Saturday, September 28, 2013

Texas-Style Gnarled Beer Bread and Other Good Things from Austin

One of the wonders of Texas cooking is beer bread. Texans eat it with barbecue and chili and other meals where cornbread might appropriately be served. It has a distinctive flavor and a gnarled appearance that's formed by dropping spoonfuls of a simple beer batter into copious quantities of melted butter prior to baking. The butter bubbles up through the bread as it cooks and forms craters of dough that many think resemble monkey bread. While I slice the bread for guests, I must admit that we pull off chunks of it when there is just family at the table. While I'm presenting a bare bones version of the recipe, finely grated cheese, chives or chili peppers can be added. Don't stint on the quality or flavor of the beer you use in this recipe. It is, after all, beer bread. Stout is too strong for my taste, but I love to use Draught Guinness or a dark beer when I make it. This is ridiculously easy to make and I think you'll enjoy it as a sometime replacement for corn bread. If you have leftovers toast or warm them to serve. Here's the recipe.

Texas-Style Gnarled Beer Bread


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 (12-oz.) bottle good beer or ale

1/2 cup butter, melted


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2) Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in beer. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be thick, heavy and very sticky. Pour half of melted butter into a loaf pan. Spoon clumps of dough into pan. Pour remaining half of butter on top of dough.

3) Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Top of loaf will be gnarled. Remove from pan and serve hot. Yield: 1 loaf or 10 servings.

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