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7 Tips for Making Bread with Beer

Baking Bread with Beer is on the rise for craft beer lovers and amateur bakers alike. But if you want to harness the power of beer in your bread, there are a few things you need to know. Check out these 7 tips for making bread with your favorite craft beer.

Beer foamRising Agents
Bread uses certain agents to rise. Most of the time that agent is yeast. Other breads will call for Baking Powder, which can do the same thing.

Beer is, naturally, a rising agent. So, when you start baking bread with beer, you need to make sure you’re not putting in too many rising agents. When bread rises too much, you lose all the structure and the bread will fall, or dip, in the oven and become a soggy, uncookable mess.

beer in a glassFatless
Beer is fatless. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but for bread making, it’s very important.

Most liquids, besides water, that you’ll put in bread are your source of fat. Fat is flavor, fat is texture, and fat is NEEDED. So, when you start putting beer in bread, you’re likely going to be substituting for things like milk, buttermilk, and cream. This means you need to find a new way of putting fat into your bread.

Beer MaltsMalts
The malt in some craft beer is an important inclusion when you’re baking bread. The sweetness that comes from malts can come in many flavors. You got simply sweet, nutty sweet, caramel, roasty, and even chocolate.

Knowing what malt you have and how it will react to long baking times is vital for making bread with beer. But when you harness that flavor and then add ingredients that heighten it, you’ll be on your way to making great bread.

Beer HopsHops
Hops make beer, but when it comes to baking, hops are dangerous. If you choose a very hoppy beer and put it in bread, the long baking time will make the hops become tremendously bitter. You can fight this a few different ways.

The easiest way is to choose less hoppy beers in the first place.

Another way is to use two kinds of liquid. If you have a very hoppy beer, try adding some water, buttermilk, and honey to it to control and slow the hops.

No matter what you do, make sure you’re not letting your hops run wild as it will ruin even the tastiest of breads.

pressure gaugeBaking Time
Bread needs to bake for a long time. If you ever find yourself with bread that is still raw in the middle, even after long baking times, it’s because of the rise (check the next tip).

Knowing that you need to bake for a long time means the beer you choose is going to change. Hops, malts, alcohol, and flavor will all twist and bend as you bake. A good rule of thumb is to start small and let the flavors expand in the oven. But there is another way to add flavor, too...

A quick note: When baking quick breads like banana bread or corn bread, they can become dense and heavy, for the only force working to aerate the gluten structure is the carbon dioxide released from the leavened. Unlike yeasted breads, this is the only mechanical reaction to give quick breads that lift. However, when beer is added to these quick bread recipes, the extra dose of carbon dioxide from the beer helps to lighten the texture of the bread.

Beer vatRise
Breads must be given time to rise. This is what makes bread stand up and take shape, but it is also where we get a lot of flavor. That’s right. Proving, or Proofing, is how breads develop flavor. The longer the prove, the better the flavor.

But proving bread too long can make it unstable. In the oven, the bread will grow and fall in on itself because it lacks strength and then, because there’s no air in it, will stay raw and inedible.

A good tip is to prove twice. Once you make your dough, let it rise until it about doubles in shape. Make sure you cover it to stop a skin from forming. Next, after you shape your dough or put it into tins, let it rise again for 30 minutes to an hour. This second prove gives more flavor and structure without risking it falling in the oven.

beer fermentingFilling
Beer Breads welcome fillings because there are so many flavor combinations available to you. But filings bring a level of difficulty and danger to the party, too.

You have to know that fillings will slow down bread from proving. So much in fact, that it’s often better to add the filling after the first rise. This will let you get a bread with a good texture, but still be able to hold the fillings up, so it’s not all at the bottom.

Start small with your filling. Less is more, especially when you’re learning. And make sure you keep moisture out of your filling or your bread will never take shape.

Here you have it. 7 tips for making your own bread with your favorite craft beer! Once you check out some recipes online, you’ll be able to construct your own bread; a completely unique recipe that is all about your beer, your flavors, and your enjoyment. Baking bread with beer can be a blast. And hopefully these tips will let your bread see lift off!

If you’re not the most confident baker, but still want to give beer bread a try, many craft breweries swear by Bountiful Beer Bread Mix, which only requires the mix, a 12 oz. craft beer, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. It’s the beer bread recipe that makes baking bread with beer as easy as it can get!

Try out bread-making with beer for yourself by joining our Beer of the Month Club which offers a variety of craft brews. Cheers!