Beer Bread + Grilled Cheese

Beer bread grilled cheese with sharp cheddar.
Beer bread grilled cheese with sharp cheddar.
Beer bread grilled cheese with sharp cheddar.

Here’s one I’ve been sitting on for a while. This beer bread is by far the simplest bread recipe I’ve ever come across, and if you’re into beer cheese dip, it makes a tasty grilled cheese with the same flavor notes. The bread recipe comes from Vegetarian & Cooking.

I first tried baking this bread because I ended up with four bottles of this stuff:

Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot barleywine ale. You are a better beer drinker than I if you can quaff a full bottle.
Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot barleywine ale. You are a better beer drinker than I if you can quaff a full bottle.

Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot barleywine-style ale. I got it as a joke–my family will sometimes sit and watch marathons of “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet for no good reason, so when my sister saw Sasquatch-themed beer at the store, she snagged it for me.

I am a beer drinker (though not exclusively) but I prefer an amber ale or a nice dark stout to a hoppy IPA, and this barleywine ale was way too bitter for my tastes. While it proved to be undrinkable, the Bigfoot ale made several loaves of very tasty beer bread.

Have some beer you don't want to drink? Consume it in a loaf of this beer bread instead!
Have some beer you don’t want to drink? Consume it in a loaf of this beer bread instead!

I used the full amount of sugar to compensate for the bitterness of the beer; if you’re using a lighter, sweeter brew, use less. At some point I’d like to experiment with subbing honey or brown sugar for the plain granulated so the sweetness isn’t so bright in the final result.

Beer Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 12-oz beer
  • 3 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour; all-purpose or regular whole wheat would work just as well)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar, depending on the bitterness of the beer
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, plus some for the pan

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a loaf pan with a bit of butter.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. When the oven is hot and you’re ready to bake the bread, pour the beer over the dry ingredients. It will foam up like a science experiment, and then subside. Stir until the ingredients are just combined. If you’re using a whole wheat flour, you may need an extra splash of beer or water. I added a little extra beer because my batter looked dry.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out the top. Bake it for about 50 minutes.

    Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top with a spatula or wooden spoon.
    Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Melt about a tablespoon of butter and brush the top of the loaf with it. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so, then pop it out and cool completely.

    I can never resist slicing into a warm loaf of bread.
    I can never resist slicing into a warm loaf of bread.

This bread keeps for several days on the counter wrapped in foil. Once you get tired of eating it plain or spread with butter, make a grilled cheese with it:

Beer Bread Grilled Cheese

Serves one

Ingredients

  • 2 slices beer bread
  • 1 oz cheese (I recommend sharp cheddar)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Steps

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread.

    Butter one side of each slice.
    Butter one side of each slice.
  2. When the skillet is hot, place the unbuttered sides of the bread down in the skillet. This is a dense bread, so you want to toast the inside before assembling the sandwich.

    Toast the dry side of the bread first.
    Toast the dry side of the bread first.
  3. When the dry sides of the bread are just beginning to brown, flip a slice onto the buttered side and top with the cheese. Place the other slice on top. Cook the sandwich for a few minutes on each side until the outside is browned and the cheese is melted.
    Top a slice with cheese...
    Top a slice with cheese…
    ...then assemble the sandwich and grill until golden brown.
    …then assemble the sandwich and grill until golden brown.

     

Enjoy!

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