Beer is often referred to as “liquid bread” so it’s only natural that including beer into bread recipes would result in an absolutely incredible final product. If you have even a remote interest in bread making, than beer bread should be on your list of to-do’s.
The pairing makes a lot of sense. In its most basic form, bread is a combination of grain, water, and yeast; beer is the liquid equivalent, with the basic ingredients of grain, water, yeast, and hops. The similarities were not lost on previous generations. In fact early records date back to 4000BC when the Sumer people in Mesopotamia fermented bread to create a “divine drink”.
For years, there have been variations of beer bread available; they range from three-ingredient recipes using only beer, butter, and self-rising flour to more complex creations like the dark, grainy breads made with Guinness and served alongside comforting soups in Dublin. There are many ways to experiment with different styles, ingredients and servings, particularly if you take into account the variations of craft beer available today as well.
And that’s the beauty of baking with craft beer. Not only are you playing in the kitchen, improving your skills, but you’re also supporting your local craft beer community.
So where to start? Bread making can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, 2019 IACP Food Writing Award Winner Lori Rice has a new book dedicated to baking with beer called Beer Bread. If you are new to baking, this book has plenty of simple, straightforward recipes, including a few creative takes on classic beer bread with fewer than five ingredients.
As you grow your skills, tap into the more elaborate breads and baking techniques, like braided loaves, biscuits and muffins. There are more than 70 recipes to try with the end result being approachable, freshly baked breads at home.
Having personally tried a few recipes already, I can say that the baked Mexican chocolate stout donuts are incredibly rich and decadent and the IPA pizza dough is surprisingly good.
Adding beer to the dough brings a new level of flavour to recipes that you may not have expected. Honestly if you haven’t had a chance to bake with beer before, it’s worth exploring.