One of the first breads I learned to bake was my Aunt Lora’s beer bread. It goes together quickly and is impossible to screw up. It had been my standby quick bread for years but there was always a slight off taste to it which I suspect was the self-rising flour. (I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my head wondering Why would anybody would want to see an old recipe card on their computer???? Damn, I wish she was still around, for a lot of reasons, but the top two related to cooking would be to bake bread with her and to show her all the pictures I’ve taken of food and watch her shake her head in disbelief. Who would be interested in what you had for dinner???? You’d be surprised, Grandma.)
Over the years my last-minute quick bread has been the cornbread mix from Trader Joe’s. Throw in a handful of cheese and possibly a can of green chilies, bake in a cast-iron skillet and it’s as good as cornbread from scratch.
The beer bread I made today is my current favorite, a basic Beer & Cheese bread from Cooking Light. The sauteed onions and garlic add a savory touch and makes your kitchen smell heavenly. I substitute white-wheat flour in place of the all-purpose. In place of the Monterey Jack cheese I used a shredded blend from Trader Joe’s- it’s what was in the fridge.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 13.5 ounces white-wheat or all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer (such as Budweiser)
- Cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute.
- Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk; make a well in center of mixture. Add onion mixture, cheese, and beer to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
- 4. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon butter over batter. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.
- Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon butter over batter.
- Bake an additional 25 minutes or until deep golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
OTHER OPTIONS: Apple-Cheddar Beer Bread: Substitute 1/2 cup minced shallots for onion. Place 1/2 cup shredded peeled Gala apple in paper towels; squeeze until barely moist. Cook shallots and apple in oil over medium heat for 7 minutes. Substitute 1 cup shredded extrasharp white cheddar cheese for Monterey Jack. Substitute 1 (12-ounce) bottle hard cider for lager. Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)