarily do this again, or at least not unless we moved to a house that was warm enough for human habitation.
- Add anything else that will go with the sweetness of this bread. Maybe some rosemary and sliced black olives? I’m led to believe that cheese works well, but as I have an almost-phobia of cheese (stop laughing, you at the back, it’s true) I’m afraid you won’t find any cheese-related advice on here.
*Not including time to realize that you’ve run out of flour, gather up your various children and manhandle them into outdoorwear, mount an unsuccessful search for your car keys, catch the bus instead, give in to toddler demand for confectionary, and purchase flour. So, about two hours, all-told.
RECIPE SOURCE: This recipe is a hybrid of lots of very similar versions that I’ve seen online, on sites ranging from allrecipes.co.uk to Jamie Oliver’s site.
And that, my friends, may be the easiest bread to make in the entire world. Now, back to knitting…