Thursday, August 23

Breakdowns & Onion Rye Beer Bread Recipe

This is the newest version of my Beyond Easy Beer Bread, which is my most popular recipe. Five minutes of work reward you with a heavenly aroma wafting through the house and a warm, crusty loaf in under an hour. There are endless flavor variations possible, and you can even use it for sandwiches. You might also enjoy my Whole Wheat Beer Bread Recipe.

Onion rye beer bread with caraway seeds—sort of (baked in this awesome pan).

It's been one of those weeks. You know, the kind where just when you're sure nothing else can break or go wrong—and it certainly can't get any hotter than 103 degrees in the shade—one of the enormous ancient chest freezers on the kitchen porch, that's naturally crammed to capacity with all kinds of frozen food, appears to be in. . .distress.

Then you pick up the mail and find a Safety Recall Notice informing you that The One Reliable Vehicle you own—as opposed to the others you own, the newest of which is from 1993, and all of which, if they're even capable of being driven off the farm, usually require a call to AAA in order to make it back home—apparently has a small defect that may cause the vehicle to suddenly catch on fire "when parked or being operated."

Fortunately a simple repair by the dealer can fix the problem, but until this is performed, the letter advised us to, I kid you not, "park your vehicle away from structures to prevent a potential underhood fire from spreading."

Given how things have been going, Joe, my hunky farmguy who was out in the 90-degree shop alternately trying to figure out why the '86 pickup wouldn't start and why the wiring on the flatbed trailer wouldn't work, wasn't surprised to see my glum-looking, sweat-drenched face peering around the big sliding door yesterday afternoon.

"What happened?" was all he said, but you could tell that numerous scenarios, none of them good, were rapidly flipping through his brain.

"Okay, you know I'm making this new beer bread. So I get the exploded beer all cleaned up off the counter and the floor, add enough water to the batter to make up for the beer I lost, put the pan in the oven, and am halfway done washing the dishes when I realize I forgot to put any rye flour in the rye beer bread."

Given that this was an incredibly small disaster in the grand scheme of things, he not only displayed plenty of sympathy and understanding, but also managed not to laugh in my face at my stupidity. This motivated me enough to trudge back into the 90-degree kitchen and start the whole baking process all over again. But the un-rye version ended up tasting great.

Just cross your fingers that between now and our appointment next week The One Reliable Vehicle doesn't spontaneously burst into flames.

Farmgirl Susan's Beyond Easy Beer Bread
Makes one 8-inch loaf

The optional egg glaze gives the top a beautiful, dark golden color. As always, I encourage you to use local and organic ingredients; they really do make a difference.

Basic Beer Bread Mix (Onion Rye instructions are below):

Organic all-purpose flour 3 cups / 750 ml / 15-1/8 oz / 430 g
Granulated sugar 1 tbsp / 15 ml / 5/8 oz / 16 g
Salt 1 tsp / 5 ml / 1/4 oz / 6 g
Baking powder 1 tbsp / 15 ml / 5/8 oz / 16 g

Beer 1½ cups / 355 ml / 12 oz / 338 g

Optional glaze: 1 egg & 2 tsp (10 ml) water, beaten

Heat oven to 375°F/190°C. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir in beer and mix just until combined. Batter will be thick.

Spread in a greased 8-inch loaf pan (I love these Chicago Metallic commercial loaf pans), brush with 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 rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep for 1 to 2 days stored in a plastic bag or airtight container. May be frozen.

For the Onion Rye or Un-Rye version:
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet. Add 1 cup finely chopped onion and 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds. Cook at medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. (This step may be done ahead of time; let onion mixture sit at room temperature up to two hours or refrigerate.)

If desired, replace the 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rye flour, and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Stir onion mixture into batter along with 2 more Tablespoons of beer or water.

©, the always tasty and sometimes rye foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares photos & stories of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.


  1. And I thought I had a bad day today!!

    It is nice to know that you too make mistakes in the kitchen. Once I forgot an egg in the cake. oops!

    good luck with the vehicles.

  2. Okay, I am sitting here laughing, not to cause you any undue pain, but because I am thanking my lucky stars, it's someone elses week to have thing fall apart. Lord knows. Maybe you should say "Tag, you're it" to someone you don't like very much and hope they have a lovely week. I know it's evil, but sometimes a little good humored evil can go a long way.

    I have no idea about beer bread, but it looked darned good!

  3. Sounds like the time I forgot to put sugar in the cherry pie! (I had added some cherry sugar-free jello, so it wasn't TOO bad...)

    First time visitor to your blog, love it!

  4. Hugs (yet sweaty) to you.

    Despite the 96 degrees and mega humidity outside I made a 2nd batch of Rosemary Filone.

    I love a baking bread that can cover up the smell

  5. Aren't most great discoveries made by accident? My husband doesn't like rye
    The only beer bread I've made so far is a yeast bread. Your quick loaves look delicious.

  6. I think there's something about the year 1993 myself. I own a 1993 Taura, inherited from Grandmother who bought in GA a when it was new. When the car moved to New Mexico we learned there was a manufacture defect in the fuel tank that meant at high elevations and in extreme heat the car would overheat, give the appearance of vapor lock and die.

    Replacement of the fuel pump fixes this problem, but talk about a nasty fix for my husband on a hot day!

    I totally sympathize.

  7. Funny you bring up the beer bread--I've had your basic recipe in my "to try" file for ages and tried it this past weekend adding basil, oregano, garlic, and parmesan. It was out of this world--perfect for soaking up the sauce from the lasagna I made for the main dish! Thanks for sharing the recipe--it was the first time I ever made "real" bread before!

    As we ate, I was telling my boyfriend I got the recipe "from that farm lady who took in the baby sheep I told you about, remember?" and that reminded me...How's "baby" Cary doing? Is she helping weed-eat?

    Hope things get better around the farm!

  8. I just hate those kinds of days! Fortunately, there's one thing you can count on... they end! Hang in there. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  9. When it rains it pours. At least you know you all the bad luck out of the way in one fell swoop!

  10. I admire your gumption.

    I'm curious: how did you get your comments in the 'Leave your comment' box?

  11. Sorry to hear things are a little rough around the edges. Last week was like that for me . . . I found myself making messes while I was cleaning other messes up. I hope your rough patch doesn't last much longer!

  12. When parked or being operated? So basically anytime it may self-combust? It sounds like the sort of day where the beer belonged in you rather than the bread, you poor thing! But the recipe looks beautiful, I must say, so thanks!

  13. If it makes you feel any better we've had similar luck over the past couple of months. The dishwasher (resulting in subfloor issues), the 1 1/2 year old washing machine, the truck recall....

    Thankfully the truck was a quick and easy fix, and cost free.

    We've gotten to the point where we don't tell my inlaws when we have things go wrong. They're favorite saying is "Oh you kids have such rotten luck". Never mind that most of what happens can and does happen to everyone at some point in time.

    The bread looks great!

  14. Your bread recipes sound wonderful and I want to try them as soon as the weather breaks in Boston. Today it hit 90 with awful humidity. What a trooper you are to bake when your weather is so hot! Hope things are improving for you.

  15. Bread looks great!
    Car sounds careful!

    Glad mother nature is spreading around the warmth. Thought it was just us here getting the dose of heat. Hope we all get a "cold front" soon. We had one and it was actually in the high 80's one day last week. Using the oven is so hard to talk yourself into when it's so hot.

  16. Beer, bread, everything you need for a happy life, right?

    Great stuff!

  17. The bread looks wonderful. I AM TRULY SORRY ABOUT YOUR WEEK.My prayers are with you and your loved ones.

  18. Sounds like my week. We, too, have a '93, but it doesn't have cruise, so we're home free on that one. Our second, most often used, vehicle is a 2000. It does have cruise and we received the official letter of doom. From what I've read online, though, the fix is to disconnect cruise until the mfg. comes up with suitable replacement parts that won't self-combust. As we have both had knee surgeries this past year and still aren't up to par, cruise control is a pretty important part of our lives anymore. We're stalling.

    My week may well go like yours has, starting any day now. LOL We've had our one year old granddaughter staying with us this past week while her parents were out of town. Our eight month old granddaughter, too, has spent some of that time with us. Fall feels like it's around the corner here in the high country of the west. I need to make time to spend enjoying the sunshine and warmth while I can. That is, as soon as I finish cutting up the tree branches that fell across our electric lines last week. And dragging the small stuff to the ever growing pile out back. I've just got to get that chipper!

    I continue to enjoy your blog immensely. I hope this week goes smoother for you.

  19. Ha, I got one of those letters too, on my 'new' (to me) '93. The part about parking it away from anything was a bit unsettling to say the least, since it shares the garage with the sheep hay. It didn't surprise me though, since the vehicle has had two major window catastrophies, and two flat tires (on new tires) since I got it a few months ago. I still love it, since its green and pretty delux for me. Just hope I can get it fixed before it 'goes up in smoke'! Always something. Have you ever heard of a 7 Up bread recipe? I used to make it and can't remember all details but it took very little igredients--7up being one. It was more like a biscuity bread. I continue to enjoy your blog. Tammy

  20. Hi Beverly,
    You mean there are people who don't make mistakes in the kitchen? Let me guess--they don't have dust or clutter anywhere either. : )

    Hi Vickie,
    LOL, I kinda like that idea of tagging somebody with a "lovely" week. And what do you mean you don't know about beer bread? It's practically the easiest thing on earth to make--your personal chef clients would love it! And never know you only slaved over it for five minutes. . . ; )

    Hi Bright Meadow Farms,
    Sometimes I even amaze myself with what I forget to put into baked goods. Welcome to the farm--thanks for taking the time to write and say hello!

    Hi Yellow Dog,
    I'll take that sweaty hug. Ha ha, the smell of dogs isn't too bad unless you get them in the house--or they're wet. And of course my little beagle Robin, the only dog allowed in the house and only because she's semi-retired and pretends she's a cat, is a lot smaller than a couple of Labs. ; )

    I'm envious--you're ahead of me on the Local Breads recipe testing!

    Hi She Of Little Brain,
    I think most great discoveries are made by accident--just not everybody admits it. ; ) I've been meaning to try making a yeasted beer bread for ages. Thanks for the reminder.

    Hi Killlashandra,
    There are certain things in life I really, really, really don't like dealing with, and car repairs are one of them. My ride doesn't have to be fancy, but I want to be able to get in, turn the key, have the engine start up, and get where I'm going and back without worrying, breaking down, or wondering what that scary thumping noise is. Some days that actually happens. Other days I think a horse and buggy would be a much better option. ; )

    Hi Ms. DaFarm,
    Oh I'm so glad you made beer bread! Thanks for letting me know. Ha ha, too funny about explaining me to your boyfriend. I told Joe what you'd written, saying, "Isn't it interesting the various ways people describe me?"

    Cary, by the way, is doing great, though she thankfully has no desire to hang out in the garden. That's too bad actually, as this year I definitely have more weeds than veggies. I'm hoping to get around to writing a little update about her soon. Hoping!! ; )

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks. Yes, it's always good to know a bad day/week/month/year will eventually come to an end!

    Hi Dig This Chick,
    Definitely! Now all we need is some real rain around here. : )

    Hi Bill,
    Gumption. I like it. Thanks.

    Isn't that personal message option in the "Leave Your Comment" section great? I think it's a pretty new feature. Just go into blogger, click on SETTINGS, then click on COMMENTS, and there'll be a box where you can type in your message.

    Hi Jade,
    Messes on messes--I know about that for sure. Of course, things are always pretty messy around here, LOL. Hope some of yours have been permanently cleaned up! ; )

    Hi FGO,
    Yeah, apparently at anytime the truck can simply catch on fire without warning. It's pretty unbelievable--and scary. I'm still kind of shaking my head in disbelief over that whole letter and the "park away from structures" thing. I'm assuming the company's lawyers had them include that because somebody's vehicle was parked in a garage or whatever, caught on fire, and ended up causing much more damage--meaning a much larger lawsuit. But still. . .

    Ha ha, that's definitely true about the beer!

    Hi Carole,
    Oh my. Subfloor issues defintely doesn't sound good. But your attitude certainly does! Thanks for the boost. ; )

    Hi Diane,
    I don't know if I'm so much a trooper or simply crazy--or too addicted to freshly baked bread not to turn on the oven in summer! ; )

    Hi Anne,
    This heat wave has been unreal. I keep checking the weather hoping that I'll see a cold front like you mention, but the longest reprieve we've had has been just for a day. Last week I heard a guy on the radio giving the weather report, and he said something like, "Wednesday, highs in the upper 90s with the heat index at 105, Thursday, highs in the upper 90s with the heat index at 104, Friday, highs around 103, then Saturday it'll cool down to 96--if you can call 96 cool!" At least it got me to laugh.

    Hi Scott,
    Well, a little butter is always nice. And of course chocolate. And champagne. And salad. I'll stop now. . .

    Hi Mary Isabella,
    Thanks so much.

    Hi Anonymous,
    Your week does sound a lot like mine--well, except yours included little grandkids and mine just includes dozens of sheep and assorted other critters. ; )

    As for cruise control, it's one of those things I've never latched on to, probably because the one time I turned it on, not two minutes later I got pulled over for speeding! Fortunately I was able to talk myself out of a ticket, promising not to turn the cruise control back on. : )

  21. Mmmm beer bread. I just had beer bread recently at a Tastefully Simple party my friend had this past spring. I loved the bread, but I wasn't about to spend $4 for the mix (c'mon... I can buy 10 lbs of flour for that!)

    I came up with my own version of beer bread by combining a few recipes I found online then tweaking it further.

    I didn't think to add onions and rye! My beer bread is quite plain, but good. I'm definitely going to put your onion & rye version on my list for next week.

  22. I like it when you get adventurous in the kitchen and on the farm. Yes, I have had lots of good and bad experiences on both fronts, but have been making only awesome loves of beer bread each time lately. Now I have the confidence to tackle a pumpernickel like version with more extra stuff than just the molasses :-) I love the whole wheat and rye versions with caraway & fennel, and I am an onion fiend too, so yes, I'll throw lots of onions in too. I love the way dark beer works in beer bread. (And in the baker's stomach)

  23. excellent recipe and what a great way for me to use up some beer recently bought that we did not enjoy the taste of- I am American but living in Belgium now so have ample selection of beers and sometimes we just find one that no- one in the house enjoys and yea! new recipe- all the ingredients I am using (including the baking powder) are all grown/produced/milled less than 50 miles from our house (and the wheat flour and eggs both come from within biking/walking distance) so it's good to know that I am making your recipe using your philosophy- just trying to balance out my carbon footprint to make up for my indulgences such as reese's peanut butter cups shipped to me from the US :-)-everything in balance, I guess

  24. Hi! I was just wondering if you have any insights into make a dark rye with this recipe. Any strategies for adding cocoa and/or coffee? I know I'm a few years late on this post, but dark rye is one of my favorite things ever and I would love to be able to replace my current recipe with a no-knead, no rise time version. Thanks!

    1. Hi KatieD,
      I've never made a dark rye beer bread (or yeast bread), but you could certainly try adding a little bit of cocoa and a small amount of coffee in place of some of the beer to the batter. I think some dark rye breads also have molasses in them. If you do try a dark rye version, I hope you'll come back and let us know how it turned out!

  25. I made the rye onion version last night and it turned out great. I'm moving in 10 days and have a package of really old rye flour and I went in search of ways to use it up. I love beer bread so when I saw your recipe I knew I had to try it!

  26. "Great bread. I made the onion-rye-caraway version which went well with soup."

  27. Liked this a lot! Easier and lots less expensive that the boxed mix!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

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