By Tamre Mullins, Cicerone Certified beer server and beer blogger
Beer isn't just for drinking. You can use that ale, lager or stout in your fridge to give your recipes an extra depth of flavor. Anytime you cook with alcohol, choose something you'd want to drink. Cheap beer or wine won't add the type of flavor you're looking for and your finished dish will taste thin.
Choosing the right style of beer to cook with depends on the recipe. Stouts work well in rich recipes like stews or desserts. It pairs extremely well with beef or chocolate. IPAs and ales are better suited for pan sauces and in heavily seasoned dishes that can stand up to the assertive flavors you'll find in hoppy beers. Porters are extremely versatile beers that you can use in savory recipes as well as desserts.
Three ways to use beer in recipes
You can use it in place of water or broth for the liquid in a recipe that adds a richness to the dish.
Beer works just as well as wine to deglaze a pan and create a delicious sauce.
Beers are also a great way to lighten up baked goods and batters – much in the same way you'd use club soda.
The easiest and most customizable recipe that features beer is a dense and hearty beer bread. The beer is really the star of the recipe since the base ingredients don't have much flavor to them.
Try using a raspberry wheat beer for a berry flavored bread perfect for brunch. For a lighter beer flavor, use a lager or cream ale. Porters and stouts will give you a dark and savory flavored bread.
There's no yeast or proofing period for the dough. The yeast is in the beer and baking powder helps the bread rise.
Beer Bread Recipe
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 12 ounces beer
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. The dough will be very wet. Place into the greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hr until golden brown. Let cool and serve with butter.
- Cubed cheddar and jalapeno slices
- Shredded mozzarella and pepperoni
- Smoked gouda and ham
Mix-ins work great with beer bread to add extra flavor and texture. Fold them in after you've mixed together all of the main ingredients for the bread before baking.
Tamre Mullins, shown, is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server from Indianapolis, Ind . She has spent the last 12 years as an advocate for the craft beer industry. Tamre shares her knowledge through volunteering for breweries, teaching classes and writing for various craft beer publications around the country. Read more about beer, food and life from Tamre at tamremullins.com.
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