Friday, November 23, 2007

Easy & Delicious $6 Holiday Gift Idea: Homemade Beer Bread Mix In A Beautiful Baking Pan

Plus Get A Free Subscription To Bon Appetit or Gourmet!


I Love These Chicago Metallic Commercial Loaf Pans

Bake them a loaf of beer bread, and they'll eat well for a day. Give them a package of homemade beer bread mix, a beer bread recipe, and a handy dandy loaf pan, and they'll eat well for the rest of their lives.

Two years ago I put up a post called Beyond Easy Beer Bread: A Warm Crusty Loaf In Under An Hour, and it's been my most popular blog post ever since. There are a lot of you out there wanting to know how to make your own beer bread. Like about 700 a week. Who knew?

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 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 upwards of eight dollars.

So why not make up a few batches of your own signature homemade beer bread mix to give away during the holidays? Just tuck a zipper or ribbon-tied 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.

Onion Rye Beer Bread

There are endless flavor variations of beer bread possible, including dill & cheddar, garlic & herb, and Italian. Simply add whatever you desire to the basic dry mix. You can also make whole wheat and onion rye versions. Click here to read my recipes for beer bread and the dry beer bread mix, as well as several flavor variations.

For an even niftier gift, create an all-in-one Beer Bread Kit: nestle the beer bread mix and a bottle of beer in one of my favorite Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans, which come with a 25-year warranty and are also great for baking yeast breads and cakes. They're on sale right now at Amazon.com for a ridiculously low $5.75 each, with no tax and free shipping on orders over $25. Plus they're part of the Amazon.com 4-for-3 promotion that is currently going on: Buy any 4 eligible items and get the lowest-priced item free. So if you buy 4 loaf pans, you'll get one of them free. (There are over 100,000 eligible products including select Books, CDs, DVDs, Single Copy Magazines, Home & Garden items, and Home Improvement tools. Click here for more information on the promotion and to see all the products.)

11/24 Update: Well, rats. I was afraid this might happen. Amazon.com has run out of stock of these loaf pans again, so they're temporarily being offered from a different seller at a higher price ($9.95, which is still a good price) and aren't eligible for free shipping or the 4-for-3 promotion. Hopefully they'll be back in stock and on sale again soon--you might check back in a day or two. My apologies for any confusion or disappointment. 11/29 Update: They're back in stock at $5.75 but are selling out fast!

This means a loaf pan, the beer bread mix, and a nice bottle of beer will set you back less than $6.00. Empty gift bags often cost that much! Now you'll be able to give delicious, useful gifts this holiday season and still have money left over to send to the local animal shelter or your favorite charity. Looking for a worthy one to support? I happily send much needed (and tax deductible) donations to A Place To Bark (grab a tissue before you read about the absolutely amazing Bernie Berlin and how she singlehandedly saves and finds homes for hundreds of abandoned and abused dogs and cats who are literally destined for death) and The Wild Animal Sanctuary (forced to close their doors to visitors and on the brink of shutting down completely last year, they're now back open thanks to all of you who helped spread the word of their plight and kindly sent donations).

And if all this isn't tempting enough, right now if you spend $25 or more in the Amazon.com Home & Garden Store, you'll receive a free one-year subscription to Bon Appetit, Gourmet or Domino magazine with your purchase. You can have the subscription sent to anyone or even extend your own subscription if you already have one. Click here for more details.

A number of my other favorite kitchen items I've written about before are also part of the 4-for-3 Amazon.com promotion (and all include free shipping on orders over $25):

--Chicago Metallic Commercial Baking Sheets I refuse to bake on anything but commercial baking sheets, and once you try using them you probably won't either. There's simply no comparison. Are you a closet cookie burner? These might very well cure you. I've had some of mine for over 15 years.

--Baking/pizza stones A must for homemade pizzas and crusty freeform breads; I've been baking on the same one for over 12 years.

--Salter 5-pound digital kitchen scale I use mine every day!

--KitchenAid Bench/Pastry Scraper So useful mine rarely make it back into the drawer where they supposedly live.

--Lodge cast iron 10-1/4 inch pre-seasoned skillet Talk about something that'll last forever and ever--they only get better with age! Such a deal at $11.99.

--FoodSaver Continuous Roll Bag Material A much better deal than buying the pre-made bags. Last week we sealed up an entire deer in custom made bags. Click here to read more about what I do with my FoodSaver and why I love it so much.

I already placed my 4-for-3 order and am looking forward to receiving a Chicago Metallic Commercial Large Cooling Grid ($8.99), an OXO Good Grips Y Peeler ($9.99), and a set of 2 Chicago Metallic Commercial Perforated Pie Pans ($7.00). My Vic Firth French Rolling Pin ($8.99) arrived Wednesday, and I can't wait to roll out a pie with it. Am I the last person to discover Vic Firth's beautiful, made in Maine, solid maple rolling pins?

All of the items (except the FoodSaver bag material, which can actually be used over and over) should last for years and years if you treat them right.

I don't know about you, but in my opinion, at this time of year online shopping is the way to go. Even if (unlike me) you're still used to the everyday hustle and bustle of city living, the mall can be a scary place. A few years ago I was driving my mother to the airport on the day after Christmas, and we were rear ended at a stoplight. We were more shook up than anything, so we decided to walk around the gigantic mall across the street while our nerves settled down. Now that was a bad idea.

May your holiday shopping this year be an enjoyable, affordable experience. And thank you so much for supporting Farmgirl Fare by shopping through any of these Amazon.com links.

© 2007 FarmgirlFare.com, the award-winning blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.

16 comments:

  1. can't wait to try the beer bread. alas the bread pan comes up as $9.95 for me on amazon. it's still a great gift idea.

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  2. Hi julie-b,
    Thanks for letting me know about the price. I had a feeling this might happen. Amazon.com has run out of stock of these loaf pans again, so they're temporarily being offered from a different seller at a higher price ($9.95) and aren't part of the 4-for-3 promotion. I'm going to go ahead and leave this post up, and I'll post a notice when they go back to the sale price & promotion. My apologies for any confusion or disappointment.

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  3. I'm not fond of the crowds, either. I prefer shopping online whenever I can. Now that you've mentioned it, I need to check out the beer bread recipe! My family would probably love it.

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  4. Hi Everybody!
    False alarm. Amazon already has the loaf pans back in stock and on sale for $5.75, plus they're part of the 4-for-3 promotion and are eligible for free shipping on orders over $25.


    That was nice & quick! I was really bummed out yesterday and afraid they'd be out of stock for a week or two again. : )

    Hi Daisy,
    I've heard from so many readers who made beer bread for the first time and received rave reviews. The other day one poor girl said her husband gobbled the whole thing up and only let her and the kids have a couple of crumbs! ; )

    People seem especially excited by it if they're not used to being served warm, homemade bread. And while it is denser and different than "regular" bread because it's a quick bread (made with baking powder rather than yeast), you just can't beat the fact that you really will have a warm, crusty, delicious loaf in under an hour--and that even includes cooling time.

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  5. Thanks so much for mentioning my rescue..
    Your gift idea sounds great!!
    Just have to find some time to cook:)
    I am doing my teaching schedule for next year and may be coming to Missouri, isn't that where you live? Maybe we could meet up.
    My best to you always...

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  6. I actually came to your blog via a google search for beer bread. And now I'm totally hooked on your farm goings-on!

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  7. This is a great Christmas gift idea. Unfortunatly today (Saturday morning) they must be out of stock again because they're offering them from another seller for more $$. I will check Amazon again to see if they go on sale. :)

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  8. Between this and the No Knead bread recipe over at Steven's, I'll probably have to break down and make bread. Why do I fight it?

    Perhaps this is the bread our neighbors will get hanging in bags from their front door this year? Although I'd bet they'd all just drink the beer and call it a day.

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  9. I love all of my Chicago Metallic bakeware AND I bought most of it on discount at TJ Maxx!

    They frequently carry CM cookie sheets and baking pans. :o)

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  10. Oh, man, the beer bread idea is perfect for many on my list including me!
    Hope your Thanksgiving was fab!

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  11. This is the greatest gift idea ever! I've been baking beer bread for ages, and have been pondering this season's gifts for what feels like ages, and here I found the solution! Thank you!
    - Astra Libris
    http://foodforlaughter.blogspot.com

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  12. Oh my gosh, you are the BEST. I am totally doing this! What a fab-tastic idea! THANK YOU!

    (I am giddy with holiday gift shopping anxiety relief!)

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  13. I'm a long time reader, but first time commenter. I tried the beer bread recipe last night, but added basil instead of dill. It turned out wonderful! So quick and easy, I think anyone could make it.

    Thanks!
    ~ Jelley

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  14. I love your idea for the homemade beer bread mix and baking pan! Thanks!

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  15. They must already be out of stock again - the price is almost $12 now. That'll teach me to check your blog more often, huh?!

    I'm considering the Lodge dutch oven you wrote about too. It's $107 now, still a good deal. But I'm trying to decide if I could make do with the 6-qt version that is on sale for $50 or so. It's got fewer layers of enamel apparently, and won't go to wuite as high a temp in the oven (400)... but it's half the price... let me know if you have any advice!

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  16. Hi Everybody!
    A big hello to the first time commenters! Thanks for taking the time to write. So glad you're all enjoying the beer bread and beer bread mix idea--and that I could help with your holiday gift lists!

    Hi Rurality,
    Great to hear from you. I'm so bummed that Amazon keeps selling out of these pans. You'd really think that at this time of year (and with them half price!) they would have ordered about three million of them.

    Hopefully they'll be back in stock soon. According to Amazon you can order items as late as December 17th with Free Super Saver Shipping and they'll arrive before Christmas. Regular shipping (which is actually pretty reasonably priced) will get them to you even faster.

    As for the Dutch oven dilemma. . . That $50 6-quart Dutch oven you mention (click here to see it) sounds good and received some great reviews on Amazon. I wasn't familiar with that less expensive line of enamel cast iron until just recently--I think it's new. I, too, saw that it has fewer layers of enamel (I was trying to figure out why the price was so much lower!). Putting on each layer is what is so time consuming when manufacturing the pot.

    Since I don't have any experience with this line, I can't personally recommend it, but it sounds good, and I'm very happy with the quality of all my Lodge cast iron cookware. The price is definitely right, especially for somebody who isn't sure how much they'll end up using a Dutch oven.

    As for only being oven safe to 400 degrees, I don't think that will be an issue. I do all my Dutch oven cooking at much lower temperatures--low and slow for hours.

    You could always trade up later and pass your old one onto a friend or loved one--who will probably be thrilled. Hope this helps! ; )

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