Beer bread is the simplest, easiest bread that anyone can make. It is unleavened, so it requires a raising agent. This is provided by the bicarbonate of soda present in self-raising flour. Sugar is added, and this may trick some in to thinking that the residual yeast in the beer makes beer bread rise. But this is not so. All the beer offers is a baked, malty taste; water to activate the bicarbonate; and some fizz to make bubbles – there is not enough time for the yeast to do squat. Beer bread will technically work with soda water instead of beer, but it will lack flavour.
Aside from its speed of manufacture, the coolest thing about beer bread is that it will rise despite all sorts of abuse. You can stick herbs in it, fruit, nuts, cheese, olives, capers, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes … anything, and it will still rise and create a great treat.
Regardless of what you chuck in it, beer bread of any kind is best served hot from the oven and torn apart by the diners. Cold beer bread is not as nice as standard bread.
- 375g self-raising flour
- 330ml proper English beer
- 3 tsp sugar
- 10g salted butter
Set an oven to 180˚C.
Grease a loaf tin with some of the butter. Melt the rest.
Mix the flour, beer and sugar in a bowl until there is no uncombined flour left. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth with a spoon, and drizzle over the butter.
Put the loaf tin on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 50 mins until risen and crispy.
You can go mental with this. Alter the sugar quantity, add salt, swap the beer for stout, add chopped fruit (e.g. apples, pears), olives or capers.