A few years ago, a friend of mine did those home parties selling those prepackaged food mixes and you would add one ingredient, maybe two and then voila, you had food and HEY! YOU COOKED. Beer bread was always my favorite – you’d get this box mix and you could add 12 ounces of beer or soda and then it was bread or cake or whatever and it was SO FREAKING GOOD.
But frankly, the thing about box mixes is that you really don’t know what the hell is in ‘em. I stopped making boxed cake mixes long ago – and really? No boxed cake can beat a cake made from scratch. Don’t even try to argue.
I frequently rip recipes for beer bread out of magazines…but hadn’t made one. I kinda suspected that it’d be like cake – not that tough and worth the work.
But I couldn’t make up my mind so over two nights, I made two different recipes.
The first night, Beer Cheese Bread from Cooking Light magazine.
This one starts by sauteeing onions and garlic in some olive oil before adding it to the dry ingredients and adding the beer and Monterey Jack cheese – combining the ingredients and baking – pausing twice to add some butter to the top. Remember, that even with the cheese and beer and butter, this is a Cooking Light recipe so you can probably eat the whole loaf at once and be totally okay.
We didn’t quite eat the whole loaf in one sitting.
This is excellent when served warm, and it would taste AMAZING alongside a hearty soup. Then again, I heated up a slice and ate it solo for dinner tonight. It’s kinda filling.
The second recipe, Basil Beer Bread, was from Real Simple magazine. I couldn’t make this yesterday because our local grocery store is stupid and didn’t have basil. I mean, WHO DOESN’T HAVE BASIL?
The flavors here were different, obviously. Instead of jack cheese, parmesan was the required cheese (YUM). Also, basil adds an amazing flavor – and would have been perfect if I had chopped the basil up tinier (To be fair, I was in an awful mood and didn’t want to accidentally slice my finger).
Unlike the other recipe, this one called for yeast – but… it didn’t require time for the yeast to work it’s mojo, which I’m guessing has something to do with the beer. The downside is that you really have to be careful when baking yeast breads to make sure they cook long enough, otherwise they don’t taste QUITE right and are squooshy.
This bread has an excellent flavor and was delish – but could have stood a few more minutes in the oven (also, my cookie sheets are “weathered” – that’s my nice way of saying that they are totally beat up and I could use some more parchment paper).
My spinachy-looking basil isn’t the most attractive thing (SLICE IT SMALLER, PEEPS. I don’t even know how to cut basil, I admit it), but this bread would be a great accompaniment to a pasta with a meaty sauce, perhaps, or maybe even to bring together a meatball sandwich.
Both of these savory breads are definitely going to be made again.
Until next week… (What shall I make?!)