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How to Make Beer Bread

How to Make Beer Bread

They call beer “liquid bread,” and with good reason. Both solid and liquid forms share many ingredients, the most important of which is yeast, which works to turn sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol, causing bread to rise and beer to ferment. The biggest difference between the two? In bread, most of the alcohol evaporates during the baking process. Let's take a look at an easy-to-follow beer bread recipe.

It should come as no surprise, then, that beer can be used in breadmaking to great effect. Here we’ll learn what exactly beer bread is, how it’s made, and cap things off with a list of the best beers to use the next time you rise to the occasion of breadmaking.

A beer bread is simply any bread that uses beer in the dough mixture, and in its most basic form requires only flour, sugar and beer. It’s a wonderfully quick and easy option for any occasion, able to be made in well under an hour. After all, beer bread is a “quick bread,” a style of bread that began with Native Americans and gained popularity in the 1840s with the wide release of Arm & Hammer’s baking soda. One of the earliest true beer breads was “Irish Soda Bread,” which began incorporating acidic Guinness to activate the baking soda in the recipe.

Making beer bread is supremely easy. Beyond flour, sugar and beer, most recipes call for butter, and depending on the desired texture, self-rising flour. Preparation is as simple as stirring the flour and sugar together, then pouring in the beer, and stirring until the foam has subsided and the flour has become fully incorporated. The butter is used to coat the pan, and the top of the bread. Once mixture is stirred in the pan, bake for 50-60 minutes. Voila!

The Best Beers for Making Beer Bread

The Best Beers for Making Beer Bread
It’s hard to go wrong when choosing a beer. In fact, just about any beer will work, including omnipresent macro brands such as Budweiser. The deciding factors for which you’ll use come down to the flavor and texture you’re going for, and what other ingredients you’ve added. Aside from the alcohol, many of the beer’s characteristics will carry over into the bread. For instance, if you prefer a sweeter bread, you would choose a sweeter beer style, such as a pastry stout. If you plan to have a dip, or toppings, you might prefer a more neutral lager, while using an IPA might offer more earthy notes, perfect for use in a bread with garlic and rosemary. Generally, you’ll want to avoid using light beers, as the negative traits often associated with those styles will carry over as well -- namely, a more muted flavor profile. Also, ultra-filtered beers will make a thicker, denser loaf, as the yeast from an unfiltered beer acts as a leavening agent.

These beers were chosen with a range of flavors in mind.

Bell’s Best Brown Ale: For a subtle, dark and hearty bread with an ever-so-slight sweetness, the earthy undertones of this classic brew will create a perfect standalone bread, great for a long hike on a brisk autumn morning.

Little Sip: With notes of mango, grapefruit and pineapple, this tropical IPA would work wonderfully in a bread recipe that incorporated fruit, with the malt sweetness providing a nice base for the fruit sweetness, while its bitterness providing a pleasant contrast on the palate.

The Greater Pumpkin: Pumpkin beer bread is a no-brainer, and this rich offering from Heavy Seas Beer is guaranteed to hit all the right notes -- bourbon, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove and oak.

Fat Tire: You’re more than likely already familiar with this classic Amber Ale, and the perfect buttery tone it sets that would finely complement a more neutral bread; it would also be great with your favorite spice blend.

Alaskan Smoked Porter: With an addition of caraway seeds, the depth of this smoked beer would make a stellar bread to be paired with beer cheese.

Ommegang Hennepin: With subtle notes of lemon, this exemplary saison provides ample room to play with flavor, and its haziness and high carbonation ensure a light, fluffy bread that won’t weigh you down.

A Simple Recipe for How to Make Bread from Beer

A Simple Recipe for How to Make Bread from Beer


3 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 beer of your choice, room temperature
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 teaspoon, fine grain sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 350º F

2. Grease loaf pan with melted butter, ensuring enough is left over to top the bread

3. Stir together flour and sugar

4. Pour in beer, stirring until foam has subsided and flour is totally incorporated into mixture

5. Spoon mixture in pan gently, and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 190º F or toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway at 25 - 30 minutes for an even bake.

6. Once ready, immediately remove from pan and allow to cool, ideally on a wire rack.

7. Brush melted butter onto top and sides of loaf.

8. Let rest for at least 15 minutes, then enjoy!

As you can see, the recipe is quite easy, meaning the barrier for entry is quite low, and the ceiling for creativity is through the roof. By experimenting with different beers and complementary ingredients, you can quickly nail down a unique, versatile recipe that works equally well as a standalone snack or as part of a larger dish. Soups, dips, chilis, biscuit substitutes, sandwich bread… Cheese, herbs, seeds, fruits, nuts… They’re all just swatches on your culinary palette. Think of this recipe as a springboard from which you can confidently jump into new domains of flavor.

By experimenting with different beers and complementary ingredients, you can quickly nail down a unique, versatile recipe that works equally well as a standalone snack or as part of a larger dish.

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