Homemade Beer Bread with Sharp Cheddar & Fresh Dill
Click here for my Whole Wheat Beer Bread recipe.
Click here to read about my Onion Rye Beer Bread.
Ready to try baking yeast bread? Check out my Ten Tips For Better Bread, and then try my super popular Farmhouse White, an easy basic white sandwich bread recipe that's perfect for beginning bread bakers and can be adapted in all sorts of ways.
When it comes to minimum input and maximum output in the kitchen, beer bread is about as good as it gets. Five minutes of work reward you with a heavenly aroma wafting through the house and a warm, crusty loaf in under an hour.
I once made beer bread for a cooking class called Cozy Breads and Soups, and even after watching me make it, several people could still hardly believe how easy it was to put together—and how good it tasted.
Beer bread is delicious warm or at room temperature and goes well with just about anything. You can even use it to make sandwiches. A thick slice of leftover beer bread popped in the toaster and slathered with butter is a wonderful thing. It also freezes beautifully. (If you're not planning to serve your beer bread right away, keep in mind that the flavor of any herbs you add may intensify over time.)
There are endless flavor variations of beer bread possible; simply add whatever you desire to the basic dry mix. Try experimenting with different beers and ales, too. A darker beer will give you a deeper flavor. You can even make it with non-alcoholic beer.
For this loaf I used a bottle of our homebrewed Irish light lager, along with fresh dill and finely grated sharp cheddar cheese. The combination was inspired by the hardy volunteer dill in my organic heirloom kitchen garden.
Many people first taste beer bread that was made from a mix. Then they start wondering if they can make their own beer bread from scratch. The answer is yes! In about five minutes.
In fact, once you realize just how few ingredients there are in basic beer bread—flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, & beer—it's difficult to believe that anyone would have the nerve to market beer bread mix. And yet I've seen packages of it selling for up to eight dollars.
Onion Un-Rye Beer Bread (recipe here)
That said, why not make up a few batches of your own signature homemade beer bread mix to give as gifts? Just tuck a zipper bag of the dry mix into a colorful tin (or even a brown paper bag tied with a festive ribbon) and voila!—a charming, scrumptious gift suitable for practically any occasion. Include baking instructions written or printed out on a simple card; all they have to do is stir a 12-ounce bottle of beer into the mix, spread it in a pan, and pop it in the oven.
For an even niftier gift, create an all-in-one Beer Bread Kit: nestle the beer bread mix and a bottle of beer in a nice pan. I love my my Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans (shown in the photo above). I've been using them for years for baking everything from yeast breads, like my popular Farmhouse White, to loaf cakes, such as this Easy Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake and this Lemon Coconut Quick Bread, which is heavenly when toasted. I also really like USA Pan loaf pans.
And if the recipient of your Beer Bread Kit is a very dear friend, you might even consider sharing the recipe for the mix. Or you can just keep it to yourself for a while. It's not like it'll be any trouble to make them some more.
Farmgirl Susan's Beyond Easy Dill & Cheddar Beer Bread Recipe
Makes one 8-inch loaf
**Click here to print this recipe**
The optional egg glaze gives the top a beautiful, dark golden color. As always, I encourage you to seek out local and organic ingredients. They really do make a difference.
Basic Beer Bread Mix:
3 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces beer
Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 teaspoons water, beaten
Heat the oven to 375°. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, dill, and cheddar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in the beer and mix just until combined. The batter will be thick.
Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan, brush with the egg glaze if desired, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Flavor Variations (also see the comments section at the end of this post for lots more beer bread flavor inspiration):
Garlic & Herb: Add 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic flakes) to the basic mix. For fresh herbs, use 1 chopped Tablespoon of each.
Dill & Chive: Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried dill) and 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives to the basic mix.
Rosemary & Feta (courtesy of my bread baking buddy, Beth—see her recipe, which includes metric measurements, here): Add 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces) to the basic mix.
Italian: Add 1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano (or 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and oregano), 2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese to the basic mix.
Other Additions: Any dried or fresh herbs; 1/2 cup freshly grated asiago (or other hard cheese); 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped scallions; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour or 1/2 cup oats in place of 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or practically anything else you can think of—just use your imagination.
Still hungry? You'll find links to all of my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.
© FarmgirlFare.com, the freshly baked foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.