JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beer bread

If we run out of bread, it's less effort to make a loaf than to go to the supermarket to buy another. Trouble is, I often don't notice soon enough, and then there's a crisis. Soda bread is what fills that gap (I'm making it sound as if I bake all our bread - I used to, but I've got out of the habit, and I'd like to re-acquire it). But soda bread is often quite uninteresting and bland.

This one, mixed with beer rather than water, is fabulous. Infinitely variable, very quick (under an hour start to finish), which was just as well this morning, when people started coming down to breakfast (porridge and toast) and there wasn't a scrap of bread in the house. It comes from Susan at Farmgirl Fare, who is also one of the three bakers who blog A Year in Bread, essential reading for anyone interested in improving their baking.

This recipe may be very irritating to almost everyone, because I've Europeanised the liquid and the temperature, but kept the American cups, because my sister brought me over a set from California when she was here in June. If you can't cope, email me, because I do know how to convert easily, it's just that I'm running out of time, I should be cooking lunch!

3 cups of flour - I used two of plain white (no need to use strong flour, but you can if you like) and one of malted (so lots of nice grains
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
400ml beer (or beer and water mixed)

Mix it all together, pour into a large loaf tin, and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 180C. Susan says you can glaze it with egg and water; I didn't bother.

This is infinitely variable - cheese, herbs, seeds, slow roasted tomatoes, onions ... probably not all at once!

We ate it with homemade marmalade, and I've come in here to blog it so as not to look irritatingly smug. Menna's thinking about cooking on holiday in a remote Alpine chalet, nearest shop down at the bottom ... she's going to make this bread, lovely fresh loaves almost on tap, without needing much attention, the better to devote herself to walking and reading.


Katie Zeller said...

I make an easy 'stir and pour' soda bread at least once a week, but with milk and yogurt. I lke the idea of beer - makes for more of a savory loaf.

Joanna said...

And I like the idea of using yoghurt, Katie, because that would also make it taste more interesting than plain soda bread ... do you ever flavour it? And what proportions do you use?


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Such simple stuff and the ultimate good. I used to make soda bread all the time and haven't for so long now. Now would be a good time, oh golly I need to go refresh my starter. The it would be a good time for soda bread. And I have to try it with beer.

noel said...

How about using beer as liquid, and making yeast base bread this way?