Boozy Beer Bread

by Carilyn on October 14, 2014

Editor’s (ahem…that’s me) note: For some reason that is way beyond my pay grade, the comments won’t display. I’ve been trying to fix it for a couple of weeks, but cannot figure out the glitch. Anyway, please keep commenting – I can see them but can’t comment back because YOU can’t see them – and I will keep working to get this fixed. If anyone knows the solution, I will be forever grateful.


Beer Bread with Apricot Jam

My son, Spencer, like my dad, Larry (the man who, at age 80, shot a hole-in-one six weeks after a quintuple bypass!) is a bread guy. Regardless of what is being served, he wants a chunk of bread on the plate. Now, while my dad was happy (and still is) with plain ol’ out-of-the-plastic-bag white bread, Spencer is not. I blame it on the artisans. Before we had all this artisanal bread available, we (those of us born before 1996), like my dad, had no idea what we were missing. We just assumed that bread was supposed to be pillowy soft, tasteless, and going to tear when we tried to spread cold butter on it. That was how it was supposed to be. That was the reality of the known-bread universe.

But kids these days…they want good bread. No, they demand good bread.

And most of the time I’m happy to oblige. While not a huge bread lover myself (I’d rather consume those calories in cake or wine), if I’m going to eat it, I have to align myself with Spencer (sorry Dad!) and opt for a nice baguette, French boule or loaf of ciabatta.

This past weekend, while I was knee-deep in the Cake Quandry, I went to the store several times, and not once did I even think about bread. I walked by the bread aisle and the in-store bakery multiple times, in multiple stores, and never even glanced over. I was on a mission to save a cake, and bread was not in my line of sight.

When Sunday dinner prep rolled around, I realized my omission. I had no dinner bread. Spencer was out of pocket and there was no way I was going back to the store. I contemplated just heating up a flour tortilla and giving him the Mama Evil Eye if he dared to complain, but even I thought that was a lame excuse for bread. I still had all of the cake ingredients on the counter, and I thought, why don’t I just make bread?

Now, for those of you new to this blog, the Cake Quandry was NOT the first baking debacle I’ve had. I am a cook, not a baker. I loathe recipes. I loathe measuring cups and sifting and greasing pans. I loathe being told what to do, which is, essentially, what baking is all about. (For the sake of this post, let’s pretend that you don’t know how desperately I need someone to tell me what to do when it comes to baking, okay? Hush, now.) ¬†And bread is one of those things that, unless you’ve been doing it in your great grandfather’s 100 year-old bakery in France, requires a recipe. And the ability to follow that recipe. And a lot of time to make it.

I was pretty much out of luck on all counts.

So I googled.

And there it was – a recipe for bread that only took an hour, only required ingredients I had, and was supposedly “fool proof”. We would see now, wouldn’t we?

The most important reason this bread recipe was chosen was simple: I didn’t have any yeast, which most bread recipes demand, but this recipe didn’t. Instead, it called for beer. And since Tim is a beer “expert”, I had plenty of that. Beer bread it would be.

Because the recipe only has 5 ingredients and one step, even I could follow it. Mix the stuff together, pour it in a pan, pour melted butter on top, bake. Fool proof, indeed.

beer bread

And Spencer was a very happy guy. The bread was dense and buttery, salty around the edges. We both had a piece, and then one more. When I asked Spencer what he wanted for breakfast the next morning, he asked, “Is there any more of that bread left?” So I made toast. And with some apricot jam, there was a perfect marriage of the buttery saltiness and the jammy sweetness.

I had another piece after my run. And then another for lunch. I guess I’m a bread person, like Spencer and my Dad, after all.


**Now, this is not an “every day” sort of bread. Think of it like a huge, dense biscuit, one that your mom made while you were growing up (into which she just happened to dump a whole bottle of beer). I think it would go great with a hearty stew or chili, something substantial that can stand up to its salty goodness. It’s a perfect fall/winter bread. And easy. Just make sure ahead of time your husband doesn’t mind if you dump a whole bottle of one of his specialty beers into the batter. If he does, the original recipe just said “a can of beer” – choose wisely.

Boozy Beer Bread

adapted from Gerald Norman at

3 cups all purpose flour sifted (very important – if not, bread will be like a brick)

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sugar

1 12 oz. bottle Belgian beer (I used Duvel)

1/2 cup melted butter + 1 Tbsp. for greasing pan


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the beer and mix. Pour batter into GREASED loaf pan.

Bake for one hour. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before turning it out of pan.


And tune back in tomorrow – I’m giving away a copy of my sister, Linda Francis Lee’s, book “The Glass Kitchen”! It is a fantastic book!


Marcia October 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Looks great! Yes artisinal bread has spoiled us all. I had (have somewhere) a bread machine. From the 80’s? 90’s?? Remember those?

Char October 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm

What would we do without Google? I swear most of my recipes come from there these days. But I still don’t 100% believe someone when they say that their cake is moist and the most delicious ever. I leave that to my own discretion.
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Kim October 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Beer bread is exactly my kind of baking!!! I used to only make it using a mix then I realized how simple it really was!!
And, our husband’s would get along – my husband loves Belgian beers!
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Saundra Warren October 15, 2014 at 6:50 am

Sounds really good!

Ruth October 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

i so enjoy your blog…and your sister.

Connie Lee October 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I would enjoy reading this book very much, thanks for the giveaway!

Sharon Sommer October 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I am going to try this, my husband is a bread fiend. He will eat bread every meal. I love your web page, keep up the good work!

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