I grew up in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 lakes. My Uncle Greg worked for the Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul and the family fridge always had longneck bottles of this crisp lager chilled and ready. The Schmidt Brewery closed, Uncle Greg passed suddenly while I was in college and throughout the United States, the brewing industry became very plain. You basically had Budweiser, Miller and Coors dominating the market, along with some larger regional breweries like Leinenkugels in Wisconsin and Yuengling here in Pennsylvania. In 1971, Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco started the craft brewing renaissance that has captivated the country ever since.
I started home brewing in 1990. Fresh out of college and short of cash, I saw brewing my own beer as a more cost effective was of having beer on hand, plus it was a lot of fun! This led to an 8-year volunteer gig as a tour guide with Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul. I worked one Saturday a month and was compensated in beer. How cool is that?! Believe it or not, I usually gave away a lot of my beer, but also started using it as a culinary ingredient. I made a BBQ sauce with India Pale Ale, braised various tough cuts of meat in Porter and Stout, added a zing to ordinary baked beans with some Extra Pale Ale.
Beer can be created with only four ingredients; water, malt, hops and yeast. It's this yeast that gives beer it's life. Yeast does a little love dance during fermentation converting the starches and sugars from the malt into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The active yeast cultures present in beer make the title of this blog accurate. Beer does have food value. Bread is food. So, if you've got a beer lying around and want a simple alternative to just drinking it, try making a loaf of bread with the recipe below.
CLASSIC BEER BREAD
3 c. Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
1 to 4T Sugar, to taste (add closer to 4T if you want a sweeter bread)
4T Butter, melted & divided
1 1/2 c. Beer
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 1. a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
Mix the flour, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, and the beer,
stirring until fairly smooth; don't worry about a scattering of small lumps.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle with
the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about 1/2"
into the top of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs
clinging to it.
Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a
rack to cool.
Wait until the bread cools completely before slicing. Store airtight at room
Yield: one 9" x 5" loaf.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Recipe Book