This hearty Whole Wheat Beer Bread Recipe is quick and easy to make. There is no need for yeast or rising time, but thanks to the beer the bread is incredibly flavorful and hearty.
There is nothing quite like the smell of this beer bread baking in the oven. It is rich and earthy, with a slightly sweet and yeasty scent from the beer. You may think that bread baking is challenging and time-consuming, however, this recipe is perfect for when you don't have a lot of time.
What is a Quick Bread?
This whole wheat bread does not consist of a dough that requires plenty of kneading, resting, and proofing; rather, it is a quick bread recipe. This means that everything is mixed together, poured into the loaf pan, and baked until it is fluffy and golden.
While you may be more familiar with savoury breads that contain yeast, quick breads are quite different. Common quick bread recipes are zucchini bread, banana bread, and lemon loaf. These consist of cake-type batters that are pourable and leavened with baking powder rather than yeast. This one is more of a savoury tasting bread, but the process of making it is very similar.
Thanks to baking powder this beer bread recipe is really fast to make. Baking powder will cause the bread to rise during baking instantaneously. Yeast, on the other hand, requires time to activate, break down gluten, and proof dough. The one benefit of baker's yeast is that it adds a lot of flavour to the dough.
Luckily, you won't miss that with this bread, because it uses beer as its liquid element, which has a yeasty taste. It also interacts with the baking powder as an acidic component to help the bread rise evenly. Once you mix the dough, it should go into the oven straight away, so that it can take benefit of the chemical reaction between the baking powder and beer.
It is helpful to know that in this case of this beer bread, you won't have to pre-plan too far in advance to get a loaf on the table to accompany a soup or stew for dinner. This recipe is a simple matter of mixing a batter, baking it for 40 minutes, and allowing it to cool.
How to Use and Store Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour doesn't always take the main stage in home-cooked recipes. It contains higher nutrition than white all-purpose flour, though, and has a delicious taste and hearty texture. Whole wheat is less refined than white flour. In fact, white flour is made from whole wheat flour, except that those processing it have removed the wheat germ and bran. You can also use whole grain spelt or kamut flour here.
One reason for refining is to preserve its shelf life. Whole grain flour tends to go rancid quite quickly because it still contains its bran and wheat germ. For this reason, it is beneficial to store your whole meal flour in the freezer, if you don't think you will go through the bag quickly. It doesn't solidify in the freezer and thaws quickly when you need to use it for a recipe fast.
Coconut Sugar Versus Brown Sugar
Another major difference between this whole wheat bread recipe and a yeasted bread is the quantity of sugar. Generally, an artisanal bread that involves yeast will not have any (or only very little) sugar in the dough. Simply because it doesn't need it. Yeast doughs rely on time to build flavour with the yeast breaking down the gluten and releasing the natural sugars. This means that there isn't any need to add sugar to yeasted dough.
In the case of this recipe, however, using coconut sugar or brown sugar adds incredible flavour to help balance out the richer notes of the whole grain flour and beer. You can choose to use either coconut sugar or brown sugar for this whole meal beer bread recipe.
If you haven't baked with coconut sugar before, it is an ingredient that has increased in popularity in recent years. It is incredibly delicious with a slight coconut and molasses-like taste which makes it a perfect substitute for brown sugar. Some product labels might say coconut palm sugar on them rather than just coconut sugar.
The process of making coconut sugar is somewhat similar to how people make maple syrup. The sap from coconut palm flowers boils down until the water evaporates, leaving you with just a granular sugar.
Similar to brown sugar, coconut sugar is quite high in calories. The real benefit to using it, however, is that it has a rich nutritional profile, whereas brown sugar has very few nutrients. Coconut sugar includes minerals like zinc, potassium, iron, and iron, as well as fiber in the form of inulin. If you are looking to give this recipe a slightly healthier halo, you can choose coconut sugar. Brown sugar is also an excellent option for its sticky, rich taste, though.
How to Store this Beer Bread Recipe
Since homemade bread doesn't contain the preservatives typically found in store-bought bread, it doesn't stay fresh for very long. For this reason, it is essential to store it properly to maximize its freshness. If you plan on eating it within a day, you can put the loaf in a paper bag. Meanwhile, if you intend to keep it longer, store in something airtight like a large container or sealable plastic bag.
If this whole wheat beer bread does start to go a little stale, it is still perfectly useable bread. You can cut it into chunks, toss them with a little olive oil, herbs and garlic. Then, you can toast them in the oven until crisp for croutons. The bread is also great as toast even after it has dried out a little.
More Homemade Breads You'll Love:
- Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Best Coconut Flour Bread
- Irish Spelt Flour Soda Bread
- 12+ Spelt Bread Recipes
- Multigrain Sourdough Bread
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
- 1-½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup coconut or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1-½ teaspoons salt
- 1-½ cups (12 ounces) beer
- ½ tablespoon quick oats
- ½ tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a loaf pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the beer and stir until JUST combined. Do NOT over mix. The batter should be lumpy with streaks of flour.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and just gently smooth out the top.
- Sprinkle the oats over the top and dot with small pieces of butter. Bake the beer bread for about 40 minutes; until the top starts to brown and wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the whole wheat beer bread from the pan and let it cool fully on a wire rack before slicing.
- Serve this whole wheat bread along-side dinner. It also makes a great sandwich bread.
- Store the loaf in a brown paper bag for 1 day, or in an airtight container for longer.
- You can also get creative with this base recipe and add ingredients like shredded cheese or herbs to change up the flavor.
You can use a variety of beers to make beer bread, including lagers, ales, stouts, or even non-alcoholic beers. The choice of beer can impact the flavor profile of the bread, so consider using one that complements the other ingredients.
When stored properly, beer bread can stay fresh for about 2 to 3 days at room temperature. To extend its shelf life, store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in foil or plastic and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You can use a toothpick or a skewer to test the bread's doneness. Insert it into the center of the loaf; if it comes out clean with no batter clinging to it, the bread is ready. The crust should also be golden brown and slightly crispy.
While the yeast used in brewing beer is different from the yeast used in baking bread, it is possible to capture wild yeast from the air to make sourdough starter for bread. This method results in a unique flavor profile that can enhance your homemade bread.