I have always desired the extra time, skill and finances to bake bread. My sister-in-law has a wonderful grinder from which she makes her own AMAZING whole grain flour, as well as a wonderful bread machine which produces the most scrumptious (and nutritious!) bread I’ve ever tasted. I have priced the equipment, gotten in contact with some really nice folks who sell amazing whole grain and baking equipment and products (I subscribe to a few awesome newsletters that are chalk-full of great grain recipes, hints and tips, encouragement, etc), and even went so far as to buy the yeast, whole grain organic flour, and a couple of bread pans after reading a wonderfully encouraging ebook about baking bread by hand (the “old fashioned way”).
Yep, I was all prepared to knead until my hands were sore when I ran across an absolutely ingenious idea. I’m sorry I can’t credit my original source for bringing this wonderful idea to my attention, but I did search and find that this recipe is out there in many places for all to see.
It’s a simple, easy and time-crunched way to fill your home with the mouth watering aroma of fresh baked bread!! Sure, it doesn’t pack the nutrious punch of fresh ground wheat flour, but it is fresh and yummy, and not full of high fructose corn syrup like most loaves of bread on the shelf at the grocery.
Last week I baked a couple of loaves to take to a luncheon. It smelled so good my kids were ready to devour it before I got it out of the house. I promised them I would pick up some more flour and bake another loaf when I got home.
So what is the trick to this amazing discovery? Well, it’s made from beer and self-rising flour. Again, I am fully aware it is not the nutritional giant that is produced with all the fancy grinding, mixing and baking machines available for purchase out there. But in my time crunched, penny-pinching world, it certainly is an acceptable substitute!
So here is the basic recipe:
1 (12 fluid ounce) container of beer at room temperature
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
Mix sugar and flour together in large bowl. Add beer and mix- it will feel sticky.
Pour into a greased loaf pan. (No need to let it rise!)
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Rub a butter stick over the hard top crust until it is coated with melted butter and return to oven for about 5 minutes.
Remove from pan, slice and enjoy. Bread is a bit crumbly when cut into slices unless cooled well, but it is the best while it’s still steaming hot!!
To begin with, I’ve tried many different types and flavors of beer. The bread definitely has a slightly different flavor with dark ale, light ale, wheat beer, beer with lime, and many other varieties as you can imagine. My favorite so far has probably been the Hefeweizen. Fresh beer is best, as I’ve used beer we’ve had around for awhile and as expected the bread didn’t have the fluffiness to it.
I have used a 20 ounce beer before and upped my flour to four cups and sugar to four tablespoons. This worked just fine and made a bigger loaf. I did increase my baking time by about ten minutes or so.
I have used different types of sweetener as well. I’ve used white sugar, turbinato, stevia, blue agave nectar, honey, and a few other things. My favorite is probably a natural sugar called Demerara Cane Sugar that looks like big brown chunks and has a bold rich flavor and says it’s perfect for coffee, tea and great for baking. Of course I like the honey as well.
I have experimented with the self rising flour. First time was because I didn’t quite have enough left, so I tried adding a bit of regular organic unbleached flour and an additional pinch of salt and baking powder. Didn’t really work so well- bread was a weird consistency (kinda more like a meatloaf LOL) and just wasn’t as good as usual. I did find an organic self rising flour, but I probably won’t consistently pay the price, as the old Gold Medal self rising flour is really ok with me.
Lastly, the very best loaf I made was last week after I dropped the two loaves off for the luncheon and stopped to buy a new package of flour. The fresh flour and freshly opened Heffewisen bottled beer mixed up so light and airy it almost immediately looked like bread dough that had been sitting to rise in a warmed oven!
Our grocery store has single bottles and cans of many different brands of beer for sale, so I pick up different flavors and hide them in the back of my cabinet for use in my bread.
Next time you’re in a rush for time, or would just really love to have a fresh scrumptious loaf of piping hot bread on your dinner table in an hour- give it a try!