I made beer bread with Birmingham craft brews—here’s what happened

Debatably one of the most Instagrammable quarantine activities. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Happy National Beer Day, Birmingham! You know that even in the midst of a global pandemic, your favorite folks here at Bham Now will always bring you a reason to celebrate. Tuesday, April 7 is National Beer Day in the U.S. and we’re celebrating by learning a new skill. I baked beer bread using locally-brewed craft beer—keep reading to check it out.

Betty Crocker, Who?

Pour it up, bake it up? Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

One National Beer Day. Two loaves of bread. One fire alarm mishap. Not too shabby, if you ask me. Here’s a little bit about me: while I do consider myself a generally good cook, I am not a baker.

For those of you who may be questioning the difference, I promise—these are very different skills. Cooking allows for creativity, invention, flair. Baking involves measurements. Rules. These have never been personal strengths of mine.

Anyway. There are several different versions of beer bread, but the one I decided to try out involves only four ingredients. How hard could that be, right? So I thought.

The Recipe

Here’s the lineup. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Some of you came here for this recipe and this recipe only. I understand. And I am here to serve. Here’s the recipe I followed (I cross-referenced about seven different websites and they all had the same recipe, which is why this has no specific credit, in case you were wondering.)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups self-rising flour. No I don’t understand what that means.
  • 1/4 cup sugar.
  • 1 12-oz can of beer. It was unclear whether the type of beer mattered. Most claimed it did not, but some said dark beers work best. I went with an Irish Stout from Cahaba Brewery because #SupportLocal, duh.
  • 1/2 cup butter. I had Kerrygold unsalted already in my refrigerator, so that’s what I used.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Or in my case, a large measuring cup. I assumed that would be easier to pour. I was not wrong.
  • Grease or butter your loaf pan. If you don’t think you own a loaf pan, check the very back of your cabinets. I found one there after assuming I didn’t own one. You might be so lucky, as well.
  • Pour mixture into pan.
  • Pour melted butter onto mixture. *Read on to see how I updated this step in my second attempt.
  • Bake for one hour, then remove and let cool.
  • Turn oven off. I’m including this because every recipe tells you to turn your oven on but never off, and yes, I have left my oven on overnight, thank you very much.

Attempt #1

I promise it looks better post-oven. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

I followed the above steps and was feeling decent about it all. I measured, mixed, and put it in the oven. Set a timer for an hour and settled in to get some work done.

A few minutes later, I’m sitting at my kitchen table. Hopeful. Innocent. When an alarming scent comes wafting over from my kitchen. Could that be—smoke? Ah, yes. Smoke indeed!

I scurry over to my oven and open it. Smoke (but no flames, to my relief) comes spiraling out. Yikes. Thankfully, the bread wasn’t burnt at all. From what I could surmise, the bread rose in the pan, pushed the melted butter over the edge, which proceeded to burn on the bottom of the oven.

Simple fix: let the oven cool, wipe out the bottom, reheat. I put the same loaf of bread back in and continued. This would most likely not be advised by most advances bakers. Seeing as I am not one, I won’t recommend this, however, it did seem to work out fine in the end.

Attempt #2

She is beauty, she is grace. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

This time, I played it safe. I lessened the recipe just a bit (not completely in half). I also waited until halfway through the baking process to add the melted butter. Much. Better.

I made two loaves because #SharingIsCaring am I right? Now my entire home smells like fresh-baked bread and honestly, that alone is worth it.

If you love supporting local as much as us, be sure to check out our ever-growing databases of 400+ local businesses and nonprofits offering curbside pickup, online classes, and a whole lot more. Plus, enter your own and be featured on our site for free.

Looking for more ways to support local breweries on this National Beer Day? Check out these three, and don’t forget to buy your brews local!


  • A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.