Honey Maple Beer Bread
I hate beer. But I loved this bread.
You will too. And it’s ridiculously easy.
Hate may be too strong of a word about my feelings for beer, but not really. In college, if the choice was drink beer at a party because it’s all there was or stay sober, I stayed sober. I was the built in designated driver.
I really don’t know what it is about beer that I despise so much. I love wine and champagne, but not beer, which is odd because I dig yeasty, cultured, and vinegary things. I like to ferment, pickle, and make homemade kombucha and kefir.
Beer does wonders for this bread, and the bread does not taste like beer. If it did, I wouldn’t love it so much.
And let’s cover this since I know I’ll be asked. Most of the alcohol bakes off and what you’re left with is wonderfully textured bread, with great depth of flavor.
The bread is one of the best sandwich-like breads I’ve ever made, either quickbread or yeast. Two others are very good, but they’re yeasted breads and require rising, kneading, and you’re looking at a 4+ hour event with lots more work.
You combine all the ingredients in one bowl, pour beer over them, stir, and that’s it. You cannot mess this up.
I used honey from Trader Joe’s. If you have fancy honey and want to use it, go for it. When I made the Honey Pumpkin Spice Cookies, it was impressive how many people wrote to say they had local honey or knew someone with hives. I wish I did.
If you don’t have real maple syrup, no biggie. Use what you have, and that goes for the beer, too.
Since I’m not a beer drinker, I stood in front of the beer case forever and had no idea what I was grabbing. I finally settled on Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale because pumpkin anything sounds good. But no, the bread doesn’t taste like pumpkin, although I wish it did.
I really don’t think there’s a wrong beer for the bread. I want to make more of it, tryin a variety of beers to see how they effect the taste. Since I don’t know one from the other, it’ll be random potluck. Sounds fun.
The bread is about as sweet as storebought honey-whole wheat sandwich bread. Although there’s no whole wheat flour in the bread, it has a wheaty, nutty quality which I love, courtesy of the beer.
I used one teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a dash of molasses, all of which add warming undertones and little bursts of comforting flavors. They’re very subtle, but present. It’s the nutmeg that I notice most, and it plays wonderfully off the honey and maple.
If you plan to make sandwiches with the bread or dip it with chili or soup, or let it go stale and make croutons with it, or use it as the dipper for hummus or on a cheese platter, you may want to either omit or dial back the cinnamon and nutmeg.
You could also go savory with the spices, adding a pinch of garlic or onion powder, curry, oregano, dill, or whatever flavors you like.
As a sidebar recipe, I made bread pudding with it. In a medium bowl, I beat 1 egg with about 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and then put 3 slices of bread (torn apart) into the egg-milk mixture and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then I pressed it into an 8×4 pan and baked at 350F for 17 minutes. It was some seriously good bread pudding.
Or use the bread for Pumpkin Cinnamon Overnight Pull-Apart French Toast or in place of the Hawaiian bread in Hawaiian Bread and Maple Banana Baked French Toast.
It’s ridiculously soft and moist. It’s on the denser side, as is to be expected without using yeast, but it’s not a crusty bread, which is music to my ears.
I baked it late one night last week, and woke up to photograph it, only to find it was raining and continued to rain all day. Horrible weather for food photography, but great weather for curling up with soft, squishy bread.
It’s total comfort food. I’m not even that much of a bread eater, and I loved it.
Effortless, goofproof, and tastes amazing. Cannot ask for anything more.
Honey Maple Beer Bread
This is some of the best bread I’ve ever made, and it’s definitely the easiest. No yeast, no-knead, no fuss. Simply combine all the ingredients in one bowl, pour beer over, stir, and bake. Foolproof, goofproof bread that’s ridiculously soft and moist. It doesn’t taste like beer and it’s safe to feed to kids. Read the blog post for alternate uses, including a recipe using it as the bread for bread pudding; use it as French toast bread or for overnight French toast bakes. Serve it with soup, chili, dip it in hummus, or take the spices and flavor profile more savory by adding garlic or onion powder, curry, oregano, dill, or your favorites. Work-free, versatile, fabulous bread.
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons light, mild, or medium molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
12 ounces beer (I used Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale; use your favorite beer)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the first 9 ingredients (through baking powder). Tip: Measure the oil in a 1/4-cup measure, filling it halfway (there’s 4 tablespoons in 1/4-cup, so halfway is 2 tablespoons). By adding the oil first, it coats the measuring cup so the subsequent sticky ingredients (molasses, honey, maple) will slide right out.
- Slowly pour beer over the top. It will bubble and foam. Stir until combined. Batter is thick, gloppy, and dense.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until top is domed and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice using a serrated knife. Bread is best fresh, but will keep airtight for up to 4 days. As the days pass, toasting it is recommended. Serving Ideas: with butter, hummus, olive oil and balsamic; eat is as toast, use as sandwich bread, dip in soup, use for French toast, dice day-old bread and bake for croutons or dice and make a French toast bake or bread pudding. See blog post for more details.
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Have you ever made beer bread?