Monday, March 18, 2013

I Made It Monday

So long story short. Last week was one just plain forgotten. Girl Scout camping was okay but the car breaking down in the middle of No Freaking Where was decidedly not fun, especially when the battery on my phone was going, we were hungry, tired and grungy AND I as a girl (if you know what I mean). Then a week of illness. A head cold got Cyra and stomach bug hit me mighty hard. All that equaled a big "Piss Off" to the world. Which was okay because it was clearly needed. On my end. Not the world's.

Anyhow, After a week of nothing and finally feeling better, I went about this weekend like a prisoner after doing twenty years for a parking ticket. Saturday I tackled the lawn and realized that despite Scott's assurance that I don't need a machete for the Zombie Apocalypse, I most certainly need one for the lawn! Then I spent Sunday baking.

Oh yes, my friends, I give you plenty of warning, this is a yummy I Made It Monday. I give to you:

Battle of the Beer Breads

I've been wanting to make beer bread for a while now and finally found some motivation. It could have been the sheer amount of beer crowding my refridgorator. Or maybe the...nope. It was pretty much all the beer in the house. Now, fair and honest here, I do not drink beer. I don't like it. Never have. Give me whiskey, rum, Bailey's! Scott, however is a big fan of beer - it's his job, you see, so we often have a good deal of it around. 

Beer bread is another matter altogether and I do like it. So, this is what I had sitting in the fridge:

Budweiser, Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat, Goose Island India Pale Ale, and Murphy's Stout
And wouldn't you know it I happened to find a whole slew of recipes online for beer bread. For simplicity's sake, I'm not going to upload a gazillion photos of batter and individual loaves. I'll focus on the ingredients and show the end results altogether at know...end.

First up, the Shock Top. This beer, clearly for the December 22nd apocalypse, has been around the longest and needed to be used up. I really wanted to actually try drinking it with it's hint of chocolate, chili and other spices, but I just never got around to it. I found this recipe, at Tasty Kitchen, made with a touch of honey that I thought would compliment the Shock Top nicely.

Cast for Honey Beer Bread: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, honey, beer, and melted butter.
This was an easy recipe to put together. And Holy Moly! Melted butter! The butter was poured over the batter once it was in the loaf pan. I'd never seen that done before and I had my doubts, but man! did it turn out pretty.

Next, I went with the Murphy's Stout. I found a recipe on TheKitchn for a Cheddar and Chive Guinness Bread that looked like it would be delicious. Again with the melted butter! So much butter! Many of the recipes I looked at called for drenching the batter in butter. Who am I to argue with butter?

Ingredients: Flour, sugar...blah blah blah, cheddar cheese and chives!
For the last two loaves I used the same basic recipe I found on FarmGirlFare. Now her actual recipe is for a dill and cheddar beer bread, but she gives instructions for just a basic loaf. I used the India Pale Ale alone for one loaf and then for the loaf I made with the Bud, I threw in a packet of Ranch seasoning.

Cast: blah blah blah BEER! Could it be any simpler?

Rinse and Repeat. No wait! That's shampoo.

Out of all the recipes I tried, the last one is the easiest to throw together and the quickest cooking. Although, honestly I found that pretty much all the recipes are alike in the basic ingredients and the variations come with the extra seasonings and spices. FarmGirlFare offers a variety of flavors to try.

Now for the reveal:
From left to right (by beer): Shock Top, Murphy's. IPA, and Bud
By far I think my favorite was the Honey Beer Bread with the Shock Top. It's a bit sweeter and with just a hint of the chocolate and chili it could almost pass for a heavy cake. It could have used a touch more honey, I think, and a little less butter. The girls also preferred this loaf.

The Murphy's Cheddar and Chive was I think had the most powerful beer flavor come through. It's very hearty and I thought it could do with a bit more cheese and possibly some oats or nuts or seeds. This was Scott's favorite.

Out of all the breads, the India Pale Ale was kind of boring. There wasn't any punch, any zing, any pizzazz like the others to compliment the hoppyness of the beer. Also, it was very crumbly and the lightest of the four loaves. The girls didn't favor this one at all!

The Budweiser Ranch bread needed something more. Maybe some cheese, I'm not sure. Thinking about it, maybe it was the recipe itself because both the IPA and the Bud followed the same recipe and both ended up feeling incomplete. I like the lightness of the bread as compared with the denser loaves, it just needs something to punch up the flavor a tad.

All in all, I'd say it was an overall success. I think in general I have learned two very important things: first, all beer bread recipes are pretty much the same and very simple which means there is a lot of wiggle room to improvise and devise my own recipe; and two, the darker the beer, the better the beer bread. 

Bonus Bread Photo:

I also, because I'm crazy and was clearly on some sort of bread making trip, made a loaf of Irish Soda Bread which turned out so delightfully good that I'm going to need to make another loaf ASAP, because this one won't last for more than a day!


  1. I am so HUNGRY now! Pass the bread, will ya? Migawd woman, you're a baking powerhouse!

    1. Sometimes I get the baking bug and spend all day in the kitchen. My husband is very appreciative on those days!

  2. Wait?! Beer bread is a real thing??? How could I not know about this? It's my 2 favorite things ever!



    1. Not only is it a thing but it is a seriously easy thing! You should give it a whirl!

  3. My dad used to make beer bread. Also, never argue with butter is getting written down in my recipe notes. Too true, that is.

    1. I've learned, yes. Never argue about butter. One of the loaves did not require butter soaking, and although it was good, it wasn't as good as the ones soaked in the butter.

  4. Hi! I'm Rachel. I'm doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge this April too so I thought it would be a good idea to stop by and say hi.

    I actually know nothing about making bread. My mom used to have a bread maker when I was about 7 or 8 but we bought packet seasonings. I can't even really toast bread, to be honest.

    But ohmygosh those look delicious. Have you ever tried cooking sausages in beer? Marinate them for a few hours with your choice of beer, some seasonings, and then grill them. They're pretty delicious. (I wanted to leave a bread-related comment but I just know nothing about bread except that its good. haha)

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll be back! I was nervous about bread baking too, but once I tried it out, I fell in love with it! It really is easy to do. Time consuming, yes, but pretty easy.

      I'm not a big fan of beer so I've never used it for anything except beer bread. But I imagine that it would make a good marinade.

  5. I love beer bread and Goose Island! Now I am hungry! Stopping by from the A-Z Challenge. Trying to get a head start on visiting all the blogs. Love your blog!

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll be back! I liked the Goose Island bread but like I said it was missing something.

      Like you I try to get to as many blogs as I can early on, but sometimes it is just so overwhelming! Good luck on the challenge and I'll be stopping by!