One of my all-time favorite recipes on this blog is for Buttery Beer Bread, which is slightly sweet with a delicious yeasty flavor, and a thick, crunchy, and buttery crust. The only downside to it is that it is best fresh from the oven and does not store well, so it’s a little hard to fit into a diet plan because we usually end up splitting the whole loaf between us and polishing it off in one sitting. (Avoiding dry leftover bread is perfection justification for the overindulgence, no?) If you’ve made this bread, you know that eating half a loaf of it is a lot easier to manage than one would imagine. In the interest of trying to shrink our midsections, however, we try not to pull that stunt too often.
Deciding I needed a soft beer bread that stored well so that we could enjoy it for several days versus five minutes, I instinctively knew (well, hoped may be the better word) all I had to do was add an egg and blend the butter in with everything else instead of pouring it over the top. And voilà! I was right. I love being right. Especially when it results in something so delicious!
This bread has the same flavor I fell in love with in the original beer bread, the beer giving it a nice yeasty flavor despite this being a quick bread containing no yeast (another bonus-fresh bread in under an hour!). But it is a million times prettier (smooth top versus major bumpiness), the texture is velvety soft when fresh from the oven, and the crust still has just a bit of that buttery crunch to it. And it fulfills the reason for the modification: it stores well and stays soft and moist!
While I might still make the original if we have company over since there would be less risk of leftovers, and I adore that thick, crunchy & buttery crust, this is the one I’ll be making most often because the texture is so wonderful and its ability to stay that way upon storage robs me of the justification for polishing off an entire loaf in one sitting. Which I may not be so thankful for, but my hips surely are.
*Despite this loaf storing well, we still ate half of it as soon as it was out of the oven, so I only had half a loaf (OK, maybe a little less than half, truth be told) to photograph the next day. Sorry. Our stomachs got in the way of the interests of my blog! At least we didn’t eat the whole thing this time. At least not all at once. :)
Buttery-Soft Beer Bread
3 cups self-rising flour*
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12-oz) can beer
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Whisk the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Add beer, butter, and the egg, and whisk well to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
*I know it’s weird, but I really feel I get the best results using self-rising flour for this bread. However, if you do not have it, you can replace it with 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt instead. I recommend using a baking powder without aluminum, such as Rumford, particularly in this recipe since you need so much of it. The aluminum has an aftertaste and can foul up baked goods which call for quantities in excess of 1 teaspoon.
Update 2/18/15: I’ve discovered you can substitute honey for the sugar with delicious results as well, lending a light honey-sweet taste to the bread. Just look at how tender it is!