To celebrate the birthday I mentioned in the last entry, my friends and I rented a party bus the Saturday before last. After feasting on the cake (it was a hit!), 20+ people set out and spent the night riding around town in a big old school bus with half a liquor store’s worth of alcohol. We all know what happens when folks get intoxicated (well, one thing)—they get hungry. I planned ahead for this. I wanted something that was portable and carby. Bread requires no utensils and can be eaten out-of-hand with little mess, and it’s about as carby as it gets. But I wasn’t going to make just any bread—I was going to make the bread most fitting for the occasion and setting.
BEER BREAD! I fell in love with this stuff at the various holiday fairs my mom and I attend in the winter, where you go around to different booths with people selling their wares. The food booths are the best, of course, and at almost all of the dip booths, they have cubed beer bread sitting out to dip with. I was rather shocked to like it so much, since I detest beer. What’s great about it, though, is that the alcohol and beeriness (not a word, I know) cooks out and what’s left behind is the magnificent flavor and aroma of yeast—and in a quick bread! It’s so simple to make, and it makes your house smell superb. Although you can technically use any kind of beer you like (a lot of people like it with Guinness), I think that wheat beers are the tastiest choice.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
12-oz. bottle of beer
2T Earth Balance, melted, or olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the beer…
…because it’ll bubble up and fizz like crazy.
Fold the mixture together with a spatula until just combined.
Plop the dough into the loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.
Brush the melted Earth Balance or olive oil all over the top of the loaf. This is probably the only time you will ever hear me say this, but I’d recommend EB over olive oil. There’s just something about this bread that cries out for a sweet, buttery finish. You could also mix together 1T EB with 1T olive oil; that’s actually what I did this time and it worked great.
Transfer to a wire rack after a few minutes, and allow to cool completely. Use a bread knife to slice it up. The top will have a great crunch, and the inside will be crumbly and soft.
The slices are wonderful toasted and slathered with Earth Balance or peanut butter, or just eaten as-is. Since I was feeding a crowd, I cut the slices into bite-size pieces. This is also great if you plan to serve it with a dip of some sort. I’m thinking it would make a killer stuffing or savory bread pudding, too. I bet you could even make croutons out of it, or a very unique panzanella salad. Sandwich people could probably also come up with some great uses. Let me know if you try it, and how you ate it!
Yield: 12 slices. Per slice: 145 calories, 3g fat (1g sat), 26g carbs, 4g fiber, 4g protein.