The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beer bread. what I did.

Bread rat.'s picture
Bread rat.

Beer bread. what I did.

Finally found a Porter beer. I'm not a beer drinker. The last beer I bought was also to cook with. That was a good 15 years ago to make soup. Caramelized onions beer and cheese makes a great soup. So I took this Porter home and tried it. Picture this. You take beer outside. Clean your bar-b-q pit out with it. Use a bucked at the bottom to collect all the beer. Put it back in the bottle. Wallah Porter! Well at least this particular Porter beer. The good news I now know how to make this stuff. : ) 

For the bread. I poured a bottle into a heavy sauce pan. Reduced it on a slow simmer to 1 cup. This did two things for me. First I'm not sure how alcohol and yeast get along. I didn't want to introduce this into the dough. Wanted to rely on the yeast for fermentation. Secondly it condensed the already strong flavor of the Porter. Going down from 12 oz to 8 got rid of a lot of un necessary liquid. 

Having made this same bread for weeks now. Starting it with a poolish aged at different times. Even once with a stiff biga. I know how this bread should taste. This bread was made dump and go. No starter. The only difference was using the reduced beer to replace one cup of water. It made a difference. This bread is uniquely different in flavor than any of the versions I've made before. And the flavor does hold up to food. Just like a well aged poolish. 

I used a beer called 'Black Butte Porter'. 

This opens a new world of flavor for me. 

cgap's picture


I’ve been making a quick beer bread for nearly 40 years.


As a teenager in the late 1970’s in New Zealand I had to feed myself and not surprisingly would find myself with no bread for lunch and being in the country there were no shops anywhere close to go and buy a loaf. Especially on weekends when everything was closed.


I had bought a book called “The Incredible 8 Ounce Dream” (about beer) and there was a recipe in it for a quick beer bread by Geoff Sinclair who was a radio broadcaster in NZ in the 1970’s so, being hungry and having the required ingredients gave it a go.


This is not for the purists but is very edible, especially when there are no other options. 


To quote from the book: 




3 Cups self raising flour


2 tablespoons sugar


1 330ml bottle of beer (of your choice)


Mix everything together and place in a greased tin.


Bake at 180C for 1 hour.


Geoff’s postscript to the recipe is, “You can add whatever you like – currants, cheese or your mother in law, it’s always perfect”. 


(I have no idea why I had self raising flour in the cupboard, possibly because my mother had told me that I would need it or maybe I didn’t know the difference between self raising and plain flour.) 


I have added a number of things over the years, cheese and bacon being my favourite. The mother in law is tempting though... 


I have also experimented recently with freshly ground whole wheat flour and baking powder, ok in the oven but not so great when cooked in the microwave (7 minutes on high). Yep, I was in a hurry and thought why not? Edible if you’re hungry but probably best avoided otherwise. 


Geoff Sinclair died aged 79 in 2011. For the Kiwi’s who emigrated years ago and may remember him, here’s a link:




Bread1965's picture

.. pictures please!! :)


Bread rat.'s picture
Bread rat.

The other loaf is in the freeze.

IMG_6939BBP.jpgThis bread is great with fried eggs. Really great with roast beef. But not so good with peanut butter. OK it's really bad with peanut butter. The color of this bread is from the porter. The flour used is KA unbleached bread. 

I will have to try a beer that's a bit less harsh than this one. I don't drink so I don't know one from the other. When I told folks at work what i used the one's who had tried this beer before looked at me like I was crazy. I asked if anyone wanted the five unopened bottles. I got no takers. This stuff really does taste like charcoal.