Friday, May 24, 2013

One Great . . . beer bread

Sometimes you just need that one thing to fill out a menu. And sometimes that one thing is bread.

It's so easy to fall back on rolls from the freezer or something that might be past its prime but can be freshened up by warming. Making bread on a weekday? Forget it. Too much trouble. Too much work. Too many ingredients . . . Wait. What if you could make bread with fewer ingredients than you can count on the fingers of one hand? If you have self-rising flour, you can make it even easier.

Quick bread that isn't sweet? That's . . .  sweet.

Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour (see note)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shredded cheese, such as cheddar or a blend (optional)
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer, or 1 1/2 cups beer
2 tablespoons butter (optional)

COAT an 8-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray, butter or shortening. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

COMBINE the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the cheese, if using. Add the beer and quickly stir together. Spread in the loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake 1 hour, until golden on top and pulling away from the edges of the pan a little. Remove from oven. Place butter on top of the warm bread if desired, brushing quickly to coat the top.

SERVE warm.

NOTE: If you have self-rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt.