I still have memories of the fresh-baked bread a neighbor used to make when I was a kid. That smell wafting over the summer air when we were outside playing … mmm, I can just about taste it. If, like me, you’ve always aspired to be the kind of person who makes homemade bread, but you lack the time, skills, fresh yeast or patience to mind rising and kneading strategies, then have I got the recipe for YOU. And just in time for St. Patty’s Day! Classic Irish Beer Bread is so simple, lends itself well to customization, and — most importantly — is delicious. With a soft buttery crust and chewy, warm center, it’s just begging to be dipped into soup or served alongside a hearty stew. This will make you feel like a master bread baker in no time.
So the cool thing about beer bread is that the carbonation actually helps to leaven the bread, because the same yeast that makes bread rise makes beer alcoholic. Most of the alcohol will bake off while this bread is in the oven, and you’ll be left with a fluffy loaf seasoned with whatever type and flavor of beer you’ve chosen. If you use a nice IPA, as I did here, you’ll get a fantastic hoppy bite at the end. If you choose something more malty or mild, you’ll get that flavor coming through in the final product, too.
The most mouth-watering part of this bread is the melted butter you drizzle on top before baking. Try adding more or less than what I call for, to see how you like it.
Buttery Irish Beer Bread
- 12 oz. (1.5 Cups) beer (can substitute non-alcoholic beer, soft drink or sparkling fruit juice, such as sparkling pear or apple cider).
- 3 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 3 TSP sugar
- 2 TBSP butter, melted
You can substitute another sweetener, such as honey, in place of sugar if you prefer. It will change the taste of the bread, but that’s what’s fun about this recipe! It’s endlessly personalize-able.
Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly butter a glass (or metal) loaf pan, or use non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder) and pour in the beer you’ve selected. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overdo it.
Pour the mixture into your loaf pan and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 45-50 minutes if using a metal pan, and 50-55 for a glass pan, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a plate. Serve warm or cool.
The baking powder makes for a fluffier, less dense bread, but you can omit if necessary or if you don’t have any on hand. All you really need for successful beer bread is beer, sugar and flour. From there, it’s all about tailoring to your taste.
- Instead of beer, use a cup of water and a 1/2 cup of salsa. Add in a dash of chili powder and a half cup of sharp cheddar cheese and bake as usual.
- Add some mustard to the bread mix before baking, or serve the finished bread with a good grainy mustard.
- Pick a blueberry beer and fold in fresh or frozen berries of your choice.
- Use sparkling apple cider instead of beer, and add in a palm full of chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts), a half cup of chopped apple and a dash of cinnamon.
- Try the special flavors of a micro brew or go light with a wheat beer; conversely, try a stout like Guinness and see how drastically it changes the tone and texture.
I hope you try this and enjoy it. Let me know how it comes out! And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, when everyone gets to be Irish. 🍀